Are you dealing with bloating and aren't sure of the cause? Does your stomach look bigger as the day goes on? Bloating is when you become swollen with fluid or gas, which leads to feeling too full or heavy. Common symptoms of bloating can include gas, cramps, heartburn, headaches, and irritability. If you struggle with any of these symptoms you are not alone; in fact about 45% of Americans struggle with bloating. Many people may struggle daily and think there is nothing they can do to reduce or eliminate it except just dealing with the symptoms, however this is not true. This blog will share four ways that can help beat your bloat and get you and your gut feeling better.
Bloating is often the result of a food intolerance, meaning your body cannot digest a certain enzyme such as lactose in milk. Enzymes are what make up proteins and serve over a dozen functions in the body with digestion just being one. As you age however the natural production of enzymes decrease by up to 30%, which can seriously impact digestion. These are some ways to help with enzyme production to aid in the digestion process.
Eating whole foods
When it comes to digestion, and overall health in general, it is important to eat whole foods. Whole foods meaning fresh produce (fruits and vegetables) because they are full of vitamins and minerals, as well as enzymes that will aid in digestion. Not only will eating these foods make you feel great, but they will also help reduce bloating. Fermented and cultured foods are also a good choice as well because the sugars have already been broken down from the fermentation process making them easier to digest.
Taking a daily probiotic is a great way to prevent bloating because they contain "good" bacteria for your gut, as well as promote the growth of friendly bacteria. Probiotics also increase the absorption of certain nutrients, which is an added bonus especially if your digestive tract doesn't absorb nutrients very well. When taking a probiotic it is beneficial to pair it with a prebiotic such as carbohydrates and fiber. These prebiotics act as a food source for the probiotic causing it to work even better and faster in your body. Certain probiotics to look for are Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacteria strains.
Adding fiber to your diet is not only necessary, but it is also another way to reduce bloating. Fiber cannot be digested so it helps keep food and digested material moving through your body so it can be eliminated. The problem is however most Americans don't consume enough fiber. Women under 50 should consume 25 grams per day, and men under 50 should consume 38 grams per day. Women over 50 need at least 21 grams per day, and men over 50 need at least 30 grams per day. Fiber is found in plant-based foods such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains and beans. Other great dietary sources of fiber include psyllium, chia seeds, oat bran, sprouted seeds, and flax seeds. Another great benefit of fiber is that it keeps you feeling full for a longer period of time.
Cut down on sugar
Sugar hides everywhere, even in foods you wouldn't think! Sugar can be harmful to the body for more reasons than just bloating such as increasing your risk for type 2 diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. Eating too much sugar causes an overgrowth of harmful bacteria in your gut making it harder to digest foods. Decreasing the amount of sugar intake can improve overall gut health and help to avoid other unwanted symptoms of increased sugar consumption. When purchasing food from the grocery store take a look at the nutrition facts and ingredients to see how much sugar the product contains. The ingredients may also have chemistry based names for different types of sugar, such as dextrose, so it is important to be aware of this as well.
If bloating is still an issue after implementing the above, consider taking a digestive enzyme with meals or 1-2 tsp. of apple cider vinegar before meals. You may also want to experiment with removing dairy or gluten from your diet as these are problematic foods for many people.
For those with chronic bloating and digestive concerns schedule a free strategy session below and get personalized individual attention to address your needs.