Growing up you ate all kinds of things and never thought much about your stomach unless you were sick. Now, all of a sudden, you are starting to have stomach issues and you don’t know why. Maybe you have stomach pain, heartburn, gas, diarrhea or constipation. Or maybe a combination of all!
The stomach and intestines are very complex so I’ll try to make this simple for you. What makes them work is a delicate balance of bacteria, acids and enzymes that help you break down and use your food. As you get older your body’s ability to maintain this balance becomes more difficult. You can suddenly become imbalanced through body stress. Physically you may have had a car accident, surgery or a severe viral infection. Mental stress will also manifest itself physically. You could have lost your job, gone through a divorce, or even positive stress like getting married or moving to a new home. Your body chemistry may change, including a reduction of your valuable bacteria used for digestion. How well you handle your stress will determine how quickly, or if you return back to normal.
One of the most common side effects of stress is a degrading immune system which causes the body to react strongly to things you may have never responded to before. I had an incident I’ll share as an example. I just moved to a new state, bought a new house and started a new job. I love mushrooms and ate them all the time. I loved grilled Portobello sandwiches. One day I ordered stir fry with mushrooms and it didn’t stay with me for long. I assumed I had a bad batch of mushrooms until I had the same experience a few weeks later at another restaurant with a wild mushroom and pasta dish. A few months later I tried again with a dish of beef with broccoli. For some reason my body was completely rejecting mushrooms. I tested for allergies and found a fungus sensitivity I never had before!
If your stomach issues are causing severe weight loss, weakness, dizziness or you find blood in your stool, seek medical attention. Otherwise, if you haven’t been able to identify why you are having issues, the first thing you need to do is learn how to manage your stress. Exercise, meditate or talk to people, even a professional if necessary. If you aren’t seeing improvement, there are certain foods that the body will react to more than others. Here is a list in order of what I consider the worst offenders:
- Acidic foods
- Nuts (for some people)
To test which one of these may be causing you problems, remove the foods one at a time from your diet, starting with the one at the top and working your way down. Wait for two weeks between removing each item. It can take that long for some foods to fully leave your system. When you find the culprit, stop eating it. If you completed the list and still have issues, have an allergy test done to see what specifically you may be allergic to. Doctors may also be able to test you for certain diseases that cause these types of symptoms.
I have good news. I can eat mushrooms again with no problem and my stomach issues subsided. I stopped eating most everything on the list above for a number of months and eventually was able to tolerate small amounts of mushrooms again. The idea is to give your immune system a break. When you build your immune system back up, your body can handle a better variety of food with no problems. Another way to boost your immune system and add back some of the natural bacterial flora is to focus on probiotics. You can purchase supplements, but I prefer it in its natural form in such things as yogurt, sauerkraut, miso soup and honey.
I hope this gives you a start in solving your dilemma. It’s amazing how the body digests food and a miracle we don’t get out of balance more often! Especially with the way most Americans eat! Be patient with your stomach and be gentle with it. Eat a well-balanced, produce rich diet and better days will be on the way!