Do you suffer from bloating? Chances are that even if bloating isn’t a problem you suffer with regularly, you have at least experienced it a few times. At this time of year (the height of Summer), coping with bloating can be demoralising if you’re planning a summer holiday and uncomfortable due to the rising temperatures. It’s not your fault. Bloating is extremely common and yet the general theme seems to be to blame ourselves. Well, not everything in life is your fault. If you work a demanding and fast-paced job or have a young family then don’t forget to consider the impact that stress and anxiety might be having on your digestive health.
What causes bloating?
Excess wind / trapped air
Poor digestion due to stress / eating quickly
These are the main causes of bloating but every body is different and what causes you to bloat might be completely different to someone else’s trigger. It’s all too easy to pin it on food too, I think because primarily food is the one thing that we have control over in terms of how our bodies look and feel. You might eat really well, exercise regularly and get enough sleep and this can leave you feeling frustrated because if you’re doing all of these things right then why is your body still acting up? Trust me, I know the feeling!
How to reduce bloating
If you happen to fall into any of the above categories then of course, your treatment protocol should be in line with that specific condition. In general terms however, there are some simple things you can do to decrease your risk of bloating.
Our gut cleanse protocol is a 2 step cleansing programme designed to help balance and support your gut microbiome whilst calming inflammation and reducing stress on the gut. Cleansing with cold pressed juices is a great way to still take in beneficial nutrients from vegetables and fruit but also give your overworked digestive system the chance to rest and relax.
Chew your food
This is absolutely crucial and I cannot stress this enough. Good digestion begins in the mouth with the production of digestive enzymes in our saliva called amylase and lipase. Inhaling your food because you’re in a hurry or forgetting to take the time to chew it properly because you’re at your desk replying to emails at the same time is almost a guarantee of having inadequate digestion, especially if what you’re eating is protein heavy as that requires more energy from our bodies to digest anyway.
The myriad ways in which stress wreaks havoc on our bodies are becoming, thankfully, more widely recognised. When our stress response is elevated, as it so often is in today’s world, our bodies very cleverly switch off all functions which are not absolutely essential to life, and digestion is one of them. Our stress response is quite primitive in comparison to the very modern way we live these days and it does not distinguish between full-on life threatening stressor (e.g. attack by a predator) or non life threatening stressor - something going wrong at work. As you can imagine, in the life-threatening scenario it is not absolutely essential to have an optimally functioning digestive system, all that you need at that given time is blood flow to your brain and muscles to help you fight of take flight. So, top tip for decreasing bloating and digestive discomfort - chill out, especially around mealtimes.
Consider a probiotic
I say consider because probiotics aren’t essential for everyone and sometimes, if you have a condition like SIBO (Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth), they can do more harm than good. However, certainly after a course of antibiotics in which your bacterial balance will have been pretty severely disrupted it’s a good idea to reintroduce some friendly bacteria into your gut. My top tip generally is rather than (often) wasting your money on an expensive probiotic tablet which likely won't do what it’s promising on the label, instead include some naturally fermented foods into your diet on a daily basis. A great time to do this is with breakfast - a good quality protein source such as eggs or scrambled tempeh or tofu plus some veggies and some sauerkraut or kimchi is a fantastic way to boost your energy levels for the day and your healthy gut bugs.
Avoid fizzy drinks
Sounds obvious but you’d be surprised. Bloating is often caused by trapped air / wind, so it doesn’t make sense to voluntarily ingest loads of the stuff whilst drinking. Similarly, gulping down your food or talking excessively whilst eating can have the same effect.
Word of caution, if you’re going to drastically shake up your diet it’s best done under the care of a practitioner, however, there are certain foods (FODMAPs) which can cause bloating in some individuals. There is good research to suggest that following a low FODMAP diet can help relieve symptoms for as many as 74% of people with IBS. However, it’s not a diet that you should stay on long term and you should consult your practitioner of doctor before hand.
Gentle movement every day along with drinking lots of water will help keep you regular. Constipation is all too common these days and a slow transit time through the gut may account for excess gas and bloating.
Consider a fast
Sometimes what the digestion needs is a really good rest. With our culture of constant snacking and overeating we never give our overworked digestion the chance to rest and sometimes a bit of a break is all it needs to calm everything down and ease your bloating. Cleansing with cold pressed juices can be a great way to achieve this as you still take in beneficial minerals and vitamins from the raw juices, but still manage to rest the digestive system.
“The gut cleanse 2 was life changing for me. It calmed my entire system and kickstarted my current clean eating regime. Highly recommend.” - Caroline M