by Donna Gates
Feeling bloated immediately after a meal or a few hours after a meal isn’t normal. But it is common.
When stomach acid is not acidic enough, food moves through the stomach partially digested. When you feel bloated, your belly swells. Sometimes there is sharp pain and cramping. Or there may be gas. If you are always bloated, it may go by unnoticed, or it could seem like a healthy part of digestion. Here’s the news: There is something you can do about it.
5 Reasons for a Bloated Belly
Get to the bottom of belly bloat by checking to see if you’ve succumbed to any of the top 5 causes of a bloated abdomen:
1. Poor Food Combining: When you sit down to a plate of food, are you seeing large pieces of animal protein mixed with bread or French fries? Instead, you should see a lot of intention on your plate. This means that you have intentionally chosen certain foods to eat, and you have intentionally chosen their quantity.
Your swollen, bloated belly could be caused by poor food combining, bacterial overgrowth, or even low stomach acid. Focusing on gut health can relieve belly bloat after each meal and improve digestive comfort.
Body Ecology teaches the Principle of 80/20, which says that 20% of your meal can be a protein, a grain-like seed, or a starchy vegetable. The other 80% should be non-starchy vegetables and ocean vegetables.
Cultured vegetables are especially valuable.
The Principle of 80/20 ensures that food moves smoothly through the digestive tract and that there are enough enzymes to assist in breaking food down into its most fundamental pieces.
2. Bacterial Overgrowth: An infection or food poisoning can inflame the gut. Even after the infection has subsided, this can slow down the movement of food through the small intestine, allowing resident bacterial communities to quickly grow.
Is bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine a good thing—even when these are probiotics or “good” bacteria? The short answer is no.
Whether bacteria are good, bad, or indifferent, no expanding community of bacteria in the small intestine is ever a good thing. You see, the environment of the small intestine is especially active, and you want to see a lot of movement. Movement means no putrefying food, no gas, no cramping, and no bloating. For this reason, a healthy small intestine is relatively clear of bacteria.
Bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine, otherwise known as SIBO, is generally treated with small doses of antibiotics. This can be effective. Also, eliminate “high-residue” foods that contain sugars that are hard to digest, such as legumes (beans), grains, nuts, and fibrous vegetables.
Add to your diet cultured vegetables and probiotic liquids.
3. Low Stomach Acid: Heartburn is often a case of too little stomach acid, rather than too much. Conventional treatment for heartburn, which includes antacid medication and over-the-counter antacids, makes this problem worse—not better.
If you have a history of heartburn, chances are that your digestion still isn’t optimal—especially if you have used antacids to combat this heartburn. As it turns out, the stomach needs to be at a low pH—or extremely acidic—in order to break down protein and ward off any troublesome bugs.
When stomach acid is not acidic enough, food moves through the stomach partially digested. This means that there is a good chance that it will putrefy in the intestines, feed bacteria, and contribute to bloating (not to mention inflammation).
Body Ecology Assist Dairy & Protein contains HCl (hydrochloric acid), which can help increase stomach acid, and enzymes that break down problematic proteins, including those found in dairy.
4. Stress: Stress, especially around mealtime, can shut down your digestive fire. All things that you need to properly digest a meal—like enzymes and stomach acid—come to a grinding halt. Instead, the body places its attention on fight or flight. Stress hormones dominate.
If you really want to get rid of belly bloat, avoid eating while driving, turn off the television, and save serious family discussions for after dinner.
5. Enzyme Deficiency: Enzymes break down large food particles into small molecules that naturally pass through a healthy intestinal wall. These are molecules that the body can easily use. When there are not enough enzymes or when these enzymes remain inactivated (this happens when gastric juices aren’t acidic enough), your digestion suffers.
Large food particles give bacterial communities a chance to grow beyond what your inner ecology can handle. This means lots of gas, bloating, and maybe some sharp pain or cramping.
Specific enzymes, called brush border enzymes, keep the small intestine clear and clean. These enzymes promote motility. When they aren’t around, everything slows down, and—you guessed it—stagnant food means more gas and more bloating.
If you think you don’t have enough enzymes to digest your meal, you can supplement with Body Ecology’s Assist Full Spectrum Enzymes. Assist Full Spectrum Enzymes have been specifically crafted to contain everything you need—including brush border enzymes—to completely digest a meal and beat belly bloat.
Donna Gates is the international bestselling author of The Body Ecology Diet, The Baby Boomer Diet: Anti-Aging Wisdom For Every Generation, and Stevia: Cooking with Nature’s Calorie-Free Sweetener. While completing her fellowship with American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine, her mission is to change the way the world eats. Over the past 25 years, Donna has become one of the most loved and respected authorities in the field of digestive health, diet, and nutrition, enjoying a worldwide reputation as an expert in candida, adrenal fatigue, autism, autoimmune diseases, weight loss and anti-aging.