21 Jul My Top Tips to Prevent and Eliminate Bloating
I talk to AEDIT magazine about all things bloating, gas and gut health…
What is stomach bloating, and what are the most common causes?
On a very basic level bloating can be caused by eating too much food (sheer volume of food in the GI tract), not chewing your food properly (both mechanical and chemical digestion happens in the mouth, and if you do not chew your food properly you will not secrete specific enzymes that are only found in the mouth), and eating too quickly (causing air to be trapped in the GI tract). Constipation can also cause bloating.
Dysbiosis, which is an unhealthy gut microbiome (an imbalance of good to bad bacteria) can cause bloating as the bacteria ferments the food in the stomach, as can an overgrowth of yeast (such as candida). SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth) can also be a cause of bloating.
Stress can also be a cause as when we are in fight or flight mode our ‘non-essential’ systems such as digestion are slowed down.
Does it impact women and men equally?
Technically yes, but I often see bloating in woman more than men as years of being on the contraceptive pill can negatively affect our gut microbiome which can lead to bloating.
What kinds of foods are known to cause stomach bloat?
I would put these foods into 3 categories:
- Highly processed foods – these are often high in sugar (which can cause an overgrowth of bacteria/yeast in the gut) and high in unhealthy fats (which can cause inflammation.
- Foods that you may have an intolerance too – these are foods that can trigger an inflammatory response in the gut, and typically I see gluten and dairy as the two most common food intolerances.
- High FODMAP foods – these are foods that have a high amount of a certain type of fibre that feeds our gut bacteria and causes fermentation and bloating. Some of the worst offenders can be beans and lentils, cauliflower and onions and garlic.
Conversely, are certain kinds of foods known to be debloating?
Probiotic rich foods (keep them dairy free) such as yoghurt, kefir and sauerkraut can be helpful, but keep them to one serving a day. I also love herbal teas such as ginger, dandelion and fennel, and fresh pineapple contains an enzyme called bromelain which can boost digestion.
Do you have any other tips for avoiding bloat?
Ideally, it’s about finding the root cause of the bloating. Occasional bloating can be perfectly normal, but if its constant or consistent then improving your gut health is key. Keep processed foods to a minimum, consider eliminating gluten and dairy (or take a food intolerance test), take a daily probiotic, and include healing foods such as collagen and bone broth, and fermented foods as above. And don’t forget the simple things such as chewing your food and managing your stress.