Have you decided to turn over a new leaf and start eating more healthfully? It’s a wise habit to adopt for a myriad of reasons.
Case in point, research published in the Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism has shown that whole food, plant-based diets are linked with healthier moods and higher productivity – and the more people eat, the happier, less depressed, less stressed, and more satisfied they are with their life.
The increase in fiber can bring many health benefits. The Cleveland Clinic reports that a high-fiber diet can help lower cholesterol, regulate blood sugar, and reduce the risk of intestinal cancer.
Research suggests that fiber helps create a healthier gut microbiome.
"Fiber is fuel for the beneficial microbes in the gut, contributing to enrichment and diversity," says Michelle Darian, a nutrition scientist, in a Well and Good interview.
The irony is that when you decide to clean up your diet and commit to whole foods and lots of veggies, you expect to feel better than ever, but you don’t… at least initially.
It’s not uncommon to experience digestive upset during this “transition phase” when your digestive system is making friends with these new whole foods.
Dietitian Tamara Duker Freuman, author of “The Bloated Belly Whisperer,” sheds some light on this phenomenon.
“When people start eating healthier, which usually means more vegetables and possibly swapping refined grains for whole grains, they sometimes find they’re getting stomach upset,” she says. “That might include bloating, feeling overfull, even nausea in some cases.”
This sudden change of diet may take your digestive system by surprise. You see, your body doesn’t actually digest fiber. Instead, it passes through your system relatively intact. No wonder we suffer from more gas!
Dr. Nimah Ather, a gastroenterologist, explains why you may experience more gas and other digestive turmoil.
“This stems from fermentation by bacteria of all the extra fiber sitting around after starting the diet,” Dr. Ather says.
Fortunately, this phase is not long-lived, so please don’t write off your healthy eating intentions.
Read on because we’ve discovered science-backed ways to make this transition smoother.
Sure, fiber is fantastic, but experts recommend increasing fiber intake incrementally. Too much fiber all at once can lead to bloating, abdominal discomfort, diarrhea, and constipation. Instead of changing your entire diet overnight, try slowly increasing your fiber intake by 5 grams each week.
All right, so you’re upping your fiber intake. That’s good! However, if you’re not also increasing your hydration intake, you’re headed for troubles such as nausea and constipation. Increased hydration is never a bad idea, but it’s essential when transitioning to a healthier diet.
While experts caution against juice cleanses, there are ways to make the transition to whole foods easier. Pureed soups are a great first step. For instance, a pureed roasted veggie soup is easier to digest than a heaping bowl of raw veggies. Nutritional experts say soups are the perfect way to transition into a whole food-based diet. Check out this yummy Maple Pumpkin soup here.
We love fibrous, whole foods, but they can be difficult for your digestive system to process. Digestive Enzymes from Zenwise® feature an advanced enzyme and prebiotic system that can help conquer those hard-to-digest foods like raw vegetables. We suggest taking them with a meal to alleviate digestive issues like gas.
Again, it’s essential to integrate these healthy swaps gradually. This wellness path can be bumpy initially, but it will smooth out within a couple of weeks.
Do you have additional digestive health questions? Our customer service team is all ears! Reach them at firstname.lastname@example.org or M-F from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST at (800) 940-1972.
And as always, all Zenwise® products are backed by the "Eat Freely...or it’s Free" guarantee!