Did you know that food determines everything, YES everything! Sleep, mood, energy levels, skin texture, appearance and the list go on. So, when energy levels are low, mood swings and sleep deprivation are common, then we know our body is trying to tell us something. Our bodies hold an enormous amount of information so take the time to listen to it!
Our gut holds a lot of data, to simplify it, it tells you what you can digest and enjoy and what you cannot. So, when we suffer from discomforts such as bloating, tummy aches, heartburn or any form of gastrointestinal issues, it can disrupt our day-to-day lives. Some experience discomfort when they are out of their regular routine and some people have ongoing issues. You might feel lethargic, bloated, or experience brain fog and all sorts of symptoms without ever realizing that it is the food you are consuming. If you find yourself constantly feeling uncomfortable after eating, you might suffer from what is called irritable bowel syndrome (or, an over-sensitive gut/tummy). If you are not feeling your best, do not be discouraged, there are a few ways to beat the bloat without having to get extensive checkups*. Keep on reading to find out!
Eliminating trigger foods
In general, most people have trouble digesting spicy foods, creamy dressings/dips, gluten, and dairy. This should be a good starting point when trying to find out the foods that trigger your IBS symptoms. It is encouraged to have a journal and write down a ‘safe’ and ‘unsafe’ food list to determine what works for you. Trigger foods, vary from person to person and it is important to note the symptoms you are feeling. Symptoms can vary from a mild stomachache to extreme gas/wind and other disturbances that can interrupt your day-to-day routine. Once you have a list of safe vs. unsafe, you will be able to better manage your situation moving forward.
Pay attention to meal sizes and frequency of meals:
Meal sizes are just as important as the foods you are eating. For oversensitive tummies, having large meals in one sitting may not be good for your digestive system. It is already on overdrive and to stimulate it with large quantities of food, may bother you. Most people do not have the time to weigh and measure meals and many cannot afford specialized meal plans, so it is vital to visually learn an amount of food that works for you. When you build your plate, try, and vary up the choices changing often between the proteins, fats, fibers, and carbohydrates at every meal.
Feed your gut
Taking probiotics brings a host of beneficial bacteria into the gut. It's food for your gut cells to make your digestive and immune system stronger. Furthermore, probiotics help reduce inflammation, improve the ability of the gut to stop germs from penetrating through the intestinal walls (which is also called Leaky Gut). Reduces the ability of viruses to attach to cells, helps influence the function of the central nervous system and the list goes on!
Probiotics are harmless and do not cause any side effects and are usually available in most pharmacies. Solely relying on probiotics will not be enough and should be seen as slow acting supplement that will gradually lead to a more general improvement to your condition rather than relieving one symptom.
It is always a good idea to seek help when needed. Sometimes, our mental health can deeply affect our gut. There is a strong connection between the gut and the brain scientists often calling the gut our #1 brain. You feel a lot of emotions in the stomach (happiness, sadness, nervous, anxious) so when things are not particularly going your way for a duration of time, it can affect the way you digest your meals, mood, and sleep quality. Speaking to a registered nutritionist and in extreme cases getting a prescription for medication from your registered healthcare professional can help alleviate some of the symptoms.
What IBS sufferers find hard to accept is that eating a very healthy diet can make IBS worse, especially with all the encouragement we are given to eat healthy, nowadays. Our diets are very personal to our needs and no two people are the same. For a person who has a perfectly normal gut, eating healthy is fine. However, a person dealing with an oversensitive gut, IBS can be triggered easily when eating too much cereal, fiber, fruits, and vegetables. This is not to say switch to an unhealthy diet, but more to shed light on the fact that people who suffer from IBS should be extremely cautious when eating any type of food healthy or not and work out their safe foods and unsafe food list to keep their IBS under control. Its always an added benefit to speak to a doctor or health care provider and take the necessary precautions to avoid feeling any discomforts.
*It is recommended to get checked regularly to ensure that it is not a serious matter. If you are unsure, get the necessary medical advice before changing your diet.