I get it, you feel like garbage. You have MAJOR digestive system problems. Your gut is rumbly, grumbly, you have bloating, gas, diarrhea, or a million other signs that things are NOT good in your gut. You may be wondering how to heal your gut and if there are gut-healing foods. But before we get there let’s start with the top 5 digestive problems that may be rocking your gut and when to see a gut health dietitian in North Vancouver.
Celiac Disease is an immune reaction to eating gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. It’s been popularized by numerous books and media but this condition only affects about 1% of the population. If you have Celiac Disease, eating gluten triggers an immune response in your small intestine. Over time, this reaction damages your small intestine's lining and prevents it from absorbing some nutrients and the damage often causes diarrhea, stomach pain, cramps, bloating, inflammation, or literally NO SYMPTOMS at all. If you suspect you have an issue with gluten, before you eliminate a million foods, speak with your doctor or dietitian for proper blood work and testing.
Non-celiac gluten sensitivity is a diagnosis of exclusion, which basically means that you have digestive issues and fatigue, diarrhea, gas, bloating, fatigue, or abdominal pain but all other tests have come back negative. Even though ‘nothing’ is medically wrong, when you cut out gluten, your symptoms resolve and when you retrial gluten, the symptoms come back. This condition is self-reported in about 13% of people. Keep a food and symptom journal to record what you eat/drink and any symptoms you experience. Then work with your dietitian, doctor, or other health care provider to identify if you may be sensitive to gluten.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Oh IBS. The diagnosis of no diagnosis. This is a common digestive diagnosis when we have ruled out a ton of other medical conditions that cause GI issues. It is not known how or why this digestive issue develops. People who have IBS tend to experience stomach pains, gas, reflux, and pains in their chest area. Some people know exactly what foods are no good for them, others benefit from a careful food/symptom journal working with a registered dietitian. There are a few key foods that tend to crop up for many people and those are generally foods in the FODMAPS categories. But again, before you eliminate everything on these extensive lists, work with a Gut health dietitian that can make sure you are supporting your health.
Do you have an intolerance to lactose? Lactose, the sugar found in dairy products, can cause a host of gut issues and lactose intolerance affects 65% of the world’s population. Those who are lactose intolerant experience gas, bloating, and stomach cramps. Before you start cutting dairy out of your diet, ask your doctor for a “Hydrogen Breath Test.” You will be provided with a drink that contains a high level of lactose, and then the doctor can measure the amount of hydrogen present when you breathe out. The presence of hydrogen tells us that you aren’t digesting the lactose.
The inside of our bowels is lined by a single layer of cells that make up the mucosal barrier (the barrier between the inside of the gut and the rest of the body). The gut barrier is tightly regulated and very effective at absorbing nutrients, but prevents most large molecules and germs from passing from inside the bowel into the bloodstream and potentially causing widespread symptoms. In some circumstances, this barrier can become less effective and "leaky." Symptoms of leaky gut can look similar to the conditions already discussed but can also include fatigue, headaches, confusion. difficulty concentrating. If you suspect you have a leaky gut speak with your physician about testing options or work with a gut health dietitian in Vancouver or wherever is closest for you.
If any of these conditions sound like they could be affecting your health, book a free 15-minute consult today. Stay tuned for PART 2 on Anti-inflammatory foods to heal your gut.