Dealing With Daily Stomach Bloat

Question:  Could you please provide me with information on a supplement I could take to reduce the daily feeling of stomach bloat.  I am a 40 year old woman who works out on a daily basis but struggles with the bloating around the tummy. I stay away from dairy and try my best with sugar. Any information on products or supplements would be greatly appreciated.

Answer: Thank you for your question.  When food passes from the intestines to the colon without being completely digested first, bacteria acts on that food and produces gas in the process of breaking down the food. The stomach bloat you describe is likely caused by this buildup of gas.

A few things to consider:

1.    Work with your doctor or naturopath to rule out any digestive issues such as celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, infection (like H. pylori), allergies or intolerances to foods.  Up to 50% of people with celiac disease do not have typical symptoms – in fact, they don’t have any gastro-intestinal symptoms at all.  The important thing is to work with your doctor or naturopath to rule out these types of conditions.  If you do get tested for celiac, be sure that you “load up” on gluten-containing foods in the weeks prior to your test to avoid a false negative. You can also seek advise on supplementing with enzymes. 

2.    Chew your food well and avoid “swallowing air” while you eat.  As funny as it sounds you would be surprised how many people I have worked with that don’t chew their food adequately; gulping increases the amount of air you swallow.  Under-chewing and/or gulping can lead to digestive issues, like bloating.  

3.    Perhaps taking a probiotic supplement and enjoying foods that are a source of prebiotic will be of help.  Prebiotics (live microorganisms) and probiotics (fibres in food that act as a food source for prebiotics) support the growth and maintenance of healthy gut bacteria.  In case of probiotics, if the manufacturer states to keep it in the fridge, it is important to do so. 

Other things to consider:

•    Food such as cabbage, beans, lentils, broccoli, and cauliflower, among others, can also take a long time to digest – the longer food stays in our digestive track the more gas we produce.
•    Limit water and other beverages to outside of meal times. Some people find that drinking water at meals effects their digestion due to a dilution effect on stomach acid. 
•    Well done on limiting the amount of refined sugar in your diet!  Be aware of foods that are high in fructose and/or sorbitol (naturally occurring in dried fruit and stone fruit: apple, apricot, date, fig, nectarine, peach, plum, and raisins and added to sugar-free gum and soft drinks).  During digestion these foods increase gas production. 
•    Limit or avoid heavily carbonated drinks like soda pop.  “Naturally-carbonated” (arises from the fermentation process) foods and beverages like kefir and kombucha don’t seem to increase gas and bloating.

Thank you again for your question.  The staff at Pomme are a wealth of knowledge and are happy to help you in-store.  

Health science changes quickly.  The information contained in this material should not be misconstrued as medical advice.  Always consult with your doctor or trusted health provider to determine what is best for you.