Usually, I’m blogging about needed topics such as pain, fatigue, fibrofog, fibromyalgia, and chronic illness. So, why talk about belly bloat? You may WANT to reduce your belly bloat – and this post will share why you NEED to. Here are three easy (and even swallow-able!) remedies to try.
First, we need to discover why belly bloat happens.
You may find yourself feeling bloated, gassy, or uncomfortable for many reasons. It may be in your lower belly – under the beltline. Or, you may experience bloating in your upper belly – above the beltline.
Or, you may be one of the lucky few, and be blessed with both types. (Insert snark-asm as you please.)
Here are some possible causes or contributors to belly bloat:
- Nutrient-deficient diet (lots of packaged foods, fast foods, and empty-nutrient foods)
- Sugary diet (consuming sugary foods and packaged foods that metabolize quickly into sugar such as bread, pasta, tortillas, cereals, crackers, chips, pastries, etc.)
- Low fiber diet
- Diet high in acidic foods / low in alkalinizing foods
- Persistent consumption of foods that irritate your digestive system (i.e., food allergies, foods sensitivities, food intolerances, etc.)
- Hiatal hernia
- Chronic stress
- Infection (h. Pylori, E. Coli, candida, amebiasis (parasites), etc.)
- PMS (premenstrual syndrome)
- Long-term grain consumption (for men in particular, this means beer)
- Toxin exposures (toxins including heavy metals are stored in fat cells, and I don’t have to tell you where fat cells collect)
- Smoking (seems this applies to women more than men)
Do any of the items on this list
pop out at you?
Perhaps some make you say,
“Um, I think this is me.”
Continuing to consume foods that irritate and inflame your esophagus, stomach lining, and your intestines is a problem that I see with clients every day.
So, what foods top the list of Most Likely to Irritate? Here’s the most common culprits: wheat/gluten, soy, dairy, eggs, sugar, aspartame/msg, corn, peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, processed/packaged foods, grains (generally speaking, grains may be problematic for anyone with fibromyalgia and/or autoimmune conditions).
You can see that in many cases, belly bloat is a result of dietary choices. That’s the great news because we can choose healthier options for our very next meal. In any case, I encourage you to start (today!) by tackling at least one or two of these topics. Take just a few preliminary steps to help your digestive system to heal.
There’s more trouble down the road
if something doesn’t change.
Here are a few health challenges that can stem from the above-listed problems:
- SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth)
- IBS (irritable bowel syndrome)
- Leaky gut syndrome
- Autoimmune reactions
- Esophageal reflux
- Diverticulitis / diverticulosis
- Candida overgrowth (yeast)
- Chronic constipation
- Whole body inflammation
TV commercials would lead you to believe that all you need is a purple pill to tackle your over-active acid problem. First of all, you don’t have an over-active acid problem, but that’s a topic for another day. Next, you’d be led to believe that fiber cereals and whole grain products are the solution. This is not only inaccurate advice, it continues to add to the problem.
If you feel bloated, gassy, belch-ey, over-full and under-comfortable after meals, it’s time to take positive action. Fortunately, there are simple things you can do to start winning the war against belly bloat. Upon reflection, if your belly bump isn’t as cute as for those in their first trimester, read on.
While there are lots of ways to tackle bloat, some should be tackled first. The following are three simple remedies you can implement right away:
As mentioned in the first list above, dehydration can play a significant role in belly bloat. Food needs liquid to eliminate efficiently. Picture your city gutters filled with leaves, dirt, and various debris when there’s no rain to wash things down the drainage systems. Proper hydration helps the body do what it’s designed to do — obtain the nutrients it needs from your food, and eliminate the rest.
When increasing healthier foods (including veggies with wonderful fiber), it’s even more important to stay properly hydrated. If you don’t know how much to drink or when to drink, here’s a post with more information including a handy-dandy Downloadable Hydration Tip Sheet.
Yes, you read about them all the time, and that’s for good reason. Probiotics are one of the few fundamental supplements that should be taken regularly by most of the population. A probiotic helps to establish healthy gut flora in your digestive system.
Since the health of your body, as a whole, depends on the health of your digestive system, this one change can significantly help to support your mood, energy, immune system and more.
Just a word on quality. If you’re looking to take a daily probiotic to keep your gut ecology in check, then finding a good one is important. If you’re looking to overcome symptoms of bloat, discomfort, and more, then quality is crucial. If you’re currently taking an antibiotic or have recently done so, then the quality of your probiotic is critical. A quality probiotic is all about live bacteria and cultures (no, you can’t get this from yogurt). So, make sure you’re getting a product that has not been in a hot warehouse, shipped in giant trucks, or been on a shelf for who knows how long. In other words, I’d rather purchase my probiotic from a company whose reputation for quality and freshness is on the line. If the company sells probiotics and other quality supplements, that’s great. If the company sells supplements, TVs, cell phones, diapers, and truck tires, then I would at least question my purchase.
DIRECTIONS: Take your probiotic as directed on the label with every meal. If possible, take it about 30 minutes before your meal. (If this is not always practical, it’s better to take it with your meal than not at all.)
I could spend eons describing the “best” probiotics to take, so instead I’ll give three suggestions.
First, seek out the recommendations of your trusted practitioners. In this instance, I’d ask holistic nutritionists, naturopaths, chiropractors, and other practitioners who specialize in digestive health.
Third, for my own recommendation, I personally use many of the high-quality Metagenics products including their probiotics. The one I use is Ultra Flora Balance. If you’re interested or would like more information, you can click on the link in the previous sentence. Or, at any time, click on the Metagenics icon on the right-hand side of my Rebuilding Wellness Website Blog page.
3) Digestive Enzymes
No, a digestive enzyme is not the same thing as a probiotic. Although they’re both designed to help with gut flora, they have different purposes. Supplemental digestive enzymes are necessary to help our bodies break down proteins, carbohydrates, and fats in our foods. Even if we consume a completely natural and healthy diet, the foods we eat have fewer natural digestive enzymes than we need (due to soil nutrient depletion, etc.).
Another thing to note is that there are digestive enzymes that break down plant proteins and specially-formulated ones to break down animal proteins. It’s up to you to choose.
DIRECTIONS: Take your digestive enzyme as directed on the label with every meal.
Again, the same recommendations as for the probiotics apply. Ask for suggestions from practitioners that you trust. You can find information on the digestive enzyme that I personally use from this link. It’s called Metazyme.
So there you have it.
Three – actually swallow-able – tips to help you beat belly bloat. These remedies are powerful enough to create change right away. In fact, you should begin to feel better in a week or two after implementing these protocols. But, keep in mind that more outward improvements may take longer.
It probably took years to create the bloated and inflamed situation that you may experience now. It also takes time to put out the fires of inflammation.
As always, be kind to yourself.
Be patient with your progress.
Got your own blasting belly bloat tips to share? Or comments? Please contribute below!
Does what you eat for breakfast relate to your PAIN? To learn more, grab your FREE Stop Feeding Yourself PAIN guide here!