We all dread The Bloat. Gas can be found in the stomach and intestines due to a host of issues, from malabsorption and irritable bowel syndrome to Candida and bacterial fermentation from undigested food. As a colon therapist, this is by far one of the most common problems people come in to see me about. Here’s what you need to know for a flatter stomach and, ahem, quieter digestive system:
Good Gas versus Bad Gas
Vegetables are a great way to detox, but there are many that may also cause gas. At the top of this list are cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, collard greens, and legumes. Also guilty-as-charged are onions, garlic, dried sulfured fruits, and cantaloupe. We call the gas you get from most food and vegetables “good gas.” Bad gas is from bacterial fermentation, lactose intolerance, and bad food combining.
Cruciferous vegetables pose a special case because they contain a mix of the fiber cellulose and a specific carbohydrate called stachyose, which is poorly absorbed in the small intestines, so it passes straight to the intestines where it is readily digested by bacteria, which causes bad gas. So here’s a tip for all you vegetable lovers: Switch to ghee, a clarified butter, instead of traditional butter. It’s high in butyrate acid, a short chain fatty acid, that helps counterbalance these effects.
Watch Out for Fiber
Don’t get me wrong, fiber is great, but when we add too much to our diet too fast, the digestive system doesn’t have time to adjust. This goes for any new foods too. Therefore, always be gradual when you change your diet—adding fiber, supplements, and probiotics should be done slowly to help your body adjust.
Trick of the Trade: Food Matching
Even when you are eating good food that is organic and fresh, if ingredients are poorly combined, they can cause excessive gas that can last for days and sometimes even weeks. My top tip here is this: Don’t mix your carbohydrates with your proteins; for example, rice and chicken or meat and potatoes won’t work. Instead, have carbohydrates with vegetables and meats with vegetables. Next, always wait to eat fruit until at least thirty minutes before a meal. To go deeper, don’t mix sweet fruits with acid fruits, e.g. bananas and berries, which is a perfect combination for gas combustion.
Why Nutrient Balance is Key
Nutritional deficiencies such as insufficient digestive enzymes and hydrochloric acid can also sometimes cause bloat. Taking digestive enzymes and hydrochloric acid with meals will help break them down.
Eight Easy Ways to Prevent Bloat
1. Don’t drink and eat at the same time.
2. Take smaller bites of food.
3. Don’t drink carbonated beverages.
4. No gum chewing or sucking on hard candies.
5. Reduce sugar intake, especially indigestible sugars like xylitol, sucralose, and sorbitol.
6. Don’t eat fruit after a meal, but instead 30 minutes before.
7. Avoid milk, especially if you are lactose intolerant.
8. Stop smoking. Each drag causes you to take in extra air.
10 Ways to Get Rid of Existing Bloat
1. Take digestive enzymes with a meal.
2. Take digestive enzymes between meals to eat up any leftover gas that may still be present.
3. Take probiotics to aid in any dysbiosis, a microbial imbalance in the digestive track.
4. Take L-Glutamine powder on an empty stomach to expel gas, heal the gut lining, and reduce inflammation that causes gas.
5. Taking charcoal on an empty stomach reduces gas.
6. Drink ginger, fennel, or peppermint tea. If your body temperature tends to be hot, then try peppermint. If you tend to run cold, then ginger would be better. Fennel is neutral.
7. Don’t eat late at night right before going to bed.
8. Try enemas or colonics.
9. Massage your stomach in a clockwise fashion to move trapped gas down and out.
10. Consider acupuncture. It helps to move stagnant energy that may keep gas trapped.
WORDS: Tracy Piper of The Piper Center