Beat the bloat
Feeling bloated can often make us feel uncomfortable. It may also be a sign that all is not well in our digestive system. There are many reasons as to why we may feel bloated for example some women tend to get more intestinal gas and feel more bloated at certain times of their menstrual cycle or we may have an intolerance or allergy for example lactose or gluten. There are many medical reasons that may be contributing to feeling bloated and it if persists we would advise you to go to your doctor.
One common reason we may become bloated may be that we have an imbalance in the gut flora. For example, this may be due to going travelling or having a stomach bug. Constipation is another known factor in increased gas and having that bloated feeling. Interestingly densities of the well-known beneficial bacterial species Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus were observed to be lower in patients with constipation, and concentrations of potentially pathogenic bacteria and yeasts such as candida albicans may be higher. These often produce hydrogen or methane gas which contributes to making you r stomach feeling uncomfortable however the symptoms will be alleviated once this imbalance has been corrected. One way to fix this imbalance is to increase your consumption of foods that contain the beneficial bacteria, for example fermented milk products, yoghurts and also foods that promote the growth of the beneficial bacteria
Food that may help include promote the growth of beneficial bacteria may include:
• Wheat bran
As mentioned above a common problem of a bloated stomach may be maldigestion or malabsorption of carbohydrates. Unabsorbed carbohydrates in the colon act as food for bacteria, this breakdown produces hydrogen gas and short chain fatty acids. At the low end of the scale this can produce wind, and at the high end, abdominal pain and diarrhoea. Lactose intolerance is a potential culprit, as is celiac disease.
Therefore you should try and limit you intake of foods containing gluten such as barley, rye, wheat and lactose i.e. foods such as dairy foods. However it is important to remember that these foods also contain essential vitamins and minerals such Calcium, vitamins A and D therefore you should ensure that you get these from other sources in your diet.
If the above symptoms persist, you may need to seek advice from your GP or Nutritionist to get a true diagnosis.