The Culprits That May Be Causing Your Digestive Distress

The seasons affect the gut, a lot, which leads to common issues like bloating and indigestion. But, were you aware which particular vegetables might be aggravating your intestines and causing bloating? To be more specific, let’s talk a bit about the gut, that does 80 percent of the work in the body, to keep it functional, including absorption of nutrients and excreting waste. Not all foods that you put in your body are easily digested. The FODMAP or the Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols, are a certain kind of carbohydrates that the small intestine finds difficult to absorb, as per John Hopkins.

It’s not that you cannot eat these vegetables at all, after all, the gut needs time to adjust to what you are eating and also adapt to the sometimes pleasant and sometimes unbearable hot weather. You are urged to take caution during seasonal changes to avoid gastric issues that is uncomfortable, to say the least. So which vegetables fall in these categories? 

1. Carrots

Carrots are generally easy to digest but can cause gas in some people due to their fibre and sugar content. They contain insoluble fibre that isn't fully broken down in the digestive tract. This fibre passes into the intestines, where bacteria ferment it, producing gas. Carrots also have natural sugars called oligosaccharides that are not absorbed in the small intestine. In the large intestine, microbes break down these sugars, producing gas. 

2. Cucumbers

Cucumbers are very high in certain types of natural sugars that leads to bloating for some individuals. When you digest cucumbers, the sugars go into the large intestine, where bacteria go to town on them. This breakdown produces gas as a by-product. Plus, cucumbers are mostly water, which adds volume and air to your digestive system. Their fibre also encourages gas as cucumbers move through your digestive tract. All of this means cucumbers are one of many foods that often cause stomach and intestinal gas.

3. Corn

Corn contains natural sugars like fructose and glucose. While the body can digest some of these sugars, many people don't have the right enzymes to fully break them all down in the small intestine which causes the gas production. Corn also has a tough shell and centre that are hard for the body to break down fully. This provides extra food for the bacteria to eat, leading to more gas production. So both the undigested sugars and fibre pass through to the colon and get fermented by gut bacteria, which is what causes gas and bloating issues for some people after eating corn.

4. Cabbage

Cabbage is a very gassy vegetable. It's high in fibre and has lots of air pockets inside each leaf. When you eat cabbage, as it moves through your digestive system, the fibre rubs against the walls of your stomach and guts. This makes them squeeze and push food along. As the food squishes through, it releases gas that was trapped inside the cabbage leaves. All this extra air in your belly is what causes that bloated, gassy feeling that some people get after eating cabbage. The fibre is just doing its job, but it can be uncomfortable.

5. Sweet Potatoes

Packed with nutrients, sweet potatoes are still problematic for some stomachs. Despite being a vegetable, their natural sugar content is high. All that fructose and glucose can linger undigested in the digestive tract. Without the right enzymes, these carbohydrates may start to break down slowly. This often causes gas to form inside the belly. So, while sweet potatoes offer many health benefits, their elevated sugar levels are what tax sensitive digestive systems, sometimes resulting in uncomfortable flatulence. Eating them in moderation can help minimise gassiness.

6. Green Beans

Green beans are high in fibre. When you eat them, the fibre travels to your colon where bacteria break it down. This causes gas to build up in your digestive system. The gas has to go somewhere! It comes out as burps or farts. The fibre is hard for some people's tummies to handle, so green beans can lead to extra gassy feelings.

7. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are tasty but can trigger gas for some. They contain natural sugars that aren't broken down well in everyone's gut. In the large intestine, the sugars ferment, creating gas. Also, tomatoes hold lots of water. When combined with their fibres and sugars, this extra volume adds pressure in the belly that pushes gas out. The result is unwanted burping and flatulence!

Seasonal eating doesn't have to mean seasonal suffering

While certain vegetables can cause digestive issues, making small dietary tweaks can help your gut adjust to seasonal changes. By introducing high-FODMAP foods gradually and listening to your body's cues, you can identify your own sensitivities. 

Focusing on preparation methods that are gentler on the gut, like steaming instead of roasting, can also help limit gas-producing effects. And don't forget probiotic foods like yogurt to support a healthy digestive balance. With a little trial and error, you'll learn to enjoy seasonal produce without seasonal discomfort. Your gut has an amazing ability to adapt over time.