If you suffer from bloating you know it can be a horrible feeling.
The belly is distended and feels tight and full. It feels like you can’t breathe, move properly or comfortably go about the day.
Suffering from bloating can also affect mental health and lead to depression and brain fog.
This is because the gut and the brain talk to each other through the vagus nerve, sending messages up and down.
Bloating is a common complaint but there are ways to alleviate this problem.
Five Reasons Why You are Always Bloated
#1. You are consuming too much gluten
Wheat today is processed differently and is genetically and biologically different. It often lacks nutrients and can be hard to digest.
Modern wheat has been shown to increase inflammatory markers with many people complaining of brain fog, depression, aches and pains.
Many people report feeling lethargic and generally run-down after consuming wheat products.
TIP: Cut wheat out of your diet for 2 weeks and note the difference in well-being, sleep quality and energy levels.
#2. You are not digesting your food properly
Undigested food will cause excess gas and bloating and unfortunately the modern diet is lacking in enzymes and friendly bacteria to aid the digestive process. Without enzymes you cannot digest and absorb nutrients efficiently. This can leave you depleted in the vitamins and minerals required to help prevent disease.
TIP: A digestive enzyme taken between 10 minutes and half an hour before each meal can often alleviate these uncomfortable symptoms as food starts to properly digest.
#3. You feel stressed
When a person feels stressed their breathing becomes short and shallow and it feels feel like they are just breathing in the chest area. Stress causes the body to move in to ‘fight or flight’ mode, shutting down digestion and making it difficult for the body to absorb food.
Stress can cause the gut to either ‘hold’ (constipation) or ‘release’ (diarrhoea). This is caused by the effect that the nervous system has on peristalsis, the movement of food through the gut. Stress hormones like adrenaline are produced when we feel anxious or stressed and in turn affect the digestive process.
TIP: Practice deep abdominal breathing. Breathe in for the count of 7 and breathe out for the count of 11. Try and do this at regular intervals if your tummy is feeling tight and anxious.
#4. You are constipated
Constipation creates a build up of toxic waste. This not only obviously causes extra bulk but this waste ferments causing excess gas. More gas means more bloating.
TIP: Consume a raw grated carrot daily. Try and drink about 1.5 litres of warm water a day. Take Triphala, an effective Ayurvedic formulation to cleanse and detoxify the system by regulating the bowels.
#5. You have LOW stomach acid
Stomach acid is necessary for digestion. It is a common myth that it is always excess stomach acid that causes acid reflux, indigestion and belching, but this is often not the case. Low stomach acid commonly shares the same symptoms as too much stomach acid including the above, but with low stomach acid you may also suffer from bloating.
If there is insufficient stomach acid food cannot be broken down properly. Bacteria which is present in the digestive tract then attacks the undigested food leading to fermentation which causes gas.
TIP: There is a simple and useful test you can do to determine if you have low stomach acid, it is not absolute and so you should have this diagnosed by your health provider – in the morning on an empty stomach dissolve a quarter of a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda in to a little water. After drinking this you should experience belching within 5 – 10 minutes.
The Bicarbonate of soda becomes neutralised and will turn in to gas when there are sufficient levels of stomach acid. If you experience no belching this suggests an insufficiency of stomach acid.
Another useful indicator is to take a tablespoon of lemon juice when experiencing pain. If this makes you feel better it is an indicator of low stomach acid, if not and in fact you feel worse you may in fact have too much stomach acid.
If you discover you don’t have enough stomach acid you may want to try the Viridian Digestive Aid which contains betaine hydrochloric acid.
Other Bloating Culprits
The digestive system is complex and other factors can cause bloating such as eating too quickly or consuming too much red meat. Consuming food when upset and hormonal imbalances can also cause a distended tummy.
It can be useful to have a stool sample tested and to check for any parasites or bacteria.
In occasional cases feeling bloated can have a serious root cause and so report any concerns to your doctor.