Gut Health & Bloating
Do you experience digestive symptoms like bloating?
Bloating is a condition wherein your belly feels full or swollen, especially after eating. While it is often caused by excess gas production, the sensation of fullness and discomfort in your abdomen can also be due to a number of different factors:
- Eating too fast
- Insufficient chewing
- Inadequate digestive enzyme production
- Overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria in the gut
- Oestrogen dominance
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- Chronic stress
- Food or chemical sensitivities
- Medications side effects (example: Metformin)
- Inflammation in the digestive mucosa
- Use of antibiotics
- Candida overgrowth
- Insufficient bile production
- Irritable bowel syndrome or bowel disease
How to improve your gut health
It's important to determine what the cause is for you personally, but in the meantime, there are a number of beneficial steps you can take to manage or prevent bloating.
Incorporate a variety of mucilaginous foods into your diet.
They provide a protective layer and help manage inflammation. Here are a few suggestions:
Slippery elm powder - 1 tbsp mashed into a banana
Chia or flaxseed - 1 tbsp soaked in a glass of water
Pure aloe vera juice - 25 ml morning and night (You can also simply eat the gel inside the fresh leaf.)
Psyllium husk –1 tbsp mixed in a tall glass of water (Warm water makes it more palatable. Take with caution if you have very sensitive digestive tracts.)
Drink bone broth.
You can either make your own or purchase the liquid or powdered varieties in stores. Choose organic and free-range options when possible. Bone broth is full of gelatin for collagen production which is incredibly healing to your mucosa and, as a bonus, is excellent for skin health.
- Avoid anything that you know worsens your symptoms and skip all processed foods.
Common irritants include gluten, dairy, refined sugar, raw food, fructo-oligosaccharides, alcohol, spicy food, and caffeine. Steer clear of all additives, preservatives, colourings, MSG, anti-caking agents and sulfites.
Eat more bitter foods.
Did you know that our digestive tract has bitter taste buds? When these are stimulated, we produce digestive enzymes and bile which support food breakdown and the elimination of nasties with the help of the liver. Think chicory, cacao, grapefruit, citrus fruits, radicchio, chicory, arugula, endive, cauliflower, artichokes, broccoli, and dandelion root tea.
Choose cooked over raw or cold foods.
This will promote blood flow to your abdomen and help your digestive system to break down and absorb nutrients more easily. Think soups, roasted veggies, stir-fried foods, stews, curries and anything cooked in the slow cooker. Add turmeric, cinnamon, and ginger to meals and smoothies.
Take herbal tea or raw organic apple cider vinegar (ACV) for better digestion.
A small cup of herbal tea such as peppermint, chamomile, ginger, cardamon, fennel, or cinnamon (all without black tea) can enhance digestion. One tbsp of ACV in water before meals works as well.
Eat slowly (mindful eating) and chew food well.
Bacteria, fungi, and yeast in your digestive tract are more likely to feed on food that is only partially digested, leading to fermentation and uncomfortable symptoms such as bloating and gas.
Eat only when you are calm and relaxed.
There are more nerve fibres surrounding your gut than in your brain, so digestion is hugely affected by your emotional state. Stress impairs the secretion of digestive enzymes, leading to poorly digested food and imbalances in protective bacteria in the gut.
Eat fermented foods regularly.
When we eat fermented foods, we eat the beneficial bacteria – the probiotics – that the food contains. This is important because we need a diverse population of bacteria in our digestive system for proper food absorption, normalized bowel motions, enhanced mood, and improved immunity.
Take digestive enzymes.
These can be purchased from a health food store and are extremely useful when attending social functions in which you can’t escape overindulgence or feel obligated to eat foods you normally would avoid.
It's all about balance and making the right choices.
You can overcome bloating and other uncomfortable digestive symptoms, and make eating more enjoyable by simply following these recommendations. Better yet, take our Free Hormonal Assessment to help you achieve optimum balance for a happier and healthier YOU!