Get­ting rid of that bloated feel­ing

Dr Libby tack­les com­mon prob­lems

Central Otago Mirror - - FEATURES -

Well­be­ing ex­pert Dr Libby an­swers ques­tions about how to live a health­ier life.

Each af­ter­noon I be­come in­cred­i­bly bloated and un­com­fort­able. How can I stop this from hap­pen­ing?

Bloat­ing can be caused by a num­ber of things. One of the first is stress. The pro­duc­tion of stress hor­mones causes blood to be di­verted away from di­ges­tion to your pe­riph­ery so that you are pow­ered with a good blood sup­ply and oxy­gena­tion to get out of dan­ger.

How­ever, too many peo­ple are of­ten stressed reg­u­larly due to their pace of life or per­cep­tion of pres­sure and ur­gency.

When we eat in this state there may not be an ef­fi­cient blood sup­ply sup­port­ing the di­ges­tive sys­tem.

Stom­ach acid pro­duc­tion can be com­pro­mised dur­ing stress­ful pe­ri­ods – or ev­ery day of some peo­ple’s lives – and this can com­pro­mise op­ti­mal di­ges­tive pro­cesses right from the out­set.

Think of your food as a big long string of cir­cles, or pearls on a string.

Your teeth and saliva go to work first on break­ing the cir­cles apart. Stom­ach acid then con­tin­ues that process.

Poor stom­ach acid pro­duc­tion can lead to bloat­ing.

When food is not bro­ken down suf­fi­ciently it may ar­rive in the in­testines in a form that is still too large.

Here the bac­te­ria that in­habit the large in­tes­tine will begin to fer­ment what­ever food is de­liv­ered to them, and pro­duce gas, lead­ing to the bloated feel­ing.

Proper chew­ing is the first step to help­ing re­duce bloat­ing.

Sit in a calm state and fo­cus on chew­ing your food prop­erly.

You might be sur­prised at how much of a dif­fer­ence this can make.

Ap­ple cider vine­gar or lemon juice in wa­ter be­fore meals can be help­ful help to in­crease stom­ach acid pro­duc­tion, which fur­ther helps with proper di­ges­tion of food. It is also a good idea to drink wa­ter away from meals rather than with them to max­imise the ac­tion of stom­ach acid.

Some­times bloat­ing is caused by the con­sump­tion of foods that your body can­not di­gest ef­fi­ciently.

Hav­ing done a PhD in bio­chem­istry and worked with peo­ple for 17 years, I’ve found that many peo­ple feel bet­ter af­ter the re­moval of gluten from their diet.

How­ever, if there is a food that you sus­pect may be caus­ing your bloat­ing, see a health pro­fes­sional ex­pe­ri­enced in this area and they will likely guide you to trial its re­moval for a four week pe­riod, while still en­sur­ing you ob­tain op­ti­mal nu­tri­tion. I try to eat well but am not sure what I should be in­clud­ing and ex­clud­ing from my diet?

Rather than fo­cus­ing on what to ex­clude from your diet, think about how you can in­crease the nu­tri­ent con­tent of your diet.

Fo­cus on in­clud­ing nu­tri­ent dense plant-based foods, in par­tic­u­lar. Veg­eta­bles are su­per­stars and less than 10 per cent of New Zealan­ders get the rec­om­mended num­ber of serves of veg­eta­bles each day.

Al­ter­ing this would change many peo­ple’s lives!

When it comes to food, Mother Na­ture gets it right and it is hu­man in­ter­ven­tion that can get it so wrong.

With that in mind choose foods that are as close to na­ture as pos­si­ble.

As soon as you start to in­clude more real food, you will find that your con­sump­tion and de­sire for food that doesn’t serve your health be­gins to dis­si­pate.

Email your ques­tions for Dr Libby to ask.dr­libby@fair­fax­me­dia.co.nz. Please note, only a se­lec­tion of ques­tions can be an­swered. The ad­vice con­tained in this col­umn is not in­tended to be a sub­sti­tute for di­rect, per­son­alised ad­vice from a health pro­fes­sional. Find­ing re­lief from bloat­ing may re­quire just a cou­ple of sim­ple changes at mealtimes.

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