What is causing my bloating?

Alison Tehan Nutrition / depression  / What is causing my bloating?

What is causing my bloating?

There are so many causes of bloating and its not always about the food. This is an area that can confuse so many and I want you to know that its not always about the food as I outline below.

Yes some food groups can cause our gut to bloat after eating them. This can be a normal physiological reaction. Normal bloating shouldn’t cause too much discomfort and it passes after a short period of time.

I believe our bodies are designed to eat real, whole foods. Our bodies know what do to with them, they are designed to break them down and digest them. As we get older it becomes harder to digest foods such as dairy as we stop producing much of the enzyme to break down lactose.

What concerns me is when people are removing lots of plant foods unnecessarily because they feel better without them and then limiting their diet without understanding what is causing the issue in the first place. Remember our gut microbiome thrives on plant foods and when we deprive them of their food they can become unbalanced and our gut can be more susceptible to inflammation.

Common Causes of Bloating

  1. Eating too quickly. Chewing food really well is the first step to help reduce bloating. Sit in a calm state and focus on chewing well and eating slowly, rather than inhaling your food. Do your best to not be distracted while you eat your meals. Try not to eat on the run, standing up or while reading your phone or computer screen if you can help it. You might be surprised how much of a difference these small changes can make.
  2. Low stomach acid is a trigger for poor digestionWhen food is not broken down sufficiently it can arrive in the intestines in a form that is still too large. Here the bacteria that inhabit the large intestine will begin to ferment whatever food is delivered to them. As gut bacteria break down the larger fragments of food they produce gas, which can lead to that uncomfortable bloated feeling
  3. Stress If you feel bloated more often at the end of the day it’s a good idea to explore stress as the cause. When we produce stress hormones this causes blood to be diverted away from digestion to your periphery so that your arms and legs are powered with a good blood supply to help you get out of danger
  4. Dehydration. When dehydrated the body may hold onto water until the next time it is needed causing the dreaded water retention that can cause not only bloating but also swelling in other parts of the body. Not staying hydrated can also lead to constipation and further digestive discomfort. It is important to drink between meals though rather than with food as this can cause further digestion issues.
  5. Constant Grazing. Taking at min 3 hour break between meals is important to allow the gut to do the housekpping wave. This is called the Migrating Motor Complex (MMC) and its job is to sweep through the small intestine, moving bacteria and food along the intestines.  The MMC kicks in after 90min of fasting so its important to space your meals out by at least three hours especially if you experiencing bloating.
  6. Gut Dysbiosis  this can occur when there is an imbalance in the number and diversity of bacteria in the microbiome in the large intestine. This can affect our health in a number of ways and often bloating is a common symptom. There are many causes of gut dysbiosis and to help support the gut to rebalance its important to work with a qualified practitioner who understands this area and can guide you on treatment. Diet and lifestyle is a huge part of correcting the balance of the gut.
  7. Small Intestinal bacteria overgrowth SIBO is a common gut condition where there is an overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine. Most of the bacteria in our gut should be located in the large intestine. Due to a number of reasons such as slow motility, stress, trauma, medication the bacteria can move into the small intestine where it ferments food. This causes gas and bloating. Again this is another area that requires working with a qualified practitioner who can guide you on the correct protocol treating the SIBO.

    If this is an area you need help with please reach out so you can start eating more foods with confidence so you feel your best.