Bloating is the uncomfortable, tight feeling in the abdomen that makes you feel sluggish, self conscious and only wanting to wear your loosest pair of trousers.
There are many causes of bloating such as eating too quickly and not chewing food thoroughly. Stress can also cause bloating, this is because when we are under stress we release hormones that inactivate the digestive system. Adrenalin shuts down the digestion because the last thing you need to do in a fight or flight response is to digest the poached eggs you had for breakfast. So if your life is very pressurised, it's even more important to take time to relax over your food. Sit down, sit up, and chew - like your granny told you!
Here's our guide to beating the bloat:
Aim to reduce stress in your life, whether it’s work, a friend or a family member causing you to tear your hair out, try to develop techniques for dealing with stressful situations without letting it affect your wellbeing. Deep breathing, gentle exercise such as yoga, or getting out for some fresh air can be helpful. The herb rhodiloa can be used to help our bodies adapt to stress and reduce the level of stress hormones being released. Green tea contains the amino acid Theanine, which has a relaxing effect on the brain. Our Zen supplement contains Theanine plus GABA the calming neurotransmitter. Come in and speak to us about other ways to support your adrenal glands and combat stress.
To beat the bloat, try to incorporate foods to promote and soothe digestion. Fresh pineapple contains bromelain, a protein-digesting enzyme, so try to eat it after consuming meat. We stock bromelain in supplement format as well as several very effective digestive enzyme complexes that help you break your food down fully to gain all the nutritional benefits.
Courses of antibiotics, other prescription drugs and a poor diet can all affect the levels of healthy bacteria in the gut, so include plenty of probiotic foods in your diet such as bio live yogurt and fermented foods including sauerkraut, miso, natto. Probiotic and prebiotic supplements are an effective way to top up your good bacteria, and we have a wide variety of strengths, formats and price ranges to suit you. Ginger is renowned for aiding and soothing digestion, take it in a tea, add to meals or try a supplement. Our Gingerdophilus capsule is a combination of ginger and probiotics. You could also try peppermint tea, which is anti spasmodic or chamomile, which is soothing.
Rule out intolerance
A food intolerance is another potential cause of bloating, with wheat and dairy products being the two main culprits. Initially, road-test your diet without dairy for two or three weeks. If there's no improvement in your symptoms, try a similar period of time without wheat.
If you suspect that you have a food intolerance but are not sure which foods are the problem, we can carry out food intolerance testing here at HQ, come in and ask for a test kit.
Words by Natalie McAdam