That dreaded bloated belly - we’ve all been there. Although gas and a little bloating after eating is a normal bodily function (most healthy adults pass gas somewhere between 13 and 21 times each day) but if it gets to a point of excess and discomfort is when one should start to ask questions.
Guttin’ Down On BloatFlatulence is a healthy part of the digestive process. It is caused by air that's trapped in the digestive system from either unintentionally swallowing air while eating or produced by gut bacteria during digestion. This can cause discomfort and pain as gas builds up in the intestines. Expelling the gas will normally bring relief. However, if the pain persists or worsens, it can be a sign that your body is reacting to a deeper rooted issue and you should consult with your physician as soon as possible.
Some common culprits of persistent gas and bloating could be:
- Poor eating habits
- Eating too fast
- Drinking too many liquids with your meal
- Consuming processed or hard-to-digest foods
- Changing to a high-fiber diet or cruciferous vegetables
- Chewing gum
- Overindulge in a high-fat or a spicy meal
- Carbonated beverages
- Hormonal fluctuations
- Food intolerances
- Leaky gut or a gut imbalance
Steps to Relieve Bloat and Digestive Issues
If you’re constantly fighting off the bloat, it’s time you checked in with what you’re eating and how that is affecting the health of your gut. My first advice is to have a look at your meals and see if there was anything out of the ordinary or that you consistently eat that causes this reaction- something I refer to with clients called mindful tracking and something we cover in the Gut Recharge.
But I also know that when the discomfort arises, we want instant relief. Here are some remedies you can use today to help bring you relief:
Ginger aids in digestion and helps release gas trapped in the gastrointestinal tract. It helps relax and calm the stomach as it eases digestion. Ginger helps the body break down sweet foods such as sweet potatoes, yams, squash. You can enjoy a warm ginger tea to help ease the trapped gas and help your GI tract digest the trapped food.
Your small intestine and colon are made up of a healthy balance of bacteria. Bloating is often caused by an imbalance of good-to-bad bacteria in your gut. This can be due to poor diet, stress, antibiotic use, or other lifestyle factors and can then lead to excessive fermentation and more trapped gas in your gut. Implementing the use of a high-quality probiotic supplement can help to maintain a healthy balance which results in a healthy digestive tract.
Due note that if you are new to using probiotics, you may feel some offset and discomfort for the first few days of adding in these bacteria. This just means that it is working, but if the symptoms last longer than 7 days you’ll want to either cut back on your dosage or change the product you are using. As always, run everything by your practitioner first.
Adjust your eating habits
Mindful eating and awareness of your hunger cues is critical. If you show up starving to your meal, it’s unlikely that you're going to take the time to properly chew your food. This not only leads to excessive bloating, but it causes damage to the gut lining that can lead to bigger issues down the road. Chew your food thoroughly before swallowing—one bite at a time.
You also want to take the time to ensure you’re putting your phone down, leaving your work at work, and really being in the moment. If you’re stressed out, your natural digestive enzymes aren’t working properly and thus you won’t be absorbing the foods you eat. As the saying goes, “you aren’t what you eat, you are what you absorb”.
Digestive enzymes help the gut to break down dairy, fats, starches, and proteins. Find a high-quality full-spectrum digestive enzyme supplement that contains lactase to breakdown lactose in dairy, lipase to breakdown fats, amylase to breakdown starches and protease to breakdown proteins. Take a full-spectrum digestive enzyme supplement as recommended.
Consume pineapple and papaya
Just as in a supplement, pineapple and papaya have enzymes that help the body digest.
Papaya contains an enzyme called papain that boosts digestion and helps the body break down and use proteins. It is ideal for those with low stomach acid and struggling to absorb proteins found in meat. It also works as a mild laxative, which helps the body eliminate excess waste.
Pineapple contains an enzyme called bromelain, which helps the gut break down proteins into peptides and amino acids, while also helping to reduce inflammation in the GI tract. Due to it’s high fiber content, it can help to prevent constipation and promote regularity.
Gut in fiber, but not too muchMost people around the world are eating less than 20g of fiber a day and with about 1 in 10 people suffering from constipation, this is beginning to look like a huge problem that can be fixed with a quick shift in dietary intake. Fiber improves your digestive health and helps keep you regular. You can up your fiber intake by eating real, whole foods that are nutrient dense.
Be careful not to get too much fiber though as it can have the opposite effect and clog you up. Also cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, bok choy, cauliflower, and cabbage, can cause a buildup of gas. You can minimize this symptom by cooking these foods before consumption.
As Michael Pollan says “eat food, not too much, mostly plants."
Beware of your sodium intake
We are often told to look out for our sugar intake (which always plays a role in this) but the less obvious culprit can be sneaky sodium. Sodium causes your body to hold water, thus resulting in that bloated belly.
Most sodium comes from processed foods, restaurant foods and convenience foods. Often, these foods don’t even taste salty, yet they are full of sodium. As you cut down on these you’ll most likely see bloating be minimized. Make sure to cut back on your salt intake when you’re feeling the bloat and to read labels.
Drink waterYour colon needs water to get things moving and to create peristalsis (the contraction of your GI tract). This contraction moves gas, food, and everything else through your gut. This is why to eliminate digestive issues and to assist your body in detoxification you have to make sure you’re drinking enough water.
I advise clients to drink two lukewarm glasses of water upon waking, followed by two liters throughout the day. If you need help remembering, keep a large water bottle on your desk and make sure you finish it by the end of the day.
If you’re looking for some recipes to beat the bloat, give these a try:
Gut-Healing Turmeric Latte
Gold Juice: Immune Boosting + Bloat Beating
If the problem persists, I invite you to have a deep look to heal your gut and join me in Gut Recharge. We walk together on learning how to heal the gut to heal the mind, body, and soul and finally eliminate the bloat for good!
The 10 Best Natural Remedies For Gas & Bloating
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