|Bloating is generally the result of not being able to properly digest foods. These not-so-digested foods feel like they’re just sitting around causing discomfort and a general feeling of being stuffed and “gassy”.
It can happen at any age, but if it seems to be more frequent as you’re getting older, it can very well be because of your stomach’s reduced ability to produce enough acid for proper digestion.
Normally when we eat, cells in our stomach release more acid – which is important for so many digestive processes like breaking down foods and activating enzymes. As we age, this process can become less efficient and the result can feel like it’s wreaking havoc on the rest of the digestive system.
Unfortunately, this can have wide-ranging effects on all of our digestion abilities “downstream” and that can result in bloating.
Bloating Reason #1:
Sometimes our bodies are (or become more as we age) sensitive to the fiber in certain fruits or veggies. This can also occur when we introduce new ones into our diet as it may take a while for our body to get used to them (but don’t worry – over time, your body typically adjusts!).
Tip: Try chewing your vegetables more thoroughly, or lightly cooking or steaming raw ones.
Bloating Reason #2:
Decreased stomach acid can reduce the activation of a key protein-digesting enzyme “pepsin”. This means that the proteins you eat aren’t broken down as much and they can pass through your system somewhat “undigested”.
Tip: You may consider reducing the amount of animal-based foods you eat and see if that helps you out. Become more plant-powerful!
Bloating Reason #3:
One thing that can seriously cause bloating is when your digestive systemslows down. Then things seem to be a bit stagnant, just hanging around in there a bit (a lot?) longer than you’d like.
Ginger has been found to help with digestion and reduce nausea for certain people. And peppermint is thought to help your digestive muscles keep pushing food through, so it doesn’t stay in one spot for too long.
Tip: Consider drinking a digestive tea like peppermint or ginger. See our recipe below.
Bloating Reason #4:
All this lack of digesting in your stomach and small intestine puts extra stress on the large intestine. The large intestine is the home of all of your wonderful gut microbes that have SO many functions in the body. The problem is when undigested food enters the large intestine, it can feed the not-so-great microbes. These “unfriendly” bacteria produce waste material and gas as a part of their natural metabolism. The more of these microbes you have in your system (they will multiply if they are constantly being fed by undigested food in the large intestine) the more gas that will be produced in the large intestine.
Tip: Try eating more fermented foods. Fermented foods contain probioticswhich will feed the good bacteria and microbes in your system to keep the bad guys at bay This includes things like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi (as long as these don’t cause bloating for you!). Make sure they’re unpasteurized and contain live cultures. If you cannot tolerate dairy based yogurt and kefir dairy free options are available or you could make your own dairy free versions.
You can also consider taking a probiotic supplement. There are lots of good ones out there; here’s a brand we like.
Bloating Reason #5:
With reduced stomach acid, you also have a reduction of the “activation” of several of your digestive enzymes (protein-digesting pepsin being one of them). In order for certain enzymes to go to work digesting your food, they need to be activated. This usually happens with the assistance of stomach acid.
Tip: You may consider trying an enzyme supplement to assist your body in digesting food while you work on reestablishing your own production of stomach acid (a healthy diet and lifestyle can do this!). We take and love Juice Plus+ – which is raw fruits and veggies (fiber removed) in capsules with the living enzymes still active, aiding the digestion process. Kids are free with every adult order, so email Jess today if you’re interested in learning more.
Go ahead and give these “tips” we’ve given you in this post to see if your tummy bloat reduces. Or, maybe you’d prefer working with a practitioner on an elimination diet to get to the bottom of which foods you may be sensitive to. If so, we can recommend some great Naturopaths and Health Coaches in the area who work a lot with these issues.
In the meantime, enjoy this yummy recipe!
Recipe (Tummy Soothing Tea): Ginger Tea
Fresh ginger root (about 2”)
Lemon slices (optional)
- Pour the water into a saucepan and heat it on the stove.
- Grate the ginger root into the saucepan. Let it come to a boil, and then simmer for 3-5 minutes.
- Strain the tea into a cup with a fine mesh strainer and add lemon and/or honey as desired.
- Serve & Enjoy!
Tip: If you don’t want to use a grater and strainer then you can peel the ginger and thinly slice it into your cup before adding boiling water. The pieces should be big enough that they will sink to the bottom. Cheers!
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