Bloating is a common and uncomfortable phenomenon most of us experience from time to time, however feeling bloated doesn’t have to be your normal.
“Feeling bloated doesn’t have to be your normal.”
Bloating could be occurring for a number of reasons and is often experienced when your body has interacted with food. Typically, bloating is when you feel inflammation or bloat around the belly button and ironically, even some of the healthiest eaters experience bloating. This is because everyone’s body is unique to them, meaning eating the right foods for you is essential to your overall health and vitality and in turn, not feeling bloated.
“Typically bloating is when you feel inflammation or bloat around the belly button”
In today’s blog post we’re going to look at the most common reasons we experience bloating;
Let’s take a closer look at leaky gut. Leaky gut is experienced when the junctions in the gut between the epithelial cells are loose, or in other words, there are gaps in the gut lining that create ‘leaking’. These gaps in the gut lining then result in half-digested foods and larger proteins making their way out of the small intestine and into the bloodstream. Once in the bloodstream, the immune system tags these foods as an invader, resulting in an immune and inflammatory response. This is often experienced as bloating.
“Gaps in the gut lining then result in half-digested foods and larger proteins making their way out of the small intestine and into the bloodstream.”
Here at the BePure Clinic, gluten is a common culprit. People that experience leaky gut may notice their bloating reduce just days after removing gluten from their diet. For others, they may not notice a difference until they add gluten back into their diet a few weeks later. Ideally, you should remove gluten for a full 3 weeks before reintroducing it. Over this time monitor your gut symptoms, as well as your energy levels and how you feel emotionally. Observe whether you feel better, and if you do, then I’d recommend keeping gluten out of your diet long term.
Stress is also commonly associated with inflammation in the gut, as are parasites. We will talk more about parasites later on in this blog.
Leaky gut and food intolerances go hand in hand. This is because the reason that your body is reacting to a certain food in the first place, is likely due to a degree of leaky gut.
When someone has leaky gut, the food proteins that have made their way into the bloodstream are marked as an invader. Once an invader, the immune system will attack the moment the food enters the body. This immune response creates inflammation in the body, hence that bloated feeling. This inflammatory response is telling your body to pay attention so it can heal the affected area.
The good news is that depending on how severe your food intolerance is, if you can reverse your leaky gut you may be able to reintroduce the foods that are currently causing an immune response.
This makes healing the gut lining incredibly important. Interestingly enough the epithelial cells, which make the gut lining, actually regenerate the fastest of all the cells in the body, taking just four days. Theoretically, if you were able to nail down which foods were causing an inflammatory response for you and remove them, you could see dramatic improvements quickly.
Having said that, your ‘gut’ or digestive tract is a big environment. Leaky gut invariably means the whole environment has a significantly unbalanced microbiome due to pathogens and inflammation. So healing the gut lining usually doesn’t happen overnight and can be a long process.
“Healing the gut lining usually doesn’t happen overnight and can be a long process.”
Note: For some people, their immune response to foods is far more serious. This is what we call a food allergy and is a lot more embedded than a food intolerance.
For many people, processed foods and gluten often lead to gut dysfunction. At the BePure Clinic, we have been yet to see a person with an autoimmune disorder whose symptoms have not drastically improved on a gluten free diet.
Foods that are high in trans fats, refined grains, sugar, preservatives and emulsifiers are also associated with digestion issues, poor memory, foggy thinking, chronic aches pains and poor sleep.
Eating a nutrient rich, wholefood diet can help to reduce inflammation within your body caused by processed foods. Bone broth is a great way to nurture your gut lining as it is rich in amino acids and trace minerals that promote reversing leaky gut. Try making this homemade bone broth recipe here.
Unfortunately due to poor diet choices, nutritional deficiencies, such as zinc deficiency, and the process of aging, many people are not naturally producing the optimal level of digestive enzymes required for healthy digestion.
Digestive enzymes play a crucial role in gut health, functioning as catalysts which speed up biochemical reactions. Essentially, they enable the break down of food so that nutrients can be absorbed into the bloodstream.
“Bloating is a sign your body isn’t making enough digestive enzymes.”
Bloating is a sign your body isn’t making enough digestive enzymes. A lack of digestive enzymes contributes to leaky gut, food allergies and food sensitivities, ultimately creating havoc to the digestive system. To improve your digestive health, add in digestive enzymes by eating prebiotic foods and taking a high strength digestive enzyme, daily.
Unbalanced bacteria (of the non-beneficial kind), parasites and yeast overgrowth can lead to tissue damage in the gut and ultimately inflammation.
These nasty non-beneficial bacteria feed on processed foods, refined grains, sugars, preservatives and emulsifiers, which allows them to multiply creating a colony inside the gut. These non-beneficial bacteria emit toxins, slow digestion and cause food to ferment in the small intestine, leading to stomach pains and bloating after meals.
To make matters worse, parasites or pathogens in the digestive tract lead to major inflammation and accelerate leaky gut.
Many people experience bloating as just one of a couple of digestive symptoms that fall under the umbrella of IBS, or irritable bowel syndrome.
There’s one particular dietary protocol that seems to help a lot of people with IBS and that’s the FODMAPS diet. The reason being, it basically stops feeding the bacteria in the gut by taking away the foods (prebiotics) that feed the bacteria. Once all unbeneficial bacteria have been eliminated, you can slowly start reintroducing prebiotics back into your diet. FODMAPS is a wonderful thing and it helps a lot of people with IBS, but it’s very difficult to maintain long-term.
In the BePure Clinics, our clients begin with FODMAP to monitor symptoms but we’ll test their microbiome to see what strains of beneficial and pathogenic bacteria, parasites and yeasts are inside the gut. We then work to support rebalancing the gut, modifying the microbiome and allowing our clients to include a broader diet.
The truth of the matter is that we need great gut health for our overall health and vitality. If you experience bloating, reducing processed foods and gluten from your diet is a good place to start. Adding in a daily digestive enzyme will help nurture great upper digestion and taking a high strength probiotic daily will help support a healthy gut by promoting a good balance of beneficial bacteria.
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