Looking good in swimwear and summer T shirts can be challenging when you are feeling uncomfortable due to bloating and IBS!
But there is a lot you can do to have a comfortable ‘tummy’ that is not distended. Some intestinal wind is a normal part of what happens during the internal processing of our food, however for some people lots of intestinal wind can cause distention of the Gut and a lot of discomfort.
Over eating is very common and you can eat too much of the ‘good stuff’ too! Your digestion may produce enough enzymes to digest a ‘sensible’ serving of healthy food, however if your plate is loaded with food you will struggle to produce sufficient enzymes to break it all down and you may finish up with components that are not fully broken down, which will go on to over ferment in the Gut and cause bloating and discomfort.
If you ‘eat on the hoof’, or rush around while eating or eat while distracted and stressed, your digestion will not function effectively and digestion will be compromised, so again there will be undigested fermenters in the lower Gut afterwards. And on this point we need to chew food well! If food is rushed down without being chewed, it will be much harder to digest and the same eventualities will occur. Try a relaxing technique before you begin your meal especially in the evening when digestion is more challenged and in at this time of the day it is harder to digest proteins.
We are regularly told to eat a healthy diet and this is very important for us to feel well and lead a happy and fulfilling life, however foods that are considered ideal on a healthy diet are often the ones that cause the most grief for sufferers of painful wind and bloating. Some of the reason for this can be to do with the type of microbes housed in the Gut. Humans house a vase array of microbes in and on the body and the genetic diversity of these microbes is 44 x greater than the genetics of the human body!
The genetic array is known as the microbiome and its species and diversity influence all areas of human health.
Not only will we inherit our human genes from our parents but also some of the microbial genes. During a vaginal delivery a babe will collect microbes from the mother, microbes will be transferred via breast milk and all of the kisses and cuddles and closeness of the first months of a babe’s life will involve transference of parental microbes, that play a big part in setting a baseline microbial Gut population for life. The microbes we live with during the first months and year of life will have a major impact on the competence of our immune system and how it responds throughout life – but more on this in another blog.
During life there are many onslaughts and challenges that can influence a healthy microbial population: the food we eat or don’t eat, the medication and antibiotics we take, the stressors we are exposed to, how competent our digestive system is, the illnesses and infection we have, will all have an impact on our microbiome, Further reading on IBS and Gut microbes.
So what can we do to support a healthy microbiome that will work in synergy with our body to confer the health we all desire? The food we eat will influence this wonderful population more than any other thing we can do – we are now back to where we started!
We need a diversity of ‘Natural’ and ‘Real’ foods, as close to how nature intended as possible, with a rich diversity of colours and especially the dark full coloured vegetables and fruit. We need to eat foods that feed the beneficial bacteria so they proliferate and dominate in the Gut and these are onions, leeks, garlic, asparagus, lentils, pulses, artichoke, under ripe bananas and natural fibre rich foods. And again I hear you say these are often the culprits for bloating!
A dominance of undesirable microbes, poor digestion of some foods in the diet and a high stress load will all influence the behaviour of the Gut and encourage bloating and wind discomfort. To address this it is well worth visiting a good Nutritionist or Nutritional Therapist. Some of the reasons for bloating are summarised in this blog, however there are many individual differences and a good Nutritionist will work with you to establish the root cause of your problem and work with you to design a programme to help you make good food choices, build a good meal plan and possibly advise on supportive supplements to ensure you can live well and happy and eat those foods that are needed to support a healthy microbiome without the bloating and discomfort.
To contact Jane (Nutritionist – BSc Nutritional Medicine) call 01366 347452 or complete the form below. You can have a free 15 minute phone call to talk through your problem.