Lying by the pool or at the beach can be stressful for those of us with sensitive tummies! Irritable bowels prone to gas and bloating don’t always love summer foods that are not always as *ahem* healthy as they could be!
Here are 5 considerations to consider that may be causing your bloating:
Do I eat too many gas-producing veggies?
Snacking on greens around the pool while healthy can be too much for those wanting to reduce abdominal bloating. Gas-producing veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage (think coleslaw) produce gas when they are digested, and for those with sensitive tummies think about not only moderating how many days/week you are eating them (not more than 2-3 days, and especially not in a row) can reduce the amount of gas produced by the bowel.
What’s my relationship with beans?
Hummus (a personal favourite) is chickpea dip essentially, and it is made of beans (garbanzo to be precise). When beans are digested, we need a lot of the enzyme raffinose to break down the fibres in the beans. For some, this creates a great deal of agony and a lot of gas pressure. Eating bean dips or hummus several days in a row can upset the stomach. Bean or legume salads can also be a lovely way to get a cool lunch or side dish with dinner
Does my digestive tract move properly?
Constipation can arise from dehydration and too little fibre intake, and is really common in the summer when drinking alcohol by the pool and having barbecues. Ask yourself if you’re truly drinking enough water, not forgetting that a drink that makes you lose water (coffee, tea, alcohol) should have a glass of water to replace it. You may also have the opposite problem, and your bowels move too quickly. It may be worth assessing if #4 and 5 below could be causing that issue for you.
How does my body handle carbohydrates?
Fructose is a sugar that is found in fruit, commercially made sugars like high fructose corn syrup, and some vegetables. For some people, the inability to digest fructose causes the bowel to be flooded with water, creating loose stools, bloating, gas, and pain. You may be affected by this condition and benefit from assessment for fructose malabsorption and consumption of a diet called the FODMAP diet, that reduces the amount of dietary sugars that are consumed to reduce symptoms of bloating or creation of gas.
Could I be lactose, casein, or gluten intolerant?
Lactose (the sugar in dairy) and casein (the protein in dairy) can be hard to digest for many adults. Symptoms of this condition include bloating and gas most commonly and typically only reduce when dairy products including cheese, milk, butter, and yogurt are removed from the diet for at least one month. Gluten intolerance is becoming more and more common with the increased amount of carbohydrates available to us and some concerns with the change in gluten structure in North America (see Wheat Belly). You may be a person that has issues with both, which would be unfortunate, however worth finding out if it is in the way of your happiness!
Knowledge is power. Ask yourself if the 5 things above are getting in the way of your health and happiness!