How’s that for a run-on sentence? It probably caught your attention, though, as this is a topic that many individuals have pondered while crunching through those delicious Passover seudos.
For a quick review of Digestion 101: the three most basic elements that aid digestion and are in a healthy person’s control are fiber, hydration, and physical activity.
Fiber aids digestion by speeding up the movement of food through your system and soaking up fluids so that the digested food can move smoothly. Matzo is a dry food with low fiber content. Many of the other foods we eat on Passover are similarly low fiber, with the additional kicker of containing high levels of fat. Think fried potato dishes, potato starch cakes, potato chips, Passover crackers. A food without fiber and containing high levels of fat is likely to sit in your system. That lack of motility is what causes many adverse symptoms.
This is where some nutrition education can come to the rescue.
Firstly, add some fiber-dense foods to each meal. While many foods are off-limits over Passover, fruits and vegetables are available in abundance! Also, be aware of the fat content you ingest at each meal. Though healthy fats are vital to smooth digestion, an overload of fat is hard for your body to digest and decreases the speed of digestion, leading back to the original issue of food not moving through your system fast enough.
Additionally, drink a large cup of water with each meal, and between meals too.
Make sure to get in some movement each day – it does not need to be vigorous exercise, but do make it intentional. Embark on a 15-minute walk, volunteer to do a big sweep and wash the floors, or power walk up and down a few flights of steps.
Focusing on these three habits daily should help alleviate your symptoms.
Lastly, bear in mind that eating a large amount of food at a time can strain your already stressed system. It may be smart to limit the volume of food per meal to decrease abdominal distention.
You can also consult with your physician for medical management of extreme symptoms.