Are you tired of bloating on the daily?
Let’s chat about how to fix that.
When Digestive Health Becomes a Problem
Most people experience bloating and digestive symptoms from time to time, especially following a night out on the town or a cheat day eating foods from the naughty list. Commonly, people will assume poor dietary choices and lack of exercise are responsible for their digestive upsets, and this is hugely true for a large majority of individuals. However, there are a significant number of individuals who experience bloating on a daily basis, with no idea as to why it’s happening. These are the people who can eat healthy and exercise all they want, yet by the end of the day the 6-month-pregnant look is unavoidable and the stretchy pants loose t-shirt combo rules their wardrobe.
Facing bloating and digestive symptoms on a daily basis has a significant impact on confidence and quality of life, and makes events that are considered simple and exciting to some, such as dinner parties, absolutely terrifying to others. Shame of the after-dinner belly, using the bathroom in public, or even just saying no to food without having to explain your digestive problems can leave you feeling anxious, miserable, and having to fabricate tactful white lies to avoid embarrassment.
Science Has the Answers to Help You
With millions of people experiencing bloating and digestive symptoms on a daily basis, rest assured that you are not alone on your journey, and with gastrointestinal disorders on the rise, scientific research has become increasingly geared towards gut health and potential interventions. The great news is that in recent years, many, many interventions have been tested and shown to produce significant results in either reducing or eliminating bloating and digestive symptoms. The downside however, is that this information often takes time to filter through the hands of scientists and reach the point of common practice, thus leaving many of the most successful interventions failing to be applied to those who would benefit most.
As a nutritional scientist specializing in digestive health, I get the advantage of filtering through the most up-to-date information and interventions on the topic, and even compiling them as informational resources to be used clinically. So today, I’d like to run you through the steps for finding out which interventions are best suited for you, and designing a comprehensive program for gut-repair which can eliminate bloating and digestive symptoms from your daily routine.
5 Steps to Solve Your Bloating and Digestive Issues
There are 5 steps towards solving bloating and digestive symptoms. The reason these steps are universally applicable is because they all work to identify and solve your digestive woes from the ground up, thus rebuilding a solid foundation for improving and maintaining your digestive health status, while concurrently allowing personalization at each stage.
This personalization allows identification and eradication of your problem as an individual and, if you’ve ever looked up the potential causes of bloating and realized how many disorders can manifest as this symptom (everything from menstrual cramps to ovarian cancer), you’ll definitely understand the importance of such personalization.
The 5-R Approach
1. Remove – Identify and remove underlying factors that may be contributing to your symptoms. These factors are numerous and can commonly include bacterial imbalances, adrenal hyperactivity, food sensitivities, hormonal imbalances, etc.
2. Replace – Replace the necessary elements for digestive functioning which may be lacking in your body. This could include the temporary use of particular nutrients, digestive enzymes, stomach acid, or other absent components.
3. Reinoculate – Delivering carefully selected bacterial strains using dietary alterations, food supplementation, or pre and probiotics reinoculates the gut with beneficial bacteria, in order to reinstate a healthy and balanced microbial environment.
4. Repair – Using foods which contain gut-healing nutrients such as L-glutamine, zinc and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, while simultaneously avoiding gut irritants and inflammatory triggers, allows for reparation of the intestinal lining. This step can help to reducing chronic inflammation, eliminate remaining symptoms and contribute to a life-long strategy against chronic illness.
5. Retain – Once your body is reinstating balance, retention of your newfound health status through a combination of positive activities is key for ensuring long-term success. Relaxation through positive activities such as exercise and meditation has shown to contribute to controlling biological responses such as chronic stress which can interfere with biological mechanisms. Additionally, following recommendations for healthy dietary choices and activities which you may continue throughout your lifetime helps to ensure that you will retain your positive state of health while minimizing the probability of experiencing future flare-ups.
How to Get Started
Now that you understand the 5 steps required in healing your gut and solving your bloating and digestive symptoms for good, I’m sure you’re wondering how exactly to get started.
Identification and diagnosis tends to be the most difficult step in beginning the journey towards solving your digestive issues. This is because so many problems can manifest as bloating and digestive issues, and furthermore, digestive problems can be root causes or contributors to various other, seemingly unrelated symptoms such as acne, fatigue, or even autoimmune diseases.
Knowledge of your overall health status and symptoms in combination with current dietary and lifestyle factors can provide huge indicators of where to begin. For example, floating stools may indicate issues with fat digestion, while the accompaniment of skin conditions such as rashes or urticaria may indicate histamine intolerance. This is where the knowledge of a professional can save valuable hours and agony of doing your own research from the ground up.
If however, you’ve gotten a head start on your gut knowledge and are committed to finding the answer on your own, educating yourself on biological interactions is a great way to get started and understand how your symptoms are connected. To simplify identification of such interactions, I’ve created a diagram below outlining some common symptoms and exposures that may be influencing certain symptoms of the body. Have a read through the categories, and if you can significantly identify with a greater number of information listed in a single category, this could be a good indicator of the body systems where you should begin intervening.
I hope this helps you narrow down the focus of your journey back to health – let me know what you discovered in the comments below!
Health begins in the gut,
MSc Personalized Nutrition; BSc Genetic & Molecular Biology
Personal Training Specialist; Canadian Register of Exercise and Fitness Professionals