Many Americans find they suffer from digestive issues, whether occasional or chronic. If you have a digestive problem, you may struggle with aches, heartburn, and the inconvenience and discomfort of bloating. While there are medications available for a variety of digestive conditions, it is possible to help yourself by making some changes to your diet.
As well as cutting out items that disagree with you, making a point to eat foods to benefit your digestion can bring you relief and better digestive health. In addition, making changes to your diet may ultimately prove more beneficial in the long term, as it is unhealthy to keep eating items that cause such a negative reaction.
Some digestive issues and bloating may be caused by a disease, or an allergic reaction. It is important to consult with your doctor if you are suffering serious or long-term problems. You must also be careful when trying a new diet, as everyone’s digestive needs are different. The perfect food to combat bloating for one person may have adverse effects for another. For the safest results, try everything in small amounts to find out what makes the perfect digestion-friendly diet for you. If you have a particularly sensitive stomach, it is also recommended you consult with a dietician to customize your diet.
If you are trying to avoid gas and bloating, you may have decided to cut out food high in fiber. For some dieters, this may be advisable in the short-term. However, a fiber-rich diet is important to your overall digestive health. As well as the nutrients and vitamins you gain from many high-fiber foods, fiber can be important in preventing constipation, which is often the cause of bloating.
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Foods high in fiber, such as whole grains instead of more refined options, can also help you to feel full for longer. As a result, you may eat less often and with smaller portion sizes, helping improve your overall digestive health. If you are unused to a high-fiber diet you can add fiber-rich foods to your daily meals in small amounts, allowing you to gradually build a tolerance to it. Once your body has grown used to the added fiber, you can enjoy the benefits of these healthy foods:
- Whole wheat.
Some vegetables are common causes of gastrointestinal problems and bloating, particularly cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage. You may find introducing these vegetables slowly into your diet can help your digestive health in the long term. However, there are other vegetables more easily to digest, which still add much-needed fiber to your diet.
Adding vegetables to your daily meals can help balance your diet, which is a crucial part of healthy digestion. Ideally, any meal should be made up of at least half fruits and vegetables. You may need to try different vegetables until you find the best types for your digestive needs. Some potentially beneficial vegetables to help prevent bloating include the following:
- Green beans.
Fruit is another food you can slowly add to your diet, as the fiber and fructose can often result in additional bloating or discomfort. However, some fruits are worse than others in terms of causing bloating or discomfort. Consider avoiding fruits such as apples, peaches and pears, while increasing your intake of more helpful fruits. When eaten in moderation, these fruits may be suitable for a digestion-friendly diet:
Many herbs and spices are used in more traditional medicine to prevent bloating and intestinal discomfort. Although the effects of some may remain untested or unproven, a number are still recommended by health practitioners for digestive relief. You can eat these herbs and spices alone or add them to dishes as you prefer.
Make sure you eat all herbs and spices in safe doses, as overconsumption might cause additional issues. Eating the raw herbs rather than adding them to cooked foods is a good source of vitamins or fiber. Fennel, for example, has beneficial fiber, and small amounts of ginger can also be helpful if you suffer from nausea.
Herbal tea can be an excellent way to incorporate these herbs into your daily diet, and you also benefit from the added hydration. If you are trying to control your daily intake of food, tea may also be preferable to a snack during the day. Helpful herbs and spices for digestion and bloating include:
Some herbs may reduce the effectiveness of certain medications or react with certain conditions, so it is best to do research and speak with your physicians regarding any questions or concerns about the use of herbs and herbal supplements.
Fermented foods often contain helpful probiotics to benefit your digestive health. These foods help to reduce bloating and may even allow the food you eat to be broken down more effectively. Some fermented products contain lactose, which means they may not be suitable for everyone. However, there are plenty of other items you can consider instead, including fermented vegetables and legumes. You can also pickle vegetables at home, which ensures the resulting product contains the probiotics you require.
Make sure to choose products fermented through natural processes, as this is how the probiotics are formed. Food such as pickles have been highly processed with added sodium and sugar do not have the benefits of natural fermentation. If you are in doubt, always check the food label to find more information. Some of the fermented foods with positive effects for your digestive system include the following:
- Yoghurt with live cultures.
- Kombucha tea.
Sometimes, a digestive issue is caused by an adverse reaction to a type of food. Even if this is classed as an intolerance rather than an allergic reaction, avoiding these foods is the best idea to improve your digestive health. Common reactive foods such as gluten or lactose may be behind your digestive problems or bloating.
Using replacements for these foods reduces the temptation to consume them. There are many alternative products on the market you can buy, such as lactose-free milk substitutes or gluten free bread. Dietary changes are not meant to replace medication or regular visits to your doctor, but may be able to help alleviate some symptoms of bloating and help with digestion. If you have any concerns about your health, you should make sure to see a doctor.
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