In recent years a lot of attention has been drawn to the need for large numbers of people to increase drastically the amount of fiber in their diet. Long term lack of fiber is linked to quite a few serious diseases, particularly bowel disorders, so naturally many people have been looking for ways to increase their fiber consumption. Unfortunately a diet high in fiber can produce some unfortunate, debilitating side effects, namely bloatingintestinal gas, and crippling abdominal pain.

An increase in dietary fiber can easily be achieved through greater consumption of cereal grains, plus plentiful fruits and vegetables. This is generally an excellent thing for one’s health, but it can often cause unwanted pain in the abdomen, as well as embarrassing intestinal gas. However, there are certain things you can do to alleviate these distressing symptoms and lessen their severity.

A popular, convenient source of dietary fiber is breakfast cereal, such as muesli or oatmeal. In the case of packaged cereals there can be a temptation to consume these foods dry or with only a small amount of liquid, usually milk. Although fiber is important for healthy bowel operation, paradoxically too much of it can sometimes lead to abdominal pain and constipation. The solution is to take in plenty of liquids. You can dowse your cereal in milk but you should also wash it down with a large glass of water or a cup of tea. This will be a great help to your digestion.

A slightly different problem with a diet high in fiber is the tendency for it to lead to the production of greater amounts of intestinal gas. If you have ever suffered from this, you will know what a huge source of embarrassment it can be, especially in social situations. Fortunately there are certain natural substances known to alleviate gas and wind problems. Herbal teas made from fennel, peppermint, and chamomile can be a great help in this regard.

Another thing to bear in mind is to try to get into the habit of not gobbling your food too fast. Instead you should chew each mouthful adequately before swallowing. If you routinely bolt your food down on the go, while yapping on your phone, this is a sure-fire recipe for severe digestive distress.

In a small number of cases the symptoms already described can be due to an individual’s allergic reaction to gluten, which is a substance found in wheat based products. Although widely discussed, gluten allergy is actually quite rare, but in the event you are diagnosed with it you should replace wheat products with those made from alternatives such as maize, corn or rice.

If you have persistent problems with abdominal pain, bloating, and intestinal gas, and the suggestions already made fail to supply any relief, you should consult a physician, as you could be suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome or some other bowel disorder.