Help! I love veg­gies but dread the gas

First For Women - - Health -

Q:

My goal for 2019 is to eat more veg­gies. I’ve been do­ing well this week, but I’m re­ally bloated and gassy. Any ad­vice?

A:

Con­grat­u­la­tions on your healthy goal—and yes, there are steps you can take to en­sure you get all the ben­e­fits of veg­gies with­out the gas and bloat. Those un­com­fort­able symp­toms set in when you sud­denly in­crease your in­take of fer­mentable fiber, which gets turned into gas by the bac­te­ria in the in­testines. To avoid this, ramp up your veg­etable in­take slowly so the body can ad­just to the fiber. For now, have just two ad­di­tional serv­ings of veg­gies per day for one week, then add a daily serv­ing each sub­se­quent week un­til you reach your goal. I also ad­vise start­ing with veg­gies that are less likely to cause bloat, such as leafy greens, car­rots, sweet pota­toes, squash and pep­pers.

If you’re still strug­gling af­ter three weeks, con­sider tak­ing an en­ter­ic­coated pep­per­mint oil cap­sule (avail­able in drug­stores) 30 min­utes be­fore meals. The men­thol in mint re­laxes the colon mus­cles, eas­ing bloat and gas.

Q

Chilly weather al­ways makes my arthri­tis flare up. My sis­ter told me med­i­ta­tion can help. Should I

try it? A Ab­so­lutely! Daily med­i­ta­tion has been shown to ease stiff­ness, pain and fa­tigue in os­teoarthri­tis pa­tients by low­er­ing the body’s lev­els of in­flam­ma­tory stress hor­mones. In fact, a re­cent West Vir­ginia Univer­sity study showed that adults with os­teoarthri­tis ex­pe­ri­enced a 48% re­duc­tion in pain af­ter prac­tic­ing mantra med­i­ta­tion twice a day.

To ben­e­fit, sit in a com­fort­able po­si­tion and set a timer for 15 min­utes. Take a few deep breaths, then close your eyes and lis­ten to the world around you for 10 breaths. Bring your aware­ness back to the body, fo­cus­ing on the move­ment of your chest and stom­ach as you breathe in and out for an­other 10 breaths. Fi­nally, be­gin to re­peat the words I ac­cept my body silently to your­self un­til the timer runs out. A daily prac­tice can re­duce pain within four days.

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