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Unzip your jeans after a meal to let your bloated belly out? Or wear shirts that disguise it? Don't feel bad, I used to do the same thing years ago. In fact, this is probably one of the most common complaints I hear from my clients, particularly women: "My belly is constantly bloated". While there are more than a dozen reasons from food allergies, to improper food combining to not chewing food enough, I have compiled some tips in this post to help you combat the bloat.
Please note, that if you are constantly bloated, following one of these tips for a few days may not do the trick. Every person is unique, so what works for one person may not work for another.
1. Chew your food
Most people chew 4-7 times and swallow. If this describes you, then you are literally swallowing chunks of food. Digestion begins in the mouth, in fact there's an enzyme in your saliva called salivary amylase that starts the digestive process (your stomach doesn't have teeth)! Count your chews next time you eat, then swallow when your food is a paste. Not only will this reduce bloating, but it helps to prevent food allergies, improves absorption of nutrients which results in MORE energy, weight loss, improved sex drive and much more -- all just by chewing.
Here's the deal: When you chew, this signals your brain to start producing enzymes and stomach acid, if you don't actually eat something, this excess acid/enzyme mixture not only gets depleted in the long-term because you don't have an endless supply, leading to bloating in the future when you actually eat AND excess juices in the gut without food causes more gas resulting in.... bloating! I'm not even going to touch on the fact that gum is a source of artificial sweeteners which are neurotoxic additives that the "phood" industry thinks is safe for human consumption and studies prove leads to weight gain.
2. Eat probiotic-rich foods
Better yet, take a probiotic supplement. No, this doesn't mean eating your daily prune-flavoured Activia (sorry Activia people), this means eating real probiotic-rich foods like organic yogurt (PineRidge Farms or Organic Meadow - both great brands), kefir and immune system health and literally affects sugar , a heartburn or always bloated. If you have bad breath and need to chew gum, you actually need to address your gut health (contact me! : ). Bad breath often stems from an unhealthy gut.
3. Do NOT cut out carbs
Interestingly, when I did a little Google search to find out what others are suggesting as tips to get a flat belly and fight the bloat, many suggest cutting out carbs. Whoa! Not a good idea, in fact, cut out carbs and you are just asking for trouble. Cutting out any one macronutrient is bogus and a surefire way to send your body into a metabolic stand-still. Complex carbs contain both fibre and water - both key components to digestion and elimination.
What have you found to be some of the best dietary or lifestyle factors for your digestions?
Excellent article, Joy. Very insightful... thanks! :)Reply
I am probably going to register for your Eat Well class Joy. How do I do that? I really need to learn more about nutrition and I am so tired of feeling bloated.Reply
Fabulous. Please have a read of all the information on this link: http://joyoushealth.wordpress.com/eat-well-feel-well/ And then email me and I will send you our registration form. joy at joyoushealth.ca Looking forward to meeting you Sarah!
Joy, your articles are always so fascinating. I myself chew gum everyday. I read your heartburn article and I think this may be adding to the problem. Keep up the great work.Reply
OMG, I love your article JOY it comes on time cause I have these problems (bloated, constipation and gas). And now I knew my problems I love chewing gum and I eat my food very fast... I wish I were in Canada, I'd register for your Eat Well class but I can't :((( keep going :))Reply
I will have ebooks launching in the Fall Amera, so check back in September for that! Have a wonderful day and thanks for writing. Joy
This is a very interesting point of view. Your blog is refreshing, but I wish one could find more content, though. I am looking forward to reading more from you. Keep up the good work. thanksReply
Hi James, thanks so much! What were you looking for that you couldn't find? Perhaps I can point you in the right direction - sometimes the "search" doesn't work as well as it could when you are looking up a particular topic. Joy
I'd love to hear more about Candida. Sounds like something I should know more about! Great info, thank you!Reply
This is great post - bloatedness is such a complaint for so many of my clients, and I don't even deal directly in digestion/ the internal body! Belly fat itself has been linked to excess cortisol - are there any food tips you would offer for combating this? Stress management is key, but didn't know if there were dietary supports too.Reply
Yes, belly fat is definitely linked to excess cortisol as well. Stress management is the single most important thing in combating stress (as you know). As is avoiding stimulants that promote stress in the body ie. sugar and caffeine. Sleep lowers cortisol, complex carbs etc. Supporting the body with nutrients depleted by stress: vitamin B, C, E, minerals such as magnesium are also all very important.
One more thing, to be more specific - vitamin B5 and B6 are the best for lowering cortisol. Holy Basil is great too.
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Recognizing your food intolerances is also very important for digestive health. It's mostly the foods we eat every day that we become intolerant to after a while. Dairy, wheat,gluten,corn, tomatoes etc. By eliminating offending foods for awhile, and strengthening the digestive system these foods can then be introduced back in. Nicely written article ;)Reply
Had an embarrassing incident today at a crafts store bathroom. I really really had to go #2 even though I'd had gone a little earlier in the late morning, but then had lunch...Usually I only have to go once a day but ever since I took on a regimen of too much water with lemon juice, my digestion has never been the same and not in a good way. You'd think going #2 more than once a day is a good sign but not in my opinion. Before the lemon/water regimen, I'd go once a day, regularly and feel totally relieved and not need to go the rest of the day but now, I have to go more than once a day, which is a huge inconvenience. So anyway, I went #2 in the store bathroom and the other one remaining stall must've had some malfunction because nobody went in it, and there was a line forming while I was in my stall. I flushed the toilet but to my horror, there were skid marks!!! I threw more toilet paper in there in the hopes that it would wipe the poop along with it and it was mostly successful but it still let a small spot. So I then flushed again but still, the small, but visible sign still remained. I couldn't make these poor people wait any longer so even though I was terribly embarrassed to leave it like that, I came out of the stall and apologized for taking so long and hoped it didn't smell too bad. I wish I'd never gone on the lemon/water routine (for almost two months).Reply
Hi Sophie, Sorry to hear that. It is possible to overdo even a good thing like lemon and water. We usually recommend doing one glass of lemon in water first thing in the morning on an empty stomach to get things going, then letting your body's natural rhythm take over for the rest of the day. Kate - Joyous Health Team
My belly is constantly bloated mostly at the bottom, I am able to go for a poo but I recently got told there was a lot of poo stuck in my tubes and got given capsules to drink with water but there disgusting would I be able to take laxatives instead of doing that to clear by tubes?Reply
Hi Megan, Since we don't know what's in the capsules, we can't make a recommendation here. We'd recommend checking with your healthcare practitioner to see what they say. Kate - Joyous Health Team