Ansatasis Tzanis, a nutritional therapist and yoga coach
based in Hampstead, London
Guest blogger for The Belly Love Method
Bloated and unable to find the valve to release the air?
That’s how I feel every time I am bloated. However, did you know that having gas in our intestines is normal:
1. We swallow air while eating.
2. Undigested carbohydrates get fermented by bacteria in our intestines producing gas in the process. A lot of people however suffer from excessive flatulence; sometimes preventing them from engaging in daily activities.
Being a nutritional therapist when a symptom appears in the gastrointestinal (GI) track I look for the answer in the journey food takes in our body:
1. Carbohydrate digestion starts in the mouth, so proper chewing of the food gives the body enough time to secrete digestive enzymes in the saliva & small intestine. This way carbohydrates’ travel time through the GI track is reduced and fermentation minimized.
2. The stomach is where proteins are broken down. When combining high amounts of protein or fat with carbohydrates in our meals, carbohydrates stay longer in the stomach where they ferment causing gas production. For that reason avoiding simple carbohydrate consumption (such as pastries and fruit) together with big meals can help reduced indigestion and flatulence.
3. In the small intestine carbohydrates are broken down and absorption is completed. Healthy gut bacteria are necessary for this process. Each one of us has a unique bacteria profile in our gut, like a unique fingerprint. At the same time we are all susceptible to the same dangers that can harm it:
a. Consumption of foods we are intolerant. Common examples are grains and dairy, pulses, nuts, eggs and soy.
b. Poor dietary habits, such as consumption of refined carbohydrates, stimulates and hydrogenated fats.
c. Toxic overload.
d. Living a stressful life.
e. Sedentary lifestyle.
Exploring food sensitivities, consuming Pre and Probiotic food and gradually increasing fiber can all support gut health.
Due to my interest in brain health I also look at the role the brain plays in flatulence. The brain is responsible for signalling the pancreas to produce digestive enzymes. Inflammation in the brain as well as a sluggish vagus nerve function can both impair the production of digestive enzymes. The Vagus nerve is the pathway through which the brain transmits information to the digestive system.
4. Adopting an anti-inflammatory diet as well as craniosacral therapy can reduce inflammation in the brain.
5. Two simple exercises that can improved the function of vagus nerve are:
a. singing loudly.
b. doing gargles of water a couple of times a day.
By now it should be clear that relief from flatulence requires more of a lifestyle change than just taking 1 pill or avoiding 1 food.
-- Cheat sheet:
1. Supplement with digestive enzymes.
2. If you are used to drinking something during your meals let the drink of preference be warm water with lemon.
3. Make beans easier to digest by:
a. soaking them between 7 and 12 hours
b. draining them and simmering for several hours until they become soft
c. while cooking them add a pinch of baking soda or add kombu.
4. In your meals add fennel, ginger or aniseed as well as spices like: caraway, celery, thyme, marjoram, oregano, basil, cloves.
5. Use herbal teas such as peppermint, lemon balm, fennel, spearmint.
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In : Guest Blog
Tags: bloating bloated craniosacral inflammation 'anti-inflammatory nutrition' singing nutrition inflammation