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Nobody likes a bloated belly! However nearly every single person I see in clinic reports of feeling bloated at some point. Some people don’t even know how bloated they are until they don’t feel bloated anymore. Some patients report feeling bloated, having pain among other digestive complaints on the daily.

However you don’t have to suffer. There are many reasons why you might be feeling bloated and many ways you can fix it.

1 – Food intolerances and sensitivities.

Many clients report coming off gluten and / or dairy and report positive changes. However there are many more problematic foods that are on the rise. I see regularly soy, corn and rice (due to just swapping out wheat products to gluten free foods / alternatives) , sugar, preservatives, bananas (probably due to their daily ‘healthy’ smoothie!), coffee, coconut and a load of environmental sensitivities.  Every person is different and every test I do comes back with different foods.

Helping clients navigate through this maze is my speciality. But after we identify the food triggers we must be mindful of our diet on the whole. Make sure you don’t just swap your dairy milk for almond milk, or your daily piece of toast for gluten free. Because if we start doing that and having a certain food too much (like we often did with the first food) is that we become sensitive to that food, especially if we don’t deal with gut health. One of the most important things you can do for your gut health and health in general is eat a wide variety of food. Don’t eat the same thing every day, mix it up!!

If we continue to eat food we are intolerant to it can damage the lining of the gut and cause conditions such as leaky gut and dysbiosis.

2 – You are stressed.

You have probably heard by now there is a second brain in your gut. And the level of stress you are experiencing or the state of your mental health has a major impact on your digestive system. If you are in ‘fight or flight’ mode, even just acutely then your body ceases digestive – because that bear is chasing you!! If you are feeling stressed don’t eat heavy meals – opt for easy to digest foods like soups and slow cooked meals, never eat too late in the evening  and make sure you practise mindful breathing – which takes us to the next point.

3 – You aren’t eating mindfully.

In order to be able to digest our food properly and absorb our nutrients we need to be in a relaxed state. We live in a busy world and too many people rush from home to work, meeting to meeting, eating on the go and shovelling food into their mouths without even thinking or even remembering what they ate! If you are stressed make sure you take some good solid belly breaths before each meal to tell your body ‘its ok I’m relaxed now’. As much as you can sit down and concentrate on your food and please chew your food properly – your stomach doesn’t have teeth!

4 – You have candida or dysbiosis.

Put simply your ‘good’ bacteria has been outnumbered by your ‘bad’ bacteria. Candida albicans is a naturally occurring yeast present through our body. However problems arise when we don’t have the correct balance happening.

This arises when we are stressed, eating a diet high in sugar, refined grains and processed food. Certain medications increase your susceptibility to candida such as the contraceptive pill and antibiotics. If you have a fungal infection such as athletes foot, ‘joke itch’ a rash on your body, itchy skin, constant brain fog, weight gain, headaches and depression I would seriously speak to a naturopath or doctor. Herbs and a specific diet can help you.

5 – You have unbalanced hormones.

Have you noticed that you get more bloated around your period or ovulation? If this is the case you may need some herbs to support your hormones and liver.

If you wake up with a relatively flat stomach and it gets worse through the day its more likely food related.

Natural medicine can help you.  Gut health is a HUGE topic and more and more research is emerging around this and your unique microbiome. Simple dietary and lifestyle changes and targeted supplementation and herbs can make the world of difference.