Digestive Health

August 13, 2012

Part II
Dietary Approach to a Healthy Gut

By:  Maria

Taking a dietary approach to healing gut disorders has been known to work for many.  Although not a commonly known approach, it is certainly worth reading up on to get informed and, most importantly, to see if this approach will be the key to curing digestive disorders. 

Bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine is a relatively common condition that can be present for years before it is detected and even before there are any outward symptoms. That’s because despite overuse of antibiotics, antacids, and other medications that wipe out friendly intestinal bacteria, most mainstream physicians don’t test their patients for it.

Instead, people with chronic digestive problems such as gas, bloating, diarrhea, and/or constipation are often told they have IBS, when the underlying problem is actually small intestine bacterial overgrowth. Given that IBS is the number one gastrointestinal diagnosis, bacterial overgrowth seems to be vastly under diagnosed.

There are some common foods that contain short-chaincarbohydrates that are not completely absorbed in the GI tract. These unabsorbed sugars, cause a problem with harmful bacterial overgrowth when they sit in the intestine and ferment. That fermentation process results in gas, bloating, pain, mucus in stools, foul-smelling gas and stools, and diarrhea – all precursors to chronic digestive disorders.  

Those short-chain carbohydrate foods – considered healthy by most standards – are plentiful and could be contributing to IBS and other digestive disorders.
· Lactose
· Fructose (from certain fruits)
· Coconut products
· Sweeteners
· Certain fibrous vegetables 
All can be difficult to digest for people with gut disorders and can cause painful and even incapacitating symptoms in those that are already dealing with IBS and Crohn’s.  

Ok, so what next?  

If you’re plagued with one or more digestive disorders, the first line of defense is figuring out if you have a high consumption of these short-chain carbohydrate foods that may be contributing to or exacerbating your symptoms. While the list of these foods appear to be not only innocuous, but nutrient dense and, therefore, leading you to believe they are perfectly healthy, it could actually be having the opposite effect on your health and, most assuredly, on your gut health. 

Significantly reducing or even eliminatingthose foods could be the first step (and, sometimes, the only step!) in reducing and or eliminating harmful and painful digestive symptoms.  

Take a look at this chart to review the foods you should reduce/eliminate and the foods you can consume that are gut-friendly when you have digestive disorders.

Stay tuned for Part III, where we will discuss a healthy food group that could be your enemy when dealing with digestive disorders and why.

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