I love telling people what I do for a living because of the questions that are invariably asked afterwards. Everyone has experienced bloating and gas at some point in their lives so when I say that I help people with these issues eat for a Joyful Belly one of the questions that often follows is “what should I eat to not be bloated?”.
My answer is always the same: it depends. Everyone is disappointed by that answer, hah! I get it- we always want a black and white answer on what is good and what is bad for you. When it comes to digestive issues though there isn’t a definitive way to eat. Every gut microbiome is different and the terrain of your gut will influence which foods will cause you to bloat.
When I refer to the “terrain” of the gut, I’m collectively referring to several things: the intestinal lining, the microbes that inhabit the gut, the digestive substances that break down food are a few. When there are problems with the terrain- inflammation, low digestive fire, increased intestinal permeability (leaky gut), dysbiosis, a jacked up immune system- the likelihood of food sensitivities, inability to digest certain foods and reactions such as gas and bloating is greatly increased. Once the terrain is improved oftentimes sensitivities go away and we can digest a wider variety of foods.
Any food has the potential to cause bloating if the digestive system is in poor health.
When looking to food sensitivities, the most common ones that pop up are:
Some foods are just inherently gassy even for those without digestive issues: cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, kale, cauliflower), soy, onion, beans and legumes and artificial sugars.
How do you determine which foods are causing bloating? Consider the inherently gassy foods first then look to the gut terrain. If a problem with the gut terrain is suspected, working with a health practitioner will help determine which foods are problematic much faster than working on your own.
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