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Diet for Sensitive Stomach

by Georgina McMeckan
(Scotland)

Georgina's Question: I have sensitive stomach and often get diarrhea and stomach cramps. What should I eat as a healthy diet?


Suzy's Answer: Hi, Georgina! I'm sorry to hear that you are struggling with your digestive system. Unfortunately, you are asking more of a medical question than a healthy eating one. I would suggest that you go to a physician and get tested for things like Celiac Disease (sensitivity to gluten in wheat and other grains), food allergies, bacterial infection, Irritable Bowel Syndrome(IBS), or whatever your gastroenterologist suggests may be causing this disruption in the normal digestive process.

Once you have a diagnosis, a dietitian can help you come up with an eating plan that will fit your needs.

I can only give general recommendations for healthy eating, which in your case may not be the answer you need. It is vital that you get tested and find out what is going on with your body. As you know, it is not normal to get cramping and diarrhea regularly. Over time the constant inflammation may cause more serious problems, so it needs to be addressed.

Thank you for visiting our healthy eating website and please let us know how you are doing.

Regards,

Suzy

Here is some information from our page on gluten sensitivity:

Gluten is a form of protein.

Although you probably have heard the word in relation to gluten-free foods, you may not know that gluten is the protein found in many grains, including wheat, rye, barley and oats, although there is some controversy about the gluten in oats. There is no doubt that, at least in the Western diet, these are some of the most common grains found in our food supply.

How do you know if you have a sensitivity to gluten?

The symptoms of sensitivity to gluten can vary, but may include abdominal pain or cramps, diarrhea, weight loss, bone pain, anemia, weakness, bloating or bulky,
floating stools. In other words, if you have gluten sensitivity, eating gluten can make you pretty uncomfortable.

In addition, if you have untreated Celiac Disease, you are at a greater risk of developing gastrointestinal cancer or lymphoma. However, once the disease is treated and the intestines heal, your chances of getting these kinds of cancers goes back to normal.

What do you do if you think you have gluten sensitivity?

If you are concerned about sensitivity to gluten, here are some tips to help you:

1. See your physician for a blood test and diagnosis to see if you actually have Celiac Disease.

2. Educate yourself about foods that contain gluten and start reading labels and learning the hidden sources of gluten.

3. Check out the “Gluten-Free” section at your grocery store and become familiar with food manufacturers whose products are reliably gluten-free.

4. Find some online sources for gluten-free products that you can investigate.

5. Look for some gluten-free recipe ideas that will teach you how to make foods that would normally have gluten, such as bread and other baked products.

6. Try some of the grains that do not have gluten, both in whole and flour form.

7. Before eating out, visit the websites of your favorite restaurants to discover the ingredients in the foods they serve, or ask to speak to someone at the restaurant who will accurately inform you about how the foods are prepared.

8. Include an abundance of fresh, unprocessed foods in your diet such as vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts, lean meats, plain yogurt, and healthy fats.

9. If you are recovering from prolonged symptoms of gluten sensitivity, you may want to take a vitamin/mineral supplement, at least until your health improves, to help offset the deficiency caused by the disease.

10. If you need help choosing foods, speak with a dietitian and join a support group either in person or online at websites such as www.celiac.com.

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