Food intolerances Gut health gut microbiome

5 steps to banish bloating

Do you find that by the end of the day you need to loosen you belt or do you look as if you might be pregnant? If bloating is getting you down here are our top tips for banishing the bloat for good!

1. Chew your food. 
Good digestion begins in the mouth with chewing your food well. If you don’t chew well, it’s a much bigger job for the rest of your digestive system. These chunks of food end up partially digested and travelling through the digestive system, fermenting and producing excess gas which causes your bloating. You should try to chew each mouthful of food 20 times – go on try it. You’ll probably find you haven’t been chewing nearly enough.

2. Take time out to eat.
Eating on the go likely to result in bloating. If you’re rushing around and shoving food into your mouth as you go your body may not even register that it is meant to be digesting food. This is particularly relevant if you are feeling stressed. Stress can shut down digestion and leave you feeling like you’ve got a rock in your stomach. Take time to sit down and mindfully chew your food. This way your body can focus on the job in hand – digesting your food.

3. Identify problem foods.
If you sit down for meals, eat mindfully and chew your food yet you still struggle with bloating then this is key to overcoming it. Find out which foods trigger your symptoms. You can keep a diet diary, although sometimes this can be tricky when eating meals with multiple ingredients. You can eliminate specific food groups for a period of time to see whether symptoms subside. If you want to do away with the guesswork then order a bloodspot food intolerance test to identify the foods that are causing problems for you. When you have identified them and removed them from your diet you will experience an improvement in symptoms. After a period of exclusion you can try to put the food or foods back into your diet, but follow steps listed here to correct your digestion too.

4. Try digestive enzymes. 
Digestive enzymes help to break down your food, leaving less undigested food to ferment further down the GI tract. Your body should produce enzymes itself, but there are a few factors that can prevent this process from being effective. Sub-optimal production of stomach acid will stall enzyme release. Ageing and food intolerances can affect digestion too. Disordered digestion is tricky – a simple issue can become a bigger one because digestion affects absorption of nutrients, and absorption of nutrients are needed for good digestion and good health generally. Digestive enzymes should only need to be used for a short period of time. Begin taking them with the first few bites of a meal. After a few weeks and after eliminating problem foods you can start taking them towards the end of the meal – giving you body a chance to produce it’s own. Some people struggle to break down the protein in gluten and dairy. These people will usually need enzymes to support digestion of those types of foods.

5. Replenish your good gut flora.
There could be an overgrowth of candida, or other less-beneficial bacteria in the gut. This is likely if you have needed to take antibiotics or steroids in the past. You may have small intestinal bacteria overgrowth (SIBO) which is contributing to bloating. Once you have started correcting your digestion from further up the GI tract – eating properly, removing problem foods, supporting digestive secretions, then you can start to build up your good bacteria. You can do this with high potency probiotics and fermented foods like kefir and sauerkraut.

If you want to investigate the cause of your bloating or other digestive symptoms then get in touch to book an appointment for a consultation.


    Sarah is a clinical nutritionist specialising in mental wellbeing and the gut-brain connection.

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