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Natural Remedies for Gas & Bloating

Gas and bloating are uncomfortable, and can be embarrassing, but more importantly, they're a sign from your body that something is up and needs addressing. These all-too-common digestive issues tend to show up when we aren't producing enough digestive juices, when we have imbalances in gut bacteria, or when there is fermentation of food occurring in the bowel.


Let's delve into all these factors and explore how you can find relief.

Low Digestive Enzyme Production


Aging, anxiety, alcohol abuse, improper chewing and certain medical conditions or medications can reduce the production or release of digestive enzymes, bile or HCl leading to gas and bloating. Eating mindfully and including bitter foods in your diet like rocket, radicchio, cacao, grapefruit and dandelion root tea can help. Enzyme-rich foods like papaya and pineapple or fermented foods and drinks are also very beneficial. If you need more support we recommend a bitter herbal tincture like Kiyah Bitters which works really well taken before, during or after meals to improve the breakdown of food and stop bloating and gas.


Imbalances in Gut Bacteria (dysbiosis)


Our gastrointestinal tract is home to trillions of bacteria. When the balance between different types of bacteria is disrupted, it can lead to gas and bloating. This can happen from frequent antibiotic use, a diet low in fibre and high in refined sugar or carbohydrates.


The overgrowth of bad bacteria can produce excess gas as they ferment undigested carbohydrates in your digestive tract. Probiotics, which are beneficial bacteria that come from fermented foods and drinks, can help restore balance by crowding out the harmful bacteria. You can find out how to include more of these in your diet, here.



Fermentation of Undigested Food


The bugs residing in your small intestine are constantly feeling on fibre for nourishment and keeping your digestive tract healthy. This process produces a small amount of gas as a result, but when we lack adequate enzymes, have an overgrowth of bad bacteria, suffer with food intolerances or consume too much sugar then the fermentation can get out of control.


The result? Trapped wind in your intestines activates nerves that sense the increased pressure as discomfort. This can be quite painful and it's called distension of the abdomen. If you know - you know! Again this is where bitters help but the soothing combination of herbs in Kiyah Digest-ease can be a much welcomes extra.


WHAT IS LEAKY GUT?


Leaky gut is the end result of a digestive tract in distress. Often from the combination of low enzymes, dysbiosis and fermentation that eventually damages the intestinal lining causing inflammation and tiny holes which allow undigested food particles and toxins to leak into the bloodstream. This triggers an immune response, leading to systemic inflammation, food intolerances, irritable bowel syndrome, gas and bloating.



NATURAL REMEDIES


1) Use a slow cooker or pressure cooker


These are great for meats and beans because they pre-digest the food for you and soften it for better digestion. There are so many wonderful recipes online and they're too easy - put them on in the morning and they'll be ready by the eve.

2) Avoid grazing


The time between meals where no food is present allows the gut to heal and for the wave-like muscular contractions to clean up debris and push partially-digested food through the digestive tract which means it doesn't sit so long in your gut where it could ferment.

3) Use herbal medicines


Soothing 'demulcent' or 'carminative' herbs like slippery elm, marshmallow root, peppermint, fennel and aloe vera can calm a gassy, distended belly and heal the intestinal lining. Sometimes though if bad bacteria are pathogenic we need to eradicate the overgrowth using anti-microbial herbs but to do this we need to make sure that the digestive terrain is safe. In other words, we need to make sure if we kill off the bad guys causing gas, that the digestive lining won't be further damaged or lead to the reabsorption of toxins back into the bloodstream. It's a process supported by a naturopath and something we do every week with our clients in the Kiyah Clinic. You can book the 'Heal Your Gut' package here.


4) Moderate your intake of sulphur & lactose-rich foods


While we need sulphur in the diet when the digestive tract is not working at optimal the consumption of these foods can mean an accumulation of smelly gas which is very uncomfortable. Sulfur-rich foods include meat, egg, garlic, cruciferous veggies, legumes, green leafies, grains and dried fruits preserved with sulfur dioxide. Also be conscious of sulphites found in wine, cider and beer which have the same effect.



While some people tolerate lactose OK, others don't and it's the lack of lactase enzyme which leaves lactose to ferment in the gut causing gas and bloating. Opt for coconut yoghurt, ice cream and nut bases cheese to avoid the discomfort.


5) Think about FODMAP foods


Fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols (FODMAPS) are short-chain carbohydrates that the small intestine can have difficulty absorbing.

FODMAPS can draw water into your bowel giving that bloated distended feeling and they are quickly fermented by bacteria. Now before you go removing these foods from your diet, wait a moment. FODMAP rich foods are wholefoods and should never be removed longterm. The aim should be to heal the gut so that we better tolerate them. Remember gas and bloating are a signal from your body that something else needs addressing.


6) Limit fluids around mealtime


Too much liquid dilutes stomach acid and slows digestion. This can specifically affect the digestion of proteins, leaving protein-heavy meals sitting in our stomachs for longer. Hello, fermentation! If you need some fluids while you're eating to soften your food opt for a little digestive tea like peppermint, fennel, ginger or licorice.


By nourishing your gut with a healthy diet, supporting beneficial gut bacteria, reducing inflammation, and ensuring proper digestion, you can regain control over your digestive health and bid farewell to gas and bloating. Take care of your tummy, and embrace the joy of comfortable digestion once again!



If you need one to one support and an expert to guide you on the best supplements for you, book in for your first consultation with the 'Heal Your Gut' package or make a free 10 min call to find out how natural medicine can help you.



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