If you feel bloated from time to time, don’t worry—you’re not alone. Most people feel a little puffed up throughout the day after eating, drinking, or working out; it’s totally normal! But if you experience excessive bloating, it may point to an underlying imbalance in your digestive tract. The good news is that it’s easy to fix with a few changes in your diet and lifestyle. So, let’s talk about what causes bloating and what you can do to reduce it.
The Cause of Bloating
Bloating is caused by excess gas that comes from the microorganisms that inhabit our digestive tract. Collectively, these microorganisms in the digestive tract are called the gut flora. The gut flora protect us from harmful microorganisms and help us digest food. It is sometimes this digesting of food that produces gas and bloating. When our body’s own process fails to completely digest a food, the gut flora eats the food components we didn’t digest and, in turn, it produces gas. When too much gas is produced, it causes bloating. Our busy lifestyles can also be part of the problem: Rushing around, grabbing whatever quick food we can find, and washing it down with a soda is a recipe for digestive gas and bloating.
Your Three-Step Solution to Bloating
- Avoid Giving Fuel to Gut Flora:
- If you cannot digest certain foods (such as milk, beans, etc.), then you should avoid or limit them.
- Avoid simple sugars whenever possible. One of the reasons soda is known to produce gas is that your body cannot digest that much sugar at one time (the CO2 doesn’t help either). The same is true for many other sugary treats.
- Beans, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, onions, and high-fiber foods may be hard to digest for some people.
- Optimize Your Digestion:
- Our digestive powers tend to lessen as we grow older. Supplementing with digestive enzymes like those in EZ-Gest® can help fully digest foods*—leaving less for the gut flora. Digestive enzymes can also help with those difficult-to-digest foods (beans, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, high-fiber foods).*
- Eating food slowly and choosing whole foods can improve digestion.
- Optimize Your Gut Flora:
- Eat probiotic foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, yogurt, kefir, and kombucha. Probiotics can help to establish healthy gut flora by adding good bacteria to your digestive tract. While this might seem a bit backwards (it is the bacteria that cause the gas), good bacteria produce less of the irritating gas. You can also use a probiotic supplement like Optiflora® DI to add good bacteria to your gut, supporting digestive and immune health.*
- Along with probiotics, you should eat prebiotic foods like garlic, onions, asparagus, leeks, bananas, barley, and oats. Prebiotics are types of dietary fiber that provide nutrients to feed friendly bacteria in your gut flora to help them grow and multiply. If needed, you can use a supplement like Optiflora® Prebiotic Complex to provide fuel for the good bacteria in your gut.*
A Few More Things to Consider:
- Stress, lack of sleep, and hormonal changes can also make food difficult to digest sometimes.
- Certain artificial sweeteners are known to cause gas, so watch out for these also.
- Exercise is your digestive friend. Regular exercise will help with the occasional sluggish digestion and reduce bloating.
Occasionally, gas and bloating are a sign of a serious health condition. If you follow the above plan but still have problems, then you should seek medical advice. Reducing gas and bloating is about taking care of your whole digestive tract and supporting your overall health.
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|*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.