Too many of us have suffered from uncomfortable bloating for so long that we’ve come to think of it as “normal”, when it reality, it’s not!
There are many simple, functional lifestyle changes you can make to reduce the undesirable signs of bloating and abdominal dysfunction. (especially after a summer full of cocktails and indulging!) A bloated stomach can be triggered by a number of different things, including gut dysbiosis, stress, leaky gut, hormone imbalances, dehydration, food sensitivities, thyroid/adrenal dysfunction, and more. The first step in getting rid of bloating is to determine what the root cause of the issue is.
For example, bloating is often a physical symptom of an underlying gut issue, which is something that functional medicine dives into. Gut dysbiosis is a general term meaning that there has been a shift in the microbiome, a change in digestive enzymes, and a compromised gut lining. Ideally, the gut is comprised of 85% good to 15% bad bacteria. When we don’t achieve this ratio (i.e. we have more bad bacteria than the good guys) our stomach acid & digestive enzymes deplete, making our gut wall susceptible to toxins and pathogens. Cue – bloating!
Top Causes Of Bloating
The top reasons for the microbiome shift, the leaking of the gut and the digestive enzyme and stomach acid depletion include:
- Food intolerances
- Lack of sleep
- Trigger foods
Over time and if not sufficiently addressed, it may lead to more severe health issues such as candida, leaky gut and SIBO (small intestinal bacteria overgrowth).
7 Ways To Beat The Bloat
If you’re feeling fed up, we want to help! With these simple daily habits and lifestyle changes, you can combat bloating and get back to feeling like YOU again:
Physical activity helps move gas through the digestive system after eating and promotes peristalsis (the contractions of the muscles of the digestive tract), thus helping the body to digest. Even something as simple as going for a walk can activate this!
Avoid food triggers
Oftentimes, chronic bloaters have trouble breaking down the protein component of certain foods, such as the gluten in wheat. Foods including gluten, dairy, corn, sugar and soy can cause bloating in a few ways. When these don’t break down appropriately, undigested food particles become food for our bad bacteria which migrate up to our small intestine to feast. The “gas” they give off from eating that far up the digestive tract, distends our tummies!
When our bodies are in “fasting mode”, either while we sleep or in between meals, undigested food particles and any bacteria (which can cause bloating!) are swept down into the large intestine. This sweeping motion is done by the migrating motor complex (MMC) and also helps to increase gastric, biliary, and pancreatic secretion to optimize digestion. An easy way to implement this is to fast from dinner to breakfast!
Start the day out with a big cup of warm filtered water. It’s such a simple and beneficial way to prime your body for digestion, optimize hydration, boost your immune system, balance your pH levels and mitigate bloating. You can even add grated ginger for an even stronger impact (as it boosts the function of the MMC). Tip: Put some elastic bands around your water bottle and take one off each time you finish one to keep track of your consumption.
Avoid high carb + high fat combinations
Ever notice you usually get the most bloated after a rich meal? Like pasta carbonara, a burger and fries, a creamy risotto? This is because if you are someone prone to bloating, the high fat and high carb combination can be a digestive nightmare on our system. If you’re headed for a night on the town and want to avoid the bloat, stick to one or the other. For example, steak and greens or a bun-less burger and side salad.
Ditch the sugar
Sugar is bad news because it feeds the bad bacteria in the gut, overpowering our actual hunger hormones in our brain. If you have a sweet tooth, try natural food sources of sugar such as a small serving of fruit – Just make sure you’re eating it away from meals and on its own to avoid bloating.
Sip on herbal-tonics
Ginger, peppermint, and dandelion root contain soothing and medicinal properties that have been known to relieve gas, bloating and other digestive complaints. You can have these as a tea or add them on their own to warm water to stimulate digestion.
If you or someone you know suffers from bloating, feel free to share these tried and true tips to get back that “flat-tummy” feeling!
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