Nutritionist Tips for Better Tolerance of Hard-to-Digest Foods

Digestive health
Femme souffrant de maux d'estomac et de douleurs abdominales assise sur un canapé à la maison

Have you ever felt heavy or bloated after eating certain foods? Join us in this exploration of hard-to-digest foods. We will identify those that can cause digestive issues and share tips for easily incorporating them into your diet.

1. Opt for cooked vegetables as needed

poêlé de légumes colorés présenté par une cuisinière

Vegetables are essential for a balanced diet, but eating them raw can sometimes make digestion difficult for some people. This is because raw vegetables are firmer and require more effort to chew and break down. Cooking helps soften them, making digestion easier. If raw vegetables cause bloating or digestive discomfort for you, cooking them can be an excellent alternative. Cooked vegetables retain much of their nutritional value while being gentler on your digestive system.

2. Consume acidic foods according to your tolerance

pot de sauce tomate sur plateau de présentation en bois entouré de tomates fraiche et de coriandre

Acidic foods such as citrus fruits and tomatoes add a richness of flavor to our dishes. However, their acidity can occasionally cause digestive discomfort such as acid reflux or heartburn in some people. It is important to listen to your body and adjust your consumption based on your individual tolerance. Gradually introduce these foods and monitor your body's reactions. If you experience discomfort, it may be wise to moderate their presence in your diet.

3. Incorporate fibre for better digestion

Aliments contenants des fibres pouvant causer des inconforts digestifs présentés sur un fond foncé accompagné d'une fiche illustrant le système digestif

Fibre is essential for good digestion, helping to regulate bowel movements and even control weight and diabetes. But it is important to introduce them judiciously to avoid any discomfort. Here's how to fully enjoy fibre:

  • Increase fibre gradually: To allow your digestive system to adapt smoothly, gradually incorporate fibre. This helps avoid bloating and gas often associated with a rapid change in diet.
  • Drink plenty of water: Water helps fibre move more smoothly through your digestive system, reducing the risk of constipation and bloating.
  • Prepare legumes well: For canned legumes, rinse them to remove substances that can cause gas. If they are dry, soak them overnight and cook them in clean water to make them more digestible.
  • Diversify fibre sources: Fibre is found in many foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. Diversifying your fibre sources improves digestion and enriches your diet with essential nutrients.

4. Avoid swallowing too much air with these methods

femme tenant un verre d'eau contenant une paille

Aerophagia is when you unintentionally swallow air, especially when eating or drinking. This can make the digestion of hard-to-digest foods even more complicated, as swallowed air can cause bloating and make you feel bloated. To help your stomach feel better and digest more easily, here are some simple tips:

  • Take your time to eat: Eating slowly helps your stomach work less and avoids swallowing too much air.
  • Speak less while eating: Try not to talk with your mouth full to avoid swallowing air.
  • Say no to gum and straws: These little habits can make you swallow more air without realizing it.
  • Drink calmly: Avoid making noise when drinking your hot beverages or soup, as this helps to swallow less air.
  • Breathe calmly: If you feel stressed, take deep breaths to calm your breathing and avoid swallowing air.
  • Be wary of carbonated drinks: Sodas or sparkling water can add even more air to your stomach.

5. Listen to your satiety signals

homme d'une cinquantaine d'années qui fait signe de refus d'un gâteau présenté

It is crucial to be attentive to your internal signals to avoid overloading your digestive system and worsening symptoms. Eating quickly and too heavily tends to worsen digestive symptoms by disrupting digestion. Practicing mindful eating during meals can alleviate this problem by reducing the risk of bloating and reflux. Additionally, by listening to your internal signals, you can choose to avoid certain foods or consume smaller quantities if you associate them with unpleasant symptoms.

6. Familiarize yourself with FODMAPs

plateau de bois avec inscription high fodmap présenté au centre de plusieurs aliments riches en fodmap

FODMAPs represent different types of foods that, for some people, can make digestion a bit more complicated. It's important to know that not everyone needs to avoid these foods. In fact, some may bother you more than others, and this varies from person to person. Before considering removing these foods from your plate, talking to a nutritionist or doctor can help you avoid unnecessary restriction. Here's a brief guide to help you understand better:

F - Fermentable

Some vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, and asparagus are high in fibre but can cause gas and bloating in some people.

O - Oligosaccharides

They are found in garlic, onions, wheat, and legumes. For some, these foods can also lead to digestive discomfort such as gas and bloating.

D - Disaccharides (Lactose)

If you have trouble with dairy products, it may be lactose causing bloating, gas, or even diarrhea.

M - Monosaccharides (Fructose)

Some fruits and syrups high in fructose can be problematic for those who digest them poorly, leading to bloating or diarrhea.


P - Polyols

These sugar alcohols are found in some fruits, vegetables, and sweeteners and can cause bloating and diarrhea.

It's essentially about observing your body's reaction to these different categories of foods. If you notice that certain foods cause you more problems, it may be helpful to note them down and discuss them with a healthcare professional. This will help you adjust your diet without sacrificing your well-being or dietary variety.

Consult for improved digestion

Understanding our reaction to certain foods is essential for good digestive health. If you often experience digestive issues, a personalized consultation with a professional could be the solution. Together, we can develop recommendations that meet your needs and improve your quality of life. Contact a nutritionist from TeamNutrition today to turn your meals into moments of well-being!

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist