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Abdominal Pain Diet How Can I Prevent Abdominal Pain?

Is Your Diet the Culprit of Your Abdominal Pain?

Abdominal Pain Diet How Can I Prevent Abdominal Pain

Abdominal pain is a very broad term and is used to describe pain that may be coming from any organ or structure within the abdominal cavity, including digestive and bowel pain.

Many cases of abdominal pain may be as a result of trapped wind, constipation and bowel spasms, causing bloating and expansion of the intestines.

For many abdominal pain sufferers, one of the first things they look at when trying to manage their symptoms is their abdominal pain diet. Advice on the food types to avoid is readily available, but it can be quite confusing as trigger foods may differ from person to person.

Some abdominal pain sufferers find that if they avoid their trigger foods most of the time, they can occasionally eat them without any problems.

Adopting a few simple abdominal pain diet and lifestyle tips may help you avoid this pain and the associated worry.

Firstly, rule out underlying causes of your abdominal pain – in women, this is most commonly a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI). Contact your GP for a urine test to eliminate this.

You may have sudden abdominal pain accompanied by diarrhoea, which may be due to a bacterial or viral infection in the stomach and bowel.

Periodic and recurring abdominal pain can be caused by acid reflux, a stomach or duodenal ulcer, gall-stones, pancreatitis, constipation, inflammatory bowel disease (for example Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis), or Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

Abdominal Pain Diet Plan

Slow Down

If you tend to take big bites and eat without chewing well, you can swallow air, which adds gas to your stomach and can lead to stomach pain. Take time to chew slowly and swallow without rushing. This also gives your brain time to realize you’re full before you eat too much.

Change How Often You Eat

Some people get belly pain between meals, when there’s no buffer for the acid in your stomach. If this happens, eat smaller meals or snacks spaced out through the day so your stomach isn’t empty for long periods.

The opposite also can cause stomach pain. If you eat so much that you feel stuffed, your stomach is likely to hurt.

Watch What You Eat

Fatty, fried, or spicy foods could be behind your stomach woes. They can wreak havoc on your gut as your body digests them. They also can slow down the process and make you more likely to get constipated.

If you eat more nutritious foods, with a focus on veggies and fiber, you’ll digest things at a healthy speed, and your stomach will thank you.

Follow Your Hunches

If you notice your stomach always cramps up after you drink a glass of milk or eat a certain thing, see your doctor. You might have a problem with dairy products (called lactose intolerance) or another kind of food. If your doctor finds an issue in your abdominal pain diet, they can help you find ways to stay away from it or eat less of it.

It’s a good idea to work with your doctor on this instead of trying to figure it out on your own. You could get on the wrong track and miss out on nutrients from some foods without really needing to.

Drink More Water, Less Soda

Water helps keep things moving in your gut so you stay regular. Pay attention to your body when you’re thirsty, and have a glass of water, not soda. Carbonation can cause stomach pain because the fizz can lead to gas.

Alcoholic and caffeinated beverages can cause trouble for some people, too, so steer clear of them if they bother your stomach.

Common Triggers to Avoid

Abdominal pain, like bloating, can often be due to an imbalance in the “good” and “bad” bacteria in the digestive system and intestines, and food fermenting rather than being optimally digested. Some foods sensitise the gut, and so it is worth experimenting with eliminating these foods completely from your abdominal pain diet:

  • Wheat
  • Cow’s milk
  • Corn
  • Yeast
  • Caffeine
  • Citrus fruit

In addition, I advise my patients to avoid the following foods which can irritate the digestive tract:

  • Pork, beef, veal, sausages and processed meats
  • Shellfish
  • Gluten grains: in addition to wheat – barley, spelt, kamut, rye
  • Soybean products
  • Sugar and sweeteners such as Sorbitol
  • Fructose syrups, maple syrup and sugar
  • Dried fruit, packaged fruit juices
  • Alcoholic drinks
  • Look carefully at labels for ‘hidden’ ingredients – avoid MSG, rusk, wheat starch, bran, farina and malt.

Healing Foods to Try

The goal of an Abdominal Pain Plan is to optimise digestion, manage excess gas, heal inflammation and ensure the levels of “good” bacteria outweigh the “bad”. The following foods are useful additions to your abdominal pain diet:

  • Add lean protein to each meal or snack. Try some of these combinations: salmon with leafy greens and quinoa or rice; eggs with tomatoes; fruit sprinkled with nuts and seeds. If eating animal protein, look for organic or free-range options.
  • Choose cold-pressed oils, such as olive oil, sesame seed oil.
  • Get plenty of fibre from non-starchy vegetables, flax seed and fruits. However don’t eat an excess of fruit – the high fructose (fruit sugar) content mean that fruits ferment in the intestines, creating unpleasant gases and bloating.
  • Get essential fats from nuts, seeds, oily fish, coconut oil and olive oil.
  • Drink water, green tea, lemon juice and herbal teas. Avoid all fizzy drinks, including sparkling water – you don’t want to add more gas to your system.
  • Choose non-gluten grains: rice, millet, quinoa, buckwheat, tapioca.
  • Try yam, soy, chickpeas and anything with gluten-free flour.
  • Replace cow’s milk with rice or oat milk, or try goats’ or sheep milk – they contain casein, which can be a problem for some, but they are worth a go all the same.
  • Use dairy-free spreads: nut or seed butters, or coconut butter.
  • Ground flax seed, fennel, fenugreek and aloe vera all help to soothe the gut.
  • Increase your intake of filtered water to 2-3 litres per day.
  • Culinary herbs such as sage, papaya and pineapple are antiparasitic and so help balance good and bad bacteria in your digestive system.
  • Garlic and caprylic acid are antifungal, so also help with bacteria balance.
  • Following an alkalizing diet can be beneficial – the abdominal pain diet includes vegetables, green juices, protein powders and whey protein.

Some abdominal pain sufferers find that if they avoid their trigger foods most of the time, they can occasionally eat them without any problems.

Here is some dietary advice:

  • It’s good to eat regular meals and take time to eat. Try to avoid skipping meals or leaving long gaps between meals.
  • Don’t over-eat. Eating large meals can cause stomach pain.
  • Take smaller bites, since taking large bites leads to swallowing air, which adds gas to your stomach.
  • Some abdominal pain sufferers find that they have an intolerance to some foods like dairy, but this is best confirmed by your doctor. We do not recommend cutting out whole food groups without talking to your doctor or healthcare professional first.
  • Keep it low fat. Fatty foods, as well as fried and spicy foods, can aggravate sensitive stomachs, so try to stay away from high fat foods like burgers, chips, take-out or cakes.
  • Focus on eating more nutritious foods, like veggies.
  • Avoid fizzy drinks since carbonation puts gas in your stomach.
  • Drink more water because water keeps things moving in your gut.
  • Cut down on alcohol, which can be a trigger for some people.
  • Caffeinated beverages can also be bothersome to some people, so try reducing your tea, coffee and cola.

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