June was National fresh fruit and vegetable month, but many of the folks coming into our clinic weren’t celebrating! How can they celebrate something that causes gas pain, bloating and other digestive issues? Get ready for a frank discussion. Let’s talk about why these symptoms happen, what the dangers are (yes, this can lead to physical health issues) and how to improve the digestibility of your Farmer’s Market finds!
The first step in tackling fruit and veggie-related gas and bloating is to understand what causes these digestive symptoms in the first place. Fresh fruit and vegetables contain cellulose, which is the insoluble component of produce. Cellulose is digested by the enzyme, cellulase. The body doesn’t produce this enzyme, but the foods contain it. One way to activate cellulase is to chew raw foods very well, so the enzymes inside the plant cells burst free and start digesting the food. This is why your Grandma told you to chew each bite of food several times. It makes your food digestible.
If you’re a fast eater and don’t chew your food well, another way to decrease the bloat is to take a digestive enzyme that contains a high amount of cellulase with fruit and vegetables, especially if eaten raw. This enzyme will start digesting the food in your stomach. Just look for that specific enzyme on the ingredient label of your favorite digestive enzyme brand.
You have probably noticed that cooking vegetables can also make these foods more tolerable. Lightly steaming veggies is a beautiful way to preserve some of the natural vitamins, minerals and enzymes in the food, while also breaking down the cellulose.
Why should you educate yourself about this and find a solution if this is a nuisance to you? Simply, it can make you sick or be the cause of your symptoms. Let me explain. If food doesn’t digest well, it will ferment in your GI tract. This fermentation process produces gas, which leads to bloating. Besides being uncomfortable, this can be dangerous. The gasses that are produced contain over thirty different chemicals called Indican. Indican is toxic to the body and can lead to such things as migraines, mental irritabilities, mental confusion, exhaustion, chronic pain, insomnia, plus so much more. Besides the chemicals that are produced, improperly digesting food will prevent the beneficial nutrients in the food from being absorbed and used by your body. You’re eating without getting the medicinal quality of the food!
Please go out and enjoy your garden, Farmer’s Markets or co-ops! Our Wisconsin summers are so short, so make the most out of those sweet vine-grown tomatoes! Once these tips are put into practice, you should be able to get so much more out of those home-grown goodies!