5 Natural Ways to Beat the Bloat
Bloating is commonly thought to be a normal, everyday part of life. But is it really natural for our stomach to expand 3 sizes by the end of the day or to be bent over in pain after eating a meal? Definitely not!
Why Do We Get Bloated?
If you’re getting regular bloating, that’s a sign you’re likely not digesting your foods properly (or something else is!) There’s a good chance your digestive fire (stomach acid) isn’t as strong as it should be, or that you’re not producing enough digestive enzymes, resulting in insufficient digestion.
There may also be an imbalance or overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine, known as SIBO, or in the large intestine (dysbiosis), or bacteria such as H. Pylori in the stomach. If left untreated, these infections can eventually lead to more serious issues down the road, such as stomach ulcers, crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.
Furthermore, slow or poor digestion and constipation causes foods to ferment in the gut, decreasing motility and providing fuel for pathogenic bacteria and other micro-organisms such as parasites and candida, which can cause gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, cramping and more.
Other Causes of Bloating:
- Allergies and intolerances
- High sugar diet
- Low stomach acid
- Lack of digestive enzymes
- Chronic hidden infections
- Hormone imbalances
- Antibiotic use and other medications
- Insufficient chewing
- Sedentary lifestyle
How Can We Deal with Bloating Naturally?
Look at your Diet
Are you eating a whole-food, plant-rich diet or are you continually reaching for foods from a package filled with sugar and processed flour? If you’re already consuming a healthy, whole-food, sugar-free diet, experimenting with eliminating gluten and dairy for 3-4 weeks are good next steps to take, as these are very common allergens that often contribute to bloating and many other issues.
Common Foods That May Induce Bloating:
- Refined sugar
- Refined carbohydrates
- Low-fibre diet
- Chewing gum
- Soda and carbonated drinks
- Sugar alcohols such as xylitol, sorbitol and mannitol
- Artificial sweeteners
- Sulphur-containing foods (broccoli, cauliflower, garlic, onions, etc.)
- High FODMAP foods
- Beans and legumes
Stoke the Fire
Using raw apple cider vinegar or HCl tablets can help stoke your digestive fire and promote more thorough protein breakdown. The better we can breakdown foods, the more nutrients we’ll absorb and the less we’ll experience symptoms of indigestion and bloating.
Don’t Eat Less, Eat Less Often
Intermittent fasting is a powerful tool for digestive health! Giving your body a break from eating may seem counter-intuitive, but your body was designed to fast. Intermittent fasting doesn’t mean you need to eat less, it just means you eat less often, which is a missing key in our eat-all-day-long society. Fasting gives your digestive system a much-needed rest, allowing the body to heal and cleanse. It’s a great way to bring relief to uncomfortable GI symptoms like bloating and cramps! Working with a nutritionist can help you learn how and if fasting is right for you.
Use Anti-Bloat Supplements
Depending on the underlying cause of bloating, which can be narrowed down through our complete stool analysis testing, anti-microbial and other gut-supportive supplements can be used. Common products that may help include oil of oregano, grapefruit seed extract, pau d’arco, aloe and ginger.
Probiotics are also regularly used in our practice to help support gut health and decrease bloating. If SIBO is suspected, some clients tend to do better with a soil-based probiotic, which contains strains of bacteria that won’t feed the already overgrown strains. Additionally, prebiotics can be brought in to feed healthy bacteria.
Your gut is at the foundation of your health, it’s time to get it working properly!