Bloated?

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If you are lucky you only get bloated from time to time. But for some of us, ‘from time to time’ is every day.

Bloating is an uncomfortable feeling of fullness usually accompanied by gas and distention. Distention is when your tummy is visibly larger after eating due to gas. We often use the word bloating to mean bloating, gas and distention.

There are a few root causes of bloating that anyone who suffers from it regularly should consider (this list is by no means complete):

  • Bacteria Overgrowth (SIBO)
  • Dysbiosis
  • Leaky Gut
  • Candida overgrowth
  • Lack of stomach acid or digestive enzymes
  • Food Sensitivities
    • One way to figure out if a food is causing your bloating is to eliminate it for two weeks and then add it back in. A traditional elimination diet is when you eliminate all common triggers (wheat, dairy, sugar, corn, yeast, FODMAPs) and then add them back in one at a time. There are also blood tests for food sensitivities.

As a functional and integrative nutritionist I start delving into the root causes (and therefore real solutions) but let’s back up for a minute. Sometimes bloating can be caused by our eating habits. Do you eat fast? Eat while talking? Eat while drinking? Do you swallow without fully chewing your food? Do you drink carbonated beverages? Do you chew gum? If you answered yes to any of these, this could be causing your bloat.

Helpful Habits to establish to prevent bloating:

  1. Don’t eat and drink at the same time.
    • You want to allow your digestive juices (saliva and stomach acid) to be able to digest your food. Drinking liquids dilutes these juices causing a longer and more labored digestion.
  2. Chew and chew and then chew some more.
    • You want your food to be covered in your saliva (there are important digestive enzymes in saliva…just one of the many important functions of saliva). You want your food to be in ideal form so your stomach can do its job; and that means totally masticated.
  3. Try not to swallow air
    • Don’t eat too fast
    • Don’t talk too much while chewing and swallowing
    • No gum
    • No carbonated beverages
  4. Eat after moving into rest and digest mode
    • Pause and be still for 30 seconds before eating. You want to switch off your sympathetic nervous system (the stressed out and busy mode) and switch on your parasympathetic one.

Please leave comments or questions if you have them, and share this on social media! Thanks, be well.

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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