Banish bloating

banish bloating

Look up bloating in most medical textbooks and you will find it doesn’t exist. Various related conditions might satisfy your search for information – oedema, flatulence, colic – but not bloating. And yet 70% of women who seek help from nutritionists, and 40% of men, note that bloating is a feature, or the core, of their health problems. And the most common cause of bloating is food sensitivities.

It is not unusual for people to have morning clothes and afternoon clothes, which allow for an extra 3 or 4 inches of girth. Shoes may be bought in two sizes for good days and bad days. Whole suitcases are carried under eyes. Breasts may take on a life of their own for two, or more, weeks out of a four week cycle. Wedding rings are discarded, not due to divorce, but to swollen fingers. Bloating can involve an uncomfortable, distended feeling which does not seem to be related to any particular cause, and trapped wind which seems to have no pattern. Slim people can have the most extraordinarily swollen tummies, which go up and down with the hours of the day.

Now, with a revolutionary four-step programme, you can work out what is the cause of your bloating and work out which food sensitivities are may be causing your discomfort. Here is a summary of the four steps:

• E – Eliminate the cause

• A – Aid digestion

• S – Solve the damage

• E – Establish a healthy environment

• E – Eliminate the cause

This involves identifying and eliminating foods which are causing sensitivities or allergic reactions, foods which encourage inflammation in the digestive tract, foods which fight with each other or dealing with a possible overgrowth of the yeast Candida albicans. Here are the three most common ways to •Eliminate the cause:(Only try one measure at a time)

•Food sensitivities or allergies can lead to a wide variety of symptoms including digestive discomfort of all sorts (as well as skin complains, joint aches and headaches to name a few). The most common culprits are wheat products (bread, pasta, cake, biscuits, etc) and dairy products (milk, cheese, etc). Avoid each of these food groups for at least two weeks, to see if your symptoms are relieved, and then introduce the foods, one by one, to work out if you have any adverse reactions. Other common foods which cause problems include sugar, soya, other grains (ie rye, oats, corn, rice, etc), coffee, alcohol.

• ‘Foods which fight’ can cause endless digestive problems, and even weight gain. Some people benefit by not eating protein foods (meat, eggs, cheese, fish) with carbohydrate foods (bread, potato, rice). Vegetables can be eaten freely with either. It is worth a two week trial of avoiding these combination of foods to see if your symptoms are relieved. A typical meal would be either meat and salad/ vegetables, OR potato/rice with salad/vegetables.

• If the above two do not work for you then you may need to investigate if you have an overgrowth of the yeast Candida albicans in your gut. Candida feeds on sugars and other yeasts can promote its growth. Candida is often a problem when there is a history of repeated antibiotic use, contraceptive pill use, multiple pregnancies, or a diet high in sugar and/or alcohol. To help reduce candida overgrowth avoid foods to which you are sensitive, all sugar and alcohol and yeasty foods (most bread, many cheeses, mushrooms, vinegar, etc). Choose wholegrains, yeast-free alternatives (ie crispbreads, unleavened breads), cottage cheese and yoghurt and sugar-free foods, while eating your fill of vegetables, pulses, beans, protein foods. Most people on an anti-candida diet can happily eat fruit, but some people find that the sweeter fruit make the condition worse.

• E – Eliminate the cause is the part of the programme which requires the greatest change in dietary habits, but it also the most rewarding, and with the wide range of different foods now available the transition can be quite straightforward as long as you invest a little time in planning. You can quite quickly find relief from your symptoms and feel healthy for the first time in a while.

All the steps which follow are really just fine-tuning and building on the basic programme, and are easy to incorporate. They are, however, vital to ensure that you recover fully and do not risk slipping down the slope to health problems again.

• A – Aid digestion

Now is the time to give you digestive tract a chance to digest food efficiently by looking and when and how you eat, and if necessary using digestive aids. Here are the three best ways to AID DIGESTION:

• Chew your food. Simple thought this may sound it is vital to help ensure digestive health. The act of chewing programmes the release of the correct digestive enzymes further down the digestive tract. Along with taking more time to chew your food properly, also concentrate on making meal times as relaxed as possible, because stressful conditions will interfere with the digestion of food.

• Instead of drinking a beverage after your meal which interferes with digestion, such as coffee or very strong tea, why not experiment with some helpful herbals. Teas which promote good digestions include mint, dandelion, fennel, ginger, slippery elm and meadowsweet. Drinking 8 large glasses of water daily also promotes healthy digestion.

• If you still feel that your digestion is working below par, experiment with a course of digestive enzymes. Take two to five capsules with your meal for at least a month to see if this improves digestion. If it is helpful then continue for three-six months. Do not take digestive enzymes if you have a confirmed diagnosis of stomach or duodenal ulcers.

• S – Solve the damage

A digestive system which has been under continued assault by foods which do not agree with it will probably have sustained some damage to its basic fabric. This damage can result in malabsorption of nutrients, or excessive absorption of compounds which make food sensitivities worse. Much can be done to encourage healing of the digestive tract and, if this achieved, there is less chance that the problems will recur. Here are the three best ways to SOLVE THE DAMAGE:

• The most important measure to heal the digestive tract include continuing to avoid foods to which you are sensitive (such as wheat, dairy, yeast, etc). Alongside this it is wise to avoid substances which interrupt the healing of the gut wall. These are mainly: alcohol, aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Chronic stress also inhibits healing of the gut wall.

• Invest in a juicer. Some juices are rich in compounds which help to heal the mucus membranes lining the digestive tract. These include: – carrot (an excellent base juice and rich in beta-

carotene for healing cell walls)

  • cabbage (mix 1/4 cabbage to 3/4 other juices, and contains cabagin for healing mucus membranes)
  • pineapple and papaya (rich in enzymes which clear up dead cells in the gut)
  • red/purple berries such as blueberries and blackberries (rich in proanthocyanidins which are anti-inflammatory
  • you can also add in spices such as cinnamon, ginger and turmeric which are potent anti-inflammatory agents and healers.

• If you find that your gut wall is still not healing, and symptoms persist, you may need to consult a nutritionist about testing for parasites

• E – Establish a healthy environment

The final step is to create the right environment for continued digestive health. We want to make sure that the lodgers (bacteria) in our digestive tracts are those which respect the property, clean up their mess and leave nice flowers for their host – not the type who create mayhem! Here are the three most important steps to ESTABLISH A HEALTHY ENVIRONMENT:

• Supplement beneficial bacteria. A daily supplement of Lactobacillus Acidophilus and Bifidobacteria can help to re-establish healthy bowel bacteria. The merit of this is that they help to promote a strong immune system (leaving you less susceptible to food sensitivities) and limit the toxic by-products from unfriendly bacteria (which can damage the digestive tract).

• Make sure that you get enough fibre in your diet (from oats, brown rice, fruit, vegetables, pulses, beans, nuts and seeds). If your bowel movements are not regular then experiment with a teaspoonful or two of psyllium husks mixed in fruit juice daily. You could also use FOS (fructo-oligo-saccharides) a sugary tasting fibre which is pleasant sprinkled onto yoghurt and which promotes the growth of healthy bowel bacteria. If you are unused to a lot of fibre in your diet then add in these fibres slowly to prevent problems with wind.

• Continue to use foods which promote the growth of healthy bacteria in the bowels and make them a ‘regular’ part of your life: garlic, olive oil, live yoghurt, onions, cabbage, Jerusalem artichokes.

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