HOW TO REDUCE BLOATING AND STOP ACID REFLUX
Your body is tough, yet there are times when you feel so delicate! It’s crazy how a tiny tweak in things such as your daily activities, nutrient intake, sleep, or relationships can leave you feeling debilitated, like you can barely get through the day. The good news is, for most health challenges you encounter, there is an action you can take to reverse the discomfort and even heal the issue!
Here is one example. Do you struggle with digestive issues? You know… bloating, acid reflux, constipation, diarrhea, or food sensitivities? It may seem like a complete mystery as to why these annoyances happen and why they won’t go away. The truth is, oftentimes, these digestive issues can be managed and healed with some knowledge, and a bit of measuring and investigating.
Let’s discuss a few common types of digestive issues, what the likely causes of each are, plus how to heal and avoid them in the future.
WHY AM I ALWAYS BLOATED?
Feeling bloated can be frustrating regardless of age, gender, or situation. Bloating can lead to discomfort, a distended abdomen, and depending on the severity, can even alter one’s appearance, from the stomach to the face. Looking puffy is usually accompanied by other unpleasant symptoms such as gas, abdominal pain, and constipation. For many people, especially women, feeling bloated may negatively impact self-confidence and body image. Energetically, the gut is also the region of the Solar Plexus Chakra, which is our center for self-confidence. In a society where there is a lot of pressure to have a slim and toned appearance, feeling bloated can be a source of stress and anxiety.
Diet-related bloating is caused by one of two things, gas or water retention. Gas is often a result of dysbiosis, an imbalance in the gut. Your gut bacteria should be able to ferment beneficial fiber easily, however, when there is a lack of good bacteria or digestive enzymes, your microbiome ends up producing excess gas and drawing water into your colon. This contributes to that bloated feeling.
HOW TO REDUCE BLOATING
- Increase your intake of plant-based fiber
- Address a leaky gut
- Drink more water
- Reduce the intake of salty, canned, and processed foods
- Try supplementing with digestive enzymes- My supplement, Digest Ease, contains three digestive enzymes that help you digest food better.
WHY DO I HAVE ACID REFLUX?
Your stomach is built to handle the strength of stomach acid, which is so potent that it can dissolve metal. However, disruptions in digestion can cause the release of stomach acid in the wrong direction, leading to painful sensations in your chest known as heartburn. Specifically, the esophagus is designed to be a one-way path. Unlike your stomach, it is not lined to handle food or acids coming back up.
Many people believe that eating acidic foods and having too much stomach acid is the problem. However, the true issue often stems from having low stomach acid and digestive troubles. While reducing stomach acid levels through medication can provide temporary relief, it doesn’t address the root cause. In fact, taking acid reducing medication can alter the balance of gut bacteria, the way your food is digested and nutrients absorbed, and can increase the risk of serious infections.
There are several well-known factors that can contribute to acid reflux, including:
- Weakness of the barrier valve that separates your stomach and esophagus.
- Impaired motility of the coordinated movements designed to move food forward through your digestive system.
- Eating large or fatty meals can increase the pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), which can cause acid to reflux into the esophagus.
- Laying down after eating can make it easier for acid to flow back into the esophagus.
- Eating late at night often causes acid reflux.
- Obesity: Excess weight can put pressure on the LES, making it easier for acid to reflux into the esophagus.
- Chronic stress
- Nutrient deficiencies from malabsorption- gut health or poor diet may need to be addressed.
- Hiatal hernia: A hiatal hernia is a condition where the upper part of the stomach pushes up into the chest through a weakness in the diaphragm. This can increase the risk of acid reflux.
- Smoking and alcohol consumption: Smoking and drinking alcohol can weaken the LES and increase the risk of acid reflux.
- Certain medications: Medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and certain muscle relaxants, can weaken the LES and increase the risk of acid reflux.
STEPS TO REDUCE ACID-REFLUX
Adjusting your lifestyle, such as when you eat and how you eat, can often help relieve these issues without medication. Here is a fairly comprehensive list of practices to try:
- Reduce daily stress.
- Try exercises for opening the Heart Chakra.
- Avoid tight-fitting clothing.
- Sleep with your head elevated.
- Consistently move your body.
- Eat your last meal of the day 4 hours before bedtime.
- Increase your healthy fat intake.
- Try digestive enzymes- My supplement, Digest Ease, contains three digestive enzymes that help you digest food more efficiently.
- Add prebiotic and probiotic supplements to your daily diet.
- Enjoy a cup of ginger tea.
- Eat slowly and mindfully.
- Balance blood sugar by adjusting your lifestyle and choosing whole foods. Here are a few sugar replacements to note.
- Eat more of the following:
- Non citrus-fruits such as bananas and melons
- Kefir, probiotic-rich yogurts, kombucha, fermented vegetables
- Coconut water or other electrolyte-rich drinks
- Anti-inflammatory fats such as coconut oil, olive oil, and avocado
- Non-starchy vegetables and green leafy vegetables
- Artichokes and asparagus
- Hydrating green vegetables such as cucumbers
- Lean proteins
- Nuts and seeds
- Avoid the following:
- Citrus fruits and juices: Oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruits are high in acid and can irritate the digestive system.
- Tomato-based products: Tomatoes, tomato sauce, and salsa are acidic and can cause reflux symptoms.
- High-fat foods: Foods that are high in unhealthy fat, such as fried foods, fatty meats, and full-fat dairy products, can slow down digestion and increase the risk of reflux.
- Spicy foods: Foods with a high level of spice, such as chili peppers, can irritate the digestive tract and cause reflux symptoms.
- Caffeine and carbonated beverages: Coffee, tea, and soda can increase the production of stomach acid and worsen reflux symptoms.
RELIEVE DIGESTIVE ISSUES IMMEDIATELY
If you are experiencing symptoms of indigestion, such as bloating, discomfort, or acid reflux, there are a handful of general remedies that may help you feel better somewhat quickly.
One of the primary ways to support your digestive system is by staying well-hydrated. Every system in your body works better if you are hydrated, especially your digestive system – water helps move food through your body effectively.
If your digestive system is distressed, one of the best things you can do is to give it a break. Fasting helps your gastrointestinal system rest and rebalance. Consider taking a break from eating for up to 8-12 hours and let your system heal. If you can’t fast, stick to a very bland diet consisting of easy to digest foods.
Easy to digest foods –
- Cooked vegetables
- Cooked fruit
- Low fat yogurt (or coconut yogurt)
- Fermented foods (sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir)
- White rice
- Gluten-free crackers
- Blueberries and raspberries
- Nuts and seeds
- Bone broth
- Electrolyte drinks and water
Being careful about consuming –
- Inflammatory foods
- Raw foods
- Spicy foods
- High-fat foods
- Sugar alcohols
Also be mindful of allergens and food sensitivities (common food sensitivities include dairy, gluten, nuts, eggs, and shellfish).
I hope this explanation of digestive issues is helpful, and that you can begin to resolve the uncomfortable symptoms you or a loved one might be experiencing. For those who need further support, you can start with answering the questionnaire in my app and following one of my programs.