We all get those days where squeezing into our jeans is a stretch - tumble drier fresh we call it in our house!
But proper bloating is more than just what to wear, It is uncomfortable, painful and can be a symptom of IBS- which causes other abdominal symptoms such as constipation and/or diarrhoea, stress is a major factor, but diet can be to blame too
What can be behind the bloat
GUT BACTERIA IMBALANCE-
your digestive tract is home to lots of friendly bacteria
- which bring many health benefits, such as aiding digestion, If you have low levels of these bacteria food may not be broken down properly causing it to ferment and release gasses
Stress, high sugar diets and antibiotics an contribute to low levels, - many people who suffer with bloating suffer with a sluggish gut so it takes longer for these gases to be expelled, so it get stuck in the abdomen causing discomfort -
An intolerance to lactose- the sugar found in milk is a classic one, but studies have found foods high in FODMAPs (fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and Polyols)
can cause bloating, High FODMAP foods include, apples, pears , onions, and cauliflower
THE WRONG FIBRE- Too little fibre can lead to constipation and bloating, however too much
insoluble fibre in whole grains can aggravate symptoms, try different types of fibre than you eat normally, try rye, spelt quinoa,
STRESS- It is well know that stress disrupts the digestive process, when stress you may also consume more sugar, feeding that unfriendly bacteria, and eating on the go means you go digest food efficiently
YOUR ACTION PLAN
TAKE TIME TO EAT- chewing is an import part of the digestive process, so sit and eat slowly,, the action of chewing starts to break down the food, and enzymes in saliva kick-start digestion
AVOID BLOAT CAUSING FOODS-Beans pulses, fizzy drinks, some green vegetables such as broccoli can produce more gas, raw veg is also harder for the body to digest.
if symptoms persist, then visit your GP, who will refer you to a dietician who will help you isolate what is causing the problem.
FOODS TO INCLUDE
BERRIES- berries such as strawberries & raspberries, are high in fibre but lower in sugar than many fruits so wont feed that harmful bacteria
FERMENTED VEG-Sauerkraut, Kimchi are a fantastic natural way to boost those probiotics in the gut - and unlike those supplements that are meant to help- contain no sugars that would exasperate the situation
PREBIOTICS - again natural ones found in leeks, asparagus and bananas are high in fibre and will feed that bacteria in the gut.
SPICES- ginger and peppermint teas have been used for years to treat bloating, research also shows that aromatic spices such as cumin, fennel and coriander may help too
CULTURED DAIRY - live natural full fat yoghurt, contain natural probiotics, avoid flavoured types which contain too much sugar
What about those yoghurt type drinks?
Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts promoted as having various health benefits. They're usually added to yoghurt or taken as food supplements, and are often described as 'good' or 'friendly' bacteria.
Probiotics are thought to help restore the natural balance of bacteria in your gut (including your stomach and intestines) when it has been disrupted by an illness or treatment.
These supplements may be helpful in some cases, but there's little evidence to support many health claims made for them. For example, there’s no evidence to suggest that probiotics can help treat eczema.
However, it does seem that for most people probiotics appear to be safe. If you wish to try them – and you have a healthy immune system – they shouldn't cause any unpleasant side effects.
Potential issues with probiotics yoghurt and food supplements
If you're considering trying probiotics, there are a few issues you need to be aware of.
Firstly, probiotics are generally classed as food rather than medicine, which means they don't undergo the rigorous testing that medicines do.
Because of the way probiotics are regulated, we can’t always be sure that:
the product actually contains the bacteria stated on the food label
the product contains enough bacteria to have an effect
the bacteria are able to survive long enough to reach your gut
It's also worth noting that there are many different types of probiotics that may have different effects on the body, and little is known about which types are best. Don't assume the beneficial effects seen with one type are the same as other similar types or will be repeated if used for another purpose.
Lastly, there's likely to be a huge difference between the pharmaceutical-grade probiotics that show promise in clinical trials and the yoghurt and supplements sold in shops.
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