Some tummy troubles have a simple cause (dairy or dehydration, for instance). But you may not be aware of these other could-be culprits.

By KATE ROCKWOOD
Updated: September 10, 2018

Fodmaps

Say what now? The acronym stands for fermentable oligo-, di-, and monosaccharides and polyols. “They’re basically carbs that get fermented by gut bacteria and, for some people, cause digestive symptoms like bloating and gas,” says Ariana Cucuzza, RDN, a nutritionist at the Center for Functional Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic. Cutting out FODMAPs might ease your gastro-distress, but it’s worth talking to a nutritionist first, as the carbs are found all over the food pyramid: in dairy, wheat, lentils, onions, some fruits, honey, and more.

Crazy Work Deadlines 

When you’re under the gun, your bowels may feel it too. “The brain and the gut are constantly communicating with each other through the enteric nervous system,” explains Darren Brenner, MD, associate professor of medicine and surgery at Northwestern University. And stress affects everyone differently: “So some people may have diarrhea, while others get blocked up.” But just as relaxation techniques (such as deep breathing and meditation) can quiet your brain, they can also calm your tummy, Dr. Brenner adds.

A Blah Diet 

Variety isn’t only the spice of life—it’s also vital for your digestive microflora. “A more diverse diet helps create more diversity in your microbiome,” says Cucuzza. And the more types of “good” bugs you have, the more likely they’ll crowd out the “bad” bugs. “Experiment with simple swaps,” she suggests, “like adding different fruit to your oatmeal, or making a sandwich with collard greens instead of spinach.”

Too Many Nuts And Raw Veggies 

If your GI system is on the sensitive side, or you suffer from a condition like ulcerative colitis, these foods can be tougher to digest, says Cucuzza. Try tweaking how you prepare them: “Roasting or sautéing high-fiber vegetables breaks them down, so they’re easier on your stomach,” she says. Soaking nuts overnight can help too—or simply opt for nut butter rather than whole nuts.

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