Are you on a plant-based diet or transitioning and having issues with bloating or gas? Or perhaps you have heard about this and want to make sure that by adding more plant-based foods to your diet you do not have a similar ‘problem’? I get it – an awkward topic…and can be terribly embarrassing, but one that everyone is interested in and thinking about so let’s discuss it.
When you transition from an animal-based diet to a plant-based diet, more often than not (for 99.9% of people) you will be consuming more fibre than previously. This is a tremendous thing, offering many health benefits, but can take some time to adjust to. Dietary Fibre passes through the small intestine (undigested) to the large intestine where it is ‘attacked’ by bacteria and ferments, binds to cholesterol, absorbs water and softens the stool. Within a plant-based diet, there are different types of fibre. Some are well fermented by bacteria (produce more gas) in the large intestine (this is called soluble fibre) and some that pass through with minimal fermentation (insoluble fibre) by bacteria (produce less gas). Foods that are high in soluble fibre are things like lentils, beans, oats, peas and most fruits. What makes things a little difficult is the type of fibre which causes more gas can vary from individual to individual depending on their bacteria make up in their digestive system. However, there are some general tips that can help a lot of people. In addition to the below tips, listen to your body and try and identify any single source of fibre that you think is the culprit and reduce in your diet and then slowly build it back over months as your system adapts.
Dietary fibre has been shown to assist with constipation, reduce cholesterol, remove toxins, reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and much, much more. For more in-depth information and a comprehensive list of plant-based dietary fibre sources, read the Plant Proof detailed blog on Dietary Fibre benefits.
Remember, this is completely normal. Everyone adjusts. If there is a particular food that you identify as the main culprit, just remove it and over time, you can 9 times out of 10 slowly introduce it back in.
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