There are several ways that food can contribute to chronic belly problems:
Food intolerances or allergies: Some people have an adverse reaction to certain foods, such as lactose in dairy or gluten in wheat, which can cause digestive issues like bloating, gas, and diarrhea.
Inflammatory foods: Certain foods can trigger inflammation in the gut, leading to chronic conditions like inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Examples include spicy foods, fried foods, and processed foods.
FODMAPs: Fermentable oligo-, di-, monosaccharides and polyols (FODMAPs) are a type of carbohydrate that some people have trouble digesting. High FODMAP foods like beans, onions, and garlic can cause bloating, gas, and other digestive issues.
Overeating or eating too quickly: Eating too much or too quickly can put stress on the digestive system, leading to discomfort and bloating.
Gut microbiome imbalances: The gut is home to trillions of bacteria, and an imbalance of certain types of bacteria can cause digestive problems. Certain foods like sugar and processed foods can feed harmful bacteria, while fiber-rich foods can promote a healthy gut microbiome.
Foodborne illness: Eating contaminated food can cause acute digestive problems like nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. In some cases, these issues can become chronic if the infection is not properly treated.
If you're experiencing chronic belly problems, it may be helpful to keep a food diary and work with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian to identify trigger foods and develop a personalized eating plan.