Bloating leaves us feeling uncomfortable and always seems to strike at the most awkward moment.
It's an increasingly common problem for both men and women, so what can we do to help reduce it?
Lifehouse Country Spa Resort’s Resident Naturopath, Sue Davis, provides us with tips on banishing the bloat.
Bloating normally relates to a number of possible digestive imbalances:
The importance of saliva
Digestion starts in the mouth. Salivary amylase, a digestive enzyme, is released when we see, smell or think about food. This produces saliva in the mouth which starts to break down carbohydrates. If you leave a piece of bread in your mouth for 5 minutes it will start to taste sweet. This is glucose and fuel that creates energy. Chewing food thoroughly initiates the whole digestive process.
1. prepare food from scratch to fire up the digestive juices
2. eat bitter foods prior to meals to help initiate saliva production (lemon or apple cider vinegar in warm water, rocket, olives)
3. chew food thoroughly
4. eat in a relaxed state
Low stomach acid
Good levels are required to break down protein such as eggs, poultry, fish and meat. Partly broken down protein can irritate the bowel wall causing inflammation. Symptoms of low stomach acid are very common including burping when eating and feeling full after eating very little.
1. take time to relax and eat, don’t eat on the go
2. eat bitter foods prior to meal ie, olives, rocket, lemon, lime or apple cider vinegar in warm water 10 mins prior to meals
3. ensure you chew food thoroughly
Low digestive enzymes
Required to break down all food group. Age, stress and intestinal inflammation can affect production.
1. smoothies, soups and lightly cooked or steamed food are easier on the digestion. Raw food can be more difficult to digest if enzymes are deficient
2. take a digestive enzyme supplement half way through each meal
Not to be confused with food allergies. An allergy is life threatening with very severe symptoms which can happen immediately. Food intolerances are much more subtle and symptoms can develop over a 3 day period. Food intolerances can be caused by low stomach acid, low digestive enzymes, stress or simply eating the same type of foods on a daily basis.
1. add more variety to your daily diet ie, eat seasonally
2. supplement with Slippery Elm, Glutamine, Aloe Vera to heal the intestine wall and reduce inflammation.
3. book a Food Intolerance Consultation at Lifehouse to establish any food intolerances
Good vs Bad Bacteria
The bowel contains mostly beneficial bacteria however some of the micro-organisms are less friendly such as yeasts and parasites which can create bowel toxicity and quickly proliferate especially with poor diet, stress or antibiotic use. A healthy bowel is populated with good bacteria known as ‘pro-biotics’.
1. eat natural bio-yoghurt 3-4 times a week
2. eliminate sugar rich foods which encourage the overgrowth of bad bacteria, yeasts and parasites
A stagnant bowel can reduce optimal levels of probiotics and encourage bad bacteria to proliferate. Bloating, pain and constipation predominate along with feelings of toxicity, frequent headaches and a coated tongue. Constipation can occur from stress, overuse of laxatives, lack of fibre or dehydration.
- increase water intake to 2 litres a day
- soak 1 tbspn linseeds in water for 4 hours then drink before bed
- increase daily soluble fibre ie, fruits, vegetables, pulses, wholegrains
- reduce ‘sticky’ foods such as eggs, bananas, dairy products from cow, white flour products
- increase magnesium rich foods to improve gut muscle function - green leafy vegetables, nuts and sunflower seeds.
- take magnesium supplements
Tips To Improve Digestion