Let's talk about bloating! When it happens occasionally, it's normal. But, when it happens on a daily basis, that's when it becomes not so normal. Bloating can become really bothersome and disrupt your everyday life. When it happens everyday, it might be all you can think about. Today, I'm going to discuss some common factors which cause bloating to help you potentially understand what's causing your bloat so that you can address it and take back control of your health!
POOR DIET. It's no secret that processed foods are not very optimal for our bodies. They can contain artificial, unnatural ingredients which negatively affect our health. Any toxins we put in our body create inflammation which can affect various systems, especially the digestive system. This is why it's highly important to eat a nutrient-dense, whole foods diet filled with plenty of nourishing foods like poultry, eggs, fish, seafood, meat, vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. These foods optimize our health and keep us feeling our best. Avoid overly processed foods, excess sugar & alcohol, and refined grains & flours to keep your gut in check.
EATING HABITS. Meals should be a sacred time of day, but in today's society, meals are de-prioritized and often rushed through or even skipped! When we rush through a meal, we typically eat too fast, don't chew enough, and cause tons of problems throughout the digestive system. Eating too fast can cause us to take in excess air which can lead to bloating. Eating too fast is also associated with not chewing food enough which causes large food particles to be sent into the stomach where the gut must work harder to digest. This causes the food to sit longer than it should, leading to bloating. Lastly, nowadays, it's common that eating is done while doing some other task, whether that's working, caring for your kids, scrolling on social media, driving, or even watching TV. When we're stressed or multitasking while eating, that means we're not present and our mind is elsewhere focused on the other task. This prevents the brain from sending signals to the digestive system to fire up for digestion causing dysfunction down the entire digestive chain! Because digestion starts in the brain, it's so important that we only eat while relaxed and present, focusing on the food in front of us. Rest to digest!
LOW HCl. Hydrochloric acid, also known as HCl or stomach acid, is necessary to digest our food. When we don't have enough acid in the stomach during digestion, food sits longer than it's supposed to, undigested, which causes it to turn rancid, putrefy, and ferment in the gut! This leads to symptoms like bloating. Low stomach acid is very common as things like chronic, unmanaged stress, high processed food diet, nutrient deficiencies, overuse of medications, antacids, acid reducers and blockers, and excess alcohol consumption all lead to low stomach acid. To improve stomach acid production, it's important to address all of these factors and also support optimal acid levels. Ways to increase stomach acid production include: digestive bitters, bitter foods, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, and a betaine HCl supplement when further support is needed.
FOOD SENSITIVITIES. Food sensitivities and intolerances are extremely common today and most people have them but don't even know it! The two most common ones are gluten and dairy. They can be developed at any point in life and you don't have to be born with them. Food sensitivities are commonly associated with leaky gut syndrome where the intestinal lining becomes weakened due to numerous diet & lifestyle factors, allowing pathogens, toxins, and food particles to escape into the bloodstream. This triggers an immune response where your immune system attacks these identified particles or pathogens. Overtime, your immune system remembers the same particles and responds in the same manner which is how sensitivities develop. When you have food sensitivities and you eat the offenders, this creates the inflammation in the body and in the gut. A common symptom of a food sensitivity is bloating. By identifying your triggers and eliminating these foods temporarily along with doing some gut healing work, you can improve or even eliminate the sensitivities!
BACTERIAL INFECTIONS. We all have both good and bacteria in our guts at all times. When the ratio of good to bad bacteria gets thrown off, and there is more bad bacteria flourishing than good, this is when problems occur. Dysbiosis (an imbalance of bad bacteria vs good), parasites, and yeast overgrowth disrupt the ecosystem and cause plenty of inflammation and digestive dysfunction. These imbalances are also caused by various diet and lifestyle factors and poor digestion. There are natural supplements to eliminate bacterial overgrowth including herbs like oregano, berberine, olive leaf, garlic, and wormwood. These are like natural antibiotics which can kill off any bacterial overgrowth. If you suspect, you have any sort of bacterial overgrowth, it's best to get assessed rather than attempt to eliminate it on your own.
As you can see, bloating is typically a result of various diet and lifestyle habits. The best way to eliminate bloating for good so that you don't experience it on a daily basis is to always address the root cause of your symptoms. This can be done by assessing where your diet and lifestyle might be out of balance, thus creating imbalances in your body.
Jenn Horowitz, FNTP, CPT, CES is a Functional Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, Certified Personal Trainer, and Corrective Exercise Specialist who works to address the root cause of illness. Jenn is the founder of JTH Wellness, a holistic nutrition and wellness practice, specializing in helping people with stomach issues, disordered eating, and weight management problems, take back control of their health through 1:1 nutrition and lifestyle counseling. Jenn works to teach others how to live a balanced lifestyle that allows them to achieve their goals while enjoying life. Learn more about Jenn’s nutrition counseling services and schedule a free 15-minute discovery session by visiting her website, http://www.JTHwellness.com.