That uncomfortable feeling of a protruding belly can be caused by many dietary factors, but thankfully bloating is usually not a serious condition. If bloating accompanies other symptoms such as pain, fever, blood in the stool, irregular periods, swollen lymph nodes or unexplained weight loss, a doctor’s visit is in order. You may be surprised to know that there is natural stomach bloating remedies that can resolve your issues without resorting to over the counter medications.
Contrary to what you might think, bloating is not caused by excess fluid in the stomach like water. Fluids don’t ‘collect’ in your stomach. If you are retaining fluid, the fluid buildup is generally around the stomach, extremities, and joints.
Barring fluid retention due to other issues, generally bloating is a problem with digestion. Excessive gas is the main cause of bloating. Excessive gas can come from:
Inadequate protein digestion. Strong stomach acid is needed to break down the tangled web of amino acids in meat protein. Many people suffer from low stomach acid. If you cannot digest protein adequately, it goes through the digestive tract without the absorption of minerals like iron.
Inability to digest starches and sugar. Your body has to make the enzymes needed to break down starches and sugar. Most people do not eat enough whole fruits and vegetables which contain natural enzymes that help digest the food. If you cannot digest your starches, bloating is a result.
Imbalance of gut bacteria. Our stomach is home to both good and bad bacteria. If you have an imbalance of bad bacteria vs. good bacteria. Gas and bloating can be the result.
I’m sure you’ve heard of probiotics and how wonderful they are for gut health. Probiotics are a great digestive remedy, but if you are experiencing gas and bloating then jumping on the probiotic train may NOT be the best thing for you right away. Adding more bacteria to a stomach already overabundant in bacteria may exacerbate the condition rather than fix it.
My favorite gas and bloating remedies.
1.Gaia Herbs Gas and Bloating and Heather’s Tummy Tamers: Peppermint, ginger, and fennel help the stomach release trapped gas and relax the muscle wall of the intestines. Activated charcoal helps absorb the excess gas in the gut. Take these supplements in between meals and away from other supplements or medication. Charcoal binds to other nutrients and you don’t want to not absorb essential nutrients.
2. Renew Life’s “Digest More” and Enzymedica’s “Digest”: Digestive enzymes are needed to digest food thoroughly for maximum absorption of nutrients. Inflammation due to poor diet, excessive sugar, starch intake, and medicines can deplete enzyme secretions. If food is slow to be digested or remains semi-digested, gas and bloating are the result. These products assist the body with enzymes so food can be digested and move along the digestive tract. Take them with meals.
3. Something so simple yet not heeded due to our hectic lifestyle is slow, conscious and mindful eating. When we chew our food thoroughly, digestive secretions start forming. Saliva is the first enzyme that starts the digestion process. Being mindful of taking each bite, chewing thoroughly and swallowing is so very important to avoid gas and bloating. When we eat hurriedly, half chew our food and swallow without thinking, we are taking in excess gas and not allowing our body to produce the necessary enzymes. Then, not chewing thoroughly results in large pieces of unchewed food into our stomach. Our stomach has to work extra hard to break down the food resulting in gas and bloating.
4. Lastly, grazing all day. Many people are literally eating all day. Some people always have a snack handy to munch on. The digestive system needs to rebalance bacteria by not having food in the stomach all day. When there is food in the stomach that is being digested all day long, the stomach cannot work as efficiently leading to gas and bloating.
These are simple remedies that can make a profound difference in your gas and bloating issues.
In conclusion, bloating is not caused by excess water in the stomach but mainly from gas. Gas is caused by inadequate digestion of proteins, starches, and fats. It can also be caused by lack of eating hygiene, such as eating too fast and not chewing food thoroughly. Snacking all day doesn’t allow the stomach to naturally cleanse itself when food is not in the stomach. Low stomach acid is usually the culprit when not able to digest food properly.
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Linda is a Certified Functional Health Coach