Do you feel bloated today…. just like you did yesterday?
The most common symptoms of clients who have visited us regarding digestive problems are a bloated tummy, feeling full, and distended. Do you wonder why?
Bloating is a health issue, adding centimetres to your body, especially around the waist and can be caused by many things. So let’s take a deeper look at common causes.
1. Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Irritable Bowel Syndrome is the most common digestive disorder, and twice as many women suffer from the condition as men. In IBS, the normal rhythmic muscular contraction of the digestive track become irregular and uncoordinated. This interferes with the normal movement of food and waste material and leads to the accumulation of mucus and toxins in the intestine. This accumulated material causes obstruction of the digestive track, trapping gas and stool, which in turn causes bloating, distension and constipation. Medical science has not yet identified the specific cause of IBS. Some theories suggest that people may be overly sensitive to certain things. Lifestyle factors such as stress, diet and accumulation of toxins, and the constant bombardment, in the colon, are probably common causes.
If your body is not producing sufficient amount of hydrochloric acid (HCl) and enzymes (the levels decrease as we age) then the food is not digested properly, it ferments in the stomach and upper intestines, producing gas. Keep in mind that the HCl triggers the release of pancreatic enzymes secreted in the stomach. Overeating, swallowing air by chewing with your mouth open, gulping down food, and drinking liquids with meals contribute to indigestion. Certain foods and beverages like grains and legumes, caffeine, greasy, spicy, refined foods, or vinegar can also cause indigestion. Other factors that can cause or contribute to indigestion include intestinal obstruction, lack of friendly bacteria, malabsorption, and food allergies.
If you get bloating in the led-up to your period, it is usually caused by hormones and water retention. Excessive levels of oestrogen and inadequate levels of progesterone, as well as sensitivity to fluctuating hormones, can cause some digestive issues including excess gas or constipation. The liver may not be able to process the hormone as quickly or efficiently, and the liver’s capacity to cleanse the blood of oestrogen is compromised.
You can help your “bloated belly” by acting on these main factors: chewing, digestion and evacuation.
Tips to reduce bloating
Proper chewing is the first step to helping reduce bloating. 20-30 times per mouthful until liquefied or lost all of its texture. Your body needs to liquefy the food for your intestines to absorb nutrients from the food particles as they pass through. Chewing properly allows your stomach to work more efficiently and break down your food faster, so you don’t end up with undigested foods in your colon. If undigested foods arrive, fermentative and, putrefactive bacteria become particularly active, and absorption of nutrients is reduced.
Drinking water with apple cider vinegar and cayenne pepper before meals can help to increase stomach acid production, which further helps with proper digestion of food. To avoid diluting digestive enzymes and maximise the action of stomach acid drink water separately from eating.
By following the principles of proper food combining, you prevent fermentation in the digestive system and be less bloated. The first rule is to eat fruit on an empty stomach. Fruits pass through the digestive system very quickly. They usually leave the stomach within 30 min, but not if you eat them with other foods that take three to five hours to digest.
Always eat protein with non-starchy vegetables and do not mix with carbohydrates. When you eat animal protein and carbohydrates together, the acidic and alkaline conditions neutralise each other stopping digestion. Digestive enzymes can’t do their job, resulting in incomplete digestion and fermentation.
Supplementing with digestive enzymes has been shown to produce a multitude of benefits.
A healthy liver is critical for hormonal balance. When the liver has to work hard to eliminate toxins such as alcohol, drugs, or caffeine, the liver’s capacity to cleanse the blood of hormones is compromised. Eating lots of cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower, cabbage, garden cress, bok choy, broccoli, brussels sprouts and eliminating caffeine and alcohol helps to remove excess hormones from your liver.
Your colon gets all the leftovers from your small intestine and when not all gets processed we fill bloated. For some people, the transit time (how long it takes for food to travel through the digestive tract) can be anything from days to weeks. The ideal bowel transit time is anywhere from 12 to 24 hours.
To measure your transit time: Eat a generous serving of beets or corn, wait to see how many days it takes for you to see the colour of the red beets or corn in your stool.
When waste cannot be properly eliminated, it accumulates in the colon and then backs up into the rest of the digestive track. The toxin from the colon is carried into the bloodstream and absorbed into the cells of your body. Cleansing the colon reduces digestive discomfort by flushing out waste material that your body is not removing efficiently.
The above are just some of the common reasons.
I hope the suggestions and tips I have mentioned will help you keep your digestion functioning optimally with minimum bloating and leave you feeling healthy!
To your health and vitality,
Inka Krupa, CCT