Do you suffer from bloating after meals? With 74% of Americans reporting experiencing digestive discomfort, bloating has become an epidemic in our society! Not only is bloating an uncomfortable experience but it can be embarrassing in social situations when you have excessive gas or need to urgently run to the bathroom.
Although most people consider bloating a rather minor health issue, it can often be a sign of a serious underlying problem in the digestive system. The sensation of bloating is often caused by a buildup of gas in the digestive tract. This gas comes from either air that has been swallowed or from the bacteria in the gut.
Swallowed air is usually a result of anxiety. When the nervous system is in “fight or flight” mode the breathing becomes short and shallow and can lead to excess air being swallowed. In fact, anxiety attacks are frequently accompanied by bouts of burping up of air that has been swallowed due to improper breathing. Effective anxiety reduction techniques include prayer, meditation, nature immersion, and relaxed time spent with loved ones
There are other reasons for swallowed air such as eating too quickly, using straws, chewing gum, or sucking on hard candy.
The other common cause of air in the digestive tract is from the fermentation of sugars and fiber by the bacteria in the gut. Trillions of bacteria live in our gastrointestinal systems and the collection of these bacteria is referred to as the “microbiome.” Some bacteria are good, some are bad, and some are neutral. The good bacteria help us break down and assimilate our food, modulate our immune systems, and protect our bodies from foreign invaders.
Unfortunately, due to our modern lifestyles, the ratio of bacteria can become imbalanced and the bad bacteria can take over and even migrate to parts of the digestive system they are not meant to be in. This is referred to as “intestinal dysbiosis.”
Bacteria and Bloating
In those with dysbiosis, foods that contain certain types of sugar and fiber will feed the excess bacteria who then produce gas as a byproduct of digestion. The buildup of this gas is often the cause of bloating.
In order to ease the symptoms of bloating it is essential to balance the microbiome. This can be done by eliminating foods that feed the bad bacteria and consuming more good bacteria (probiotics) and food for the good bacteria (prebiotics).
Sadly, many otherwise healthy vegetables can potentially contribute to bloating in certain extreme cases. This is because vegetables like onions, garlic, and leeks contain specific carbohydrates called FODMAPs. These carbohydrates are readily fermented by bacteria in the bowel and can feed an overgrowth of bad bacteria.
Beat the Bloat!
In order to reduce the incidence of bloating it is important to pay attention to the lifestyle factors that contribute to this phenomenon. There is no one cause of bloating universal to everybody. It is important to listen to your body so you can figure out what foods and factors are major contributors for you. To make it easier for you, here is a list of foods that likely contribute to bloating and foods that will likely help prevent it.
Foods to Avoid
Foods to Add
Feel the Fermented Difference
Dr. Colbert developed Fermented Green Supremefood as an easily digested alternative to conventional greens powders. By fermenting the vegetables before consumption, the chances of bloating are dramatically decreased. The result is a delicious and nutrient dense formula that provides a substantial dose of probiotics!