Got gut issues? Try these food swaps
Thank you to Dr Megan Chircop from Nutrition4You for today’s guest post on gut health. We recommend that if you’re exploring removing certain foods from your diet that you speak to a professional such as Dr Megan first. If you’d like to learn more about how your nutrition habits are affecting your wellbeing, you can book a free initial chat with Megan here.
Most of my patients complain about some kind of gut problem such as wind, bloating or pain.
To be honest, these bodily functions are part of a normal & healthy digestive system (yes, women fart and it’s OK)!
But when these digestive issues start to:
- impact on your daily life
- prevent you from socialising, or
- causing you regular discomfort
then it might be time to try some of my smart food swaps so you can get back to living, while still enjoying all those yummy meals that you love.
By the time patients reach my clinic, they’ve usually tried most approaches with varying degrees of success but are now so confused about what they can and cannot eat.
And usually this means that they’ve eliminated so many foods that their diet is very limited. By this point, they’re often:
- experiencing poor immune health so pick up colds and flus easily
- feeling run-down, and are no longer enjoying the pleasure associated with eating.
What can you do about it?
If you suffer from wind, bloating, fluctuations in diarrhoea and constipation, on a regular basis, chances are one or more foods are irritating your digestive system.
The most common culprits are:
- food dyes
- proteins such as gluten
- sugars such as lactose
Everybody is different so the key is to seek help from a professional so that you do NOT have to eliminate everything from your diet, but only those ingredients that are a problem for you.
My approach with patients who experience gut issues
- Firstly, start with a general diet clean up, removing things like excessive caffeine, alcohol, sugary drinks & fatty (unsaturated) takeaways. I find that in >50% of my patients this makes a world of difference to alleviating symptoms.
- Secondly, boost vegetable intake. Most (>95%) Australians don’t meet the recommended intake of vegetables each day. Vegetables are loaded with fibre which increases stool weight, eases passage, and reduces transit time helping to alleviate or prevent constipation, stimulating the GI tract muscles so they retain their strength. So stop following the latest ‘diet’ and start relying on science! The evidence proves that people who don’t eat enough vegetables are heavier, and have far more health problems because they are at an increased risk of developing cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure & heart disease, and depression. No thanks!
- Thirdly, if my patients are still having trouble after doing the above, then I suggest eliminating ingredients to find the ‘trigger’ foods. Most people are scared by this stage because they think this means that meals will be boring and they’ll have to give up their favourites
The below food alternatives allow you to still enjoy all your favourite meals, while restoring your health and a positive relationship with food. It’s best to try one food swap at a time rather than everything otherwise you won’t know what foods are problematic.
This is just a place to start and not an exhaustive list. For example, although I am an advocate for fresh fruit, apples and pears are often trigger foods for some people and should be avoided. Instead stick to berries, bananas and citrus.
If all else fails and you’re still confused, consult a professional! Find a local dietitian or speak to your GP. If you’d like to know how I can help, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 0438 195 535 or via my email firstname.lastname@example.org or at one of my clinics.