March 02, 2017 Digestive Woes
Linda Gilmour Kessler, RD
Health & Nutrition
Many people struggle with digestive issues. Two of the most common complaints are constipation and gas. Fortunately, both concerns are usually easily resolved! Eating should be joyful and not a source of frustration and confusion. To take the fight out of food, try the three-step approach of spotting the problem, getting reliable facts and seeking support from a registered dietitian.
Spot the Problem:
Constipation is very common and can often be alleviated with adding more fibre to your diet.
Excess gas and feeling bloated is embarrassing and uncomfortable. Having some gas is normal and we all produce gas every day. This is part of a healthy digestive system!
However, some people suffer from excess gas and bloating and may need help identifying why. Digestive woes can be unique to the person having the issues and self-diagnosing can be difficult.
Get the Facts:
Constipation is usually alleviated with adding extra fibre to your diet. There are two types of fibre and both help with constipation.
Insoluble fibre is found in whole grains like whole wheat breads, whole wheat pasta and cereals. Soluble fibre is found in foods like ground flaxseed, oat bran and fruits and vegetables.
Gas and bloating can be caused by starting a high fibre diet too quickly. Start adding fibre to your diet slowly – your body will adjust and you will get less gas. As well, be sure to have enough water and other fluids as fibre and water work together.
Gas and bloating can be caused by some types of foods and drinks. These are often unique to each person and you may need help from a dietitian to identify the culprits. Common culprits may include broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts or pulses like beans, peas, and lentils.
You may have heard from friends or the internet that you might need to cut out certain foods such as foods containing gluten to help with digestive woes. Before you cut out foods, talk to a dietitian to make sure you aren’t unnecessarily restricting foods and missing out on important nutrients.
Talk to a registered dietitian to get help sorting out your digestive woes. You can find a dietitian at www.dietitians.ca/find. Your doctor may also refer you to a gastroenterologist (digestive doctor) to further assess your concerns if your problems persist. Sometimes the gas and constipation maybe caused by a medical condition such as lactose intolerance, irritable bowel syndrome or celiac disease.
For More Information:
Adapted from Dietitians of Canada - Nutrition Month 2017