5 Simple Rules to Reduce Bloating

I started suffering from a bloated, uncomfortable abdomen when I was in my teens. I was diagnosed with IBS and told it was something I was going to have to live with. “Excellent,” was my initial reaction. “I have what sounds like a pod of whales in my tummy and there is no one to stop them gossiping about the cramped conditions!” This was well over 20 years ago and there is generally a much greater understanding as to what causes and how we can treat bloating and IBS type symptoms. My condition was stress related (I was right in the middle of my GCSE’s) but my diet was the aggravating party. In particular white bread and cheese, although not necessarily in that classic combination. I would also react if I drank too much milk, ate too many biscuits or cakes. Nowadays I avoid dairy, only spreading a little butter on my wheat free bread or sautéing green beans in butter and garlic is as far as I generally go. I drink rice, coconut, oat or almond milk and generally in tea or on porridge only. I stick to eating pitta bread (it is unleavened, so there is no yeast in it) or rye bread (which is wheat free). I do have lapses, I am a human being after all. But I know if I do indulge that there will be consequences, albeit short lived. Cutting out the vast quantities of bread and cheese from my diet (it is too easy to have bread for every meal) has increased my tolerance to these food types now. But what might be causing your bloating and how can we remedy this?


Causes of Bloating

Drinking with your food. How many of us have a glass of something (from water to wine) with our meals? If I am out then this is something I now manage very carefully, however if I am at home I avoid this completely. Any liquid within the stomach will interrupt the digestive process. Carbohydrates, fats and proteins all digest at different speeds. Adding liquids to the mix delays this process and in many cases means that foods will not digest properly. We can end up with undigested foods in our small intestines, causing irritation, bloating and gas.

Food combining. Because different foods digest at different speeds we must be mindful of what combinations we place in our systems. Most of us enjoy eating something a little sweet after our meals, something to freshen up our palates. Fruits are a very simple carbohydrate (fructose) which start to break down within the mouth. If we have had meals with a lot of protein or fats (both of which digest much slower than carbohydrates, fats are the slowest to digest at almost 4 hours) and we place a fast digesting fruit on top it can start to ferment the food beneath it. This fermentation process can really bloat us out, giving us lots of gas and discomfort.

Eating too quickly. It should never be a race, eating should be savoured and enjoyed. Each mouthful of food should be chewed or masticated properly, ensuring we use our teeth and digestive enzymes to their true potential. Carbohydrates get digested in the mouth so if we don’t chew them they won’t get broken down properly.  We have 2 cats, a boy (Paco) and a girl (Beth). Paco wolfs down his food in record time. Whereas Beth takes smaller, more delicate mouthfuls, chewing the biscuits. It will take her 2-3 returns to her bowl to finish her plate.  If you chew properly you may even fin d that you don’t want that ‘something sweet’ afterwards.

Food intolerance. Food is our fuel, it helps drive our movement, our thoughts, our very existence. If our fuel is not suitable, our performance will reflect this. Many of us are sensitive to foods, some more than others. IBS, headaches, bloating, fatigue, diarrhoea and poor skin can all come from foods that we are sensitive or intolerant to. Follow this link to read in detail about the most common foods that irritate and aggravate us – http://www.allergyuk.org/common-food-intolerances/common-food-intolerances


5 simple rules to reduce bloating

Eat and drink away from each other. Ensure that you do not drink before or after meals for at least 30 minutes. Always try to avoid ice cold drinks around meal times. Reducing the temperature of your stomach will drastically reduce the digestion process.

Eat fruits first. Fruits are made up of simple sugars called Sucrose, as mentioned before they digest very quickly. Having your fruit before your main meal can assist your digestion. It will also reduce the chances of you getting bloated or gassy.

Slow down when you eat. It should not be a race. Take smaller mouthfuls and make sure you chew your food (I could hear my mum’s voice as I wrote that sentence). Chewing starts off the digestion process, if you wolf it down like Paco you will not break down and digest your food properly. Be more Beth!

Take a digestive enzyme with meals. Digestive enzymes help to break our food down into its individual components, making it far easier to absorb and digest. This process stops undigested food particles entering the large intestine where they will ferment if carbohydrates or putrefy if it is protein, causing bloating, gas and other health concerns. We recommend Lamberts Digestizyme. You can order it from The Natural Dispensary (the same people who we order all of our supplements from) and if you use the code NF005 at the checkout you will get a nice little discount. Follow this link for the product –  http://naturaldispensary.co.uk/products/Digestizyme_100_s-2699-148.html

Check for food intolerances. If you have tried cutting out specific food types from your diet and it has not worked, we offer Food Intolerance Testing here at The Bodyworks Practice. Our in house, skin prick test will give you the results within 24 hours and tests for 49 different foods. For a more extensive report (up to 250 food types) we use an external lab. The results from this can take up to 2 weeks. With both in house and external testing you will receive nutrition advice and guidance highlighting how best manage the changes in your diet, providing you with food alternatives and meal suggestions.   When food intolerances are present you are almost more than likely to have leaky gut / gut permeability.  This happens in the small intestine where food particles can cross the gut barrier into our blood and immune system causing more widespread health issues.  We can also test for leaky gut if we feel it is necessary, this id done using an external lab too.   Please call 01737 850117 for more details or visit – http://www.thebodyworkspractice.co.uk/therapies/food-intolerance-testing/


You shouldn’t have to change what you wear because of bloating. You shouldn’t have to make excuses for how you feel. You shouldn’t have to apologise for the whale soundtrack playing in your tummy. These things are all easily managed through simple management techniques. Feel more you again, feel in control again. Use these simple rules to help you reduce that bloating feeling.

K&N -Helping you understand the way your Body Works since 2009


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