Feeling Bloated?

What is bloating?

It doesn’t necessarily mean water retention or fat around the belly. Bloating indicates a digestive problem and the symptoms are distended lower abdomen, gripping pains, and flatulence. Bloating and gas can be caused by many factors including stress, poor diet, compromised digestion, food intolerances and low levels of good bacteria in the gut. It often occurs after eating, especially certain foods, and may get worse during the day.

Solutions

Eat slowly – if you wolf down your food without giving your stomach time to prepare and fail to chew your food well enough to get your digestive enzymes working, you’ll likely experience bloating.

Drink before or after your meals – don’t drink with your meals, as this can dilute the digestive juices. This will lead to food sitting longer in your digestive tract which will let it ferment, causing gas and bloating.

Proper food combining – the stomach deals with protein and carbohydrates very differently. Protein needs and acidic environment in the stomach but the carbs need and alkaline environment, so when the two are eaten together this causes the stomach pH to neutralize, delaying digestion and causing food to ferment in the intestines. See the handout for proper food combining.

Reduce common allergens – try to have fewer of the common allergic foods, including wheat products, white flour, sugar, cow’s dairy, and alcohol. These may hinder the digestive process because the immune system has to work harder to combat these allergens.

Increase good bacteria – Probiotics are living organisms which naturally colonise our digestive tract, and which actually produce certain digestive enzymes in response to the gut environment. (e.g produce lactase in response to dairy being consumed). They support and assist digestion and can be very beneficial in reducing bloating, gas and wind. Probiotics can be found in small amounts in fermented foods such as organic yogurt, sauerkraut, kefir, and kombucha. Supplementing with a minimum of 12 Billion daily is suggested.

Bitter foods like lemon, dandelion greens, artichoke, and apple cider vinegar can help aid digestion by promoting stomach acid.

Although digestive enzyme supplementation can aid symptoms, probiotics should be considered first.

If you still have an issue with bloating and gas, there may be an under lying problem that needs to be looked at. An RHN can help address these problems so you can feel better.

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About Hannah Pidgeon, RHN

Graduated from the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition in 2011. Consulting in Charlottetown, PEI. Mama to a beautiful baby girl.
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