Is Your 'Healthy' Diet Making You Bloated?
You're eating a healthy diet full of organic nutritious fruit and vegetables, clean protein and plenty of fibre. You've even reduced your intake of sugar and processed food. But despite your best efforts, you're digestive health seems to be getting worse. You're still bloated, still have stomach pain and still can't have a decent bowel movement.
This is a scenario I see time and again in my practice. People working really hard to improve their digestion and overall health but not seeing any improvements.
As a functional nutritionist and health coach, I'm always pleased to see healthy eating being promoted. But what is almost always missing in the mainstream media, online, on social media and even in the content of some health 'gurus' is the fact that we are all unique individuals and that there really is no one 'best diet' for everyone.
There's No 'One Size Fits All' Diet
The truth is while high fibre foods, green smoothies, protein powders and low carb diets can really benefit some people, for others they can do more harm than good - especially in those with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) and digestive issues.
For example, a delicious green juice with celery, apple, kale and ginger could really mess up your digestion if your digestive issues are caused by SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth) or motility issues. It will cause terrible gas, bloating and stomach pain. This is because some of the ingredients are high in FODMAP sugars which would be a problem for you.
On the other hand, if your IBS or digestive issues are caused by intestinal hyperpermeability (leaky gut), that juice could be just what you need supplying you with much needed easy to digest nutrients.
In the same way, a meal of garlic, onions, cabbage and steak might seem like a healthy low carb paleo meal, but it would be a nightmare for you if your IBS was caused by genetic polymorphisms requiring you to watch your sulphur intake, or if you have SIBO or motility issues.
However, if your IBS is caused by dysbiosis (an imbalance of 'good' and 'bad' bacteria) or intestinal permeability, that steak dinner would be very beneficial.
It's a similar scenario when it comes to supplements. Some fibre supplements, for example, are high in FODMAPs and some food supplements include sulphur-containing amino acids.
The Key To Success
Your diet and lifestyle need to be tailored to you personally. Finding the cause of your digestive issues is the starting point and then implementing a diet which is suited to those needs.
Even then, you're diet may need to be adjusted, reassessed and adapted at times. Learning to listen to your body with the help of a food diary can be really helpful in identifying trigger foods which cause symptoms.
As you navigate your way through the diet dogma, remember the saying 'one man's food is another man's poison' and focus on what is right for you.