A healthy digestion is critical to general wellbeing. There is a direct relationship with what happens in your digestive tract and the rest of the body.
Hippocrates once said “All disease begins in the gut”, but we are only now recognising how correct he was over 2000 years ago. Improving your gut health could be one of the best investments you can ever make. Naturopath and Holistic Nutritionist and expert for Fusion Health, Erika Morvay shares how you can address abdominal bloating.
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What can cause abdominal bloating?
Abdominal bloating is often caused by gases produced by the bacteria, which normally live in the large intestine. These bacteria always produce some gas, but excessive gas can be produced when:
– The gut bacteria is out of balance
– We consume certain foods
– The digestive tract is unable to absorb food1
Tips to address abdominal bloating
– Pay attention to what and how you eat and document any associated symptoms. I suggest to record what you eat and how you feel each day in a diet/symptom diary for at least 2 weeks. This may help increase your awareness about what you are eating and how you feel.
– Try to be more mindful about your eating habits; take time to eat slowly, smell your food and chew it well. This will help enhance your body’s ability to produce digestive enzymes.
– Be organised. Prepare healthy meals for work or snacks for travel to avoid unhealthy food choices.
– Avoid eating when stressed or on the run.
– Manage your stress levels.
– Exercise regularly to assist body’s detoxification and enhance your sense of wellbeing. You are more likely to choose healthy food when you feel great.
– Eat foods that support normal digestive enzyme production and enhance the health of the gut bacteria such as bitter salad leaves, apple cider vinegar, artichokes, asparagus, fermented foods, papaya, pineapple, lemons and limes, sprouted seeds and legumes, if you can tolerate them. You can also include ginger, turmeric, fresh peppermint herb or tea on regular basis to help prevent or reduce bloating.
Try herbal medicine for symptom relief
Globe Artichoke is traditionally used in Western Herbal Medicine to support liver and gallbladder function. It may help to relieve symptoms of bloating, abdominal discomfort, belching and nausea. Chamomile, a herb traditionally used in Western herbal medicine has been used for symptoms such as bloating, flatulence and belching.
In traditional Chinese medicine herbs such as Chinese Licorice, Chinese Yam, Goldthread, Citrus Peel, Evodia and Black Atractylodes are often used for symptoms associated with abdominal bloating and discomfort.
Support your gut bacteria
Did you know that your gut contains ten times more bacteria than all the human cells in the entire body? More and more clinical studies show how the health and diversity of the gut bacteria influence our digestive health and general wellbeing.
Your gut bacteria perform many different functions including:
– Promoting normal gastrointestinal health
– Helping to reduce the risk of certain infections
– Regulating healthy metabolism
Positively affecting immune health
If you are experiencing digestive symptoms your gut bacteria could be out of balance.
This imbalance may be caused by use of antibiotics and other medications, diet high in refined carbohydrates, sugar and processed foods, diet low in fermentable fibre, various toxins, chronic stress and chronic infections.
The good news is you can improve the health of your gut bacteria. Include fermented foods into your diet or choose a broad-spectrum probiotic with a higher number of strains, which can help support the diversity of your gut bacteria.
I also recommend speaking to a holistic practitioner, who can help identify the actual cause of bloating. Abdominal bloating is a very general symptom and may be associated with various health conditions.