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Shot of a young woman suffering from stomach cramps at home

Bloated? This Could Be Why

3 MIN READ • 2nd October 2022

Feeling bloated is no fun for anyone.

Without getting too technical, symptoms of bloating are essentially a build-up of gases in the stomach or a stool that is lodged in the large intestine.

This build-up of gases can further exacerbate the lack of stool movement, making the bloating even worse. 

Need some help solving your symptoms?

May Simpkin, nutritionist and consultant to Enzymedica UK,  tells us the six key things you need to consider in the first instance when it comes to bloating: 

It all starts in the mouth

“Before food reaches the stomach, digestion has already started in the mouth.

“Chewing not only breaks down the food into smaller, more manageable pieces, but the saliva the food mixes with contains the first enzyme to ‘attack’ that mouthful.

“Salivary Amylase; an enzyme that specifically targets the carbohydrate in your meal, gets to work immediately along with the chewing action, which means that food arrives in your stomach broken down and with the carbohydrates partially digested.”

What can I do?

“Slow down and eat mindfully. The age-old advice to chew each mouthful 10-20 times before swallowing is certainly worth focusing on.

“Rather than bolting down mouthful after mouthful, take the time to enjoy your meal more mindfully.

“For example, if you’re hunched up over a desk, sit up straight to allow the food to move through more easily without being restricted, rest your cutlery in between mouthfuls and savour the textures and flavours as you chew.”

Have you switched to a plant-based diet?

“While the benefits of eating less meat and more vegetables are well documented, switching to a mainly plant based way of eating too quickly will significantly increase the amount of fibre you are eating.

“As a result, your digestive system may struggle if it’s not used to a high intake of fibre, in turn causing bloating as the food remains undigested for too long.

What can I do?

“Increase your fibre intake gradually over a few weeks, slowly adding more vegetables to each meal alongside soluble fibre foods such as beans, lentils and chickpeas.”

Your enzyme activity is compromised

“You may experience a physical reaction when you eat a certain food or food group. While you may have a food allergy, which can be established through a medical test, it is more likely that you may have a food intolerance.

“Intolerance responses, such as wind, bloating and indigestion occur if the food is not properly digested, allowing large, unprocessed food particles to pass through the digestive tract.

“This can often be due to an absence of a specific enzyme needed to break down that food, or the gut pH not being effective in the first place to activate that enzyme.

“For example, an intolerance to milk and dairy foods could be due to a lack of the enzyme lactase needed to break down and digest the milk sugar lactose.”

What can I do?

“A digestive enzyme supplement that offers a broad range of enzymes can be taken with a meal to ensure all foods are effectively digested.

“It’s important to choose a digestive enzyme supplement that includes a wide variety of different enzyme strains that work in different pH conditions, as different food groups are digested in different parts of the gut.

“I recommend Digest Complete from Enzymedica, a gentle enzyme supplement that delivers superior digestive performance throughout the entire pH range of the digestive system.”

Are you drinking enough?

“If you’re not drinking enough fluids, it’s more difficult for food to pass through your digestive system, leaving you constipated and consequently bloated.

“Staying hydrated is key, but avoid fizzy carbonated drinks, as many contain sugars or artificial sweeteners (as well as bubbles and fizz) that will result in bloating.”

What can I do?

“Increase your fluid intake by drinking more water and herbal teas; the good news is that coffee and tea do count!

“Remember, vegetables contain good amounts of water and including more soups and smoothies will also help to contribute.”

Meet the writer
Daniella Gray
Senior content writer

Daniella is senior content writer at Health & Wellbeing magazine, which combines her love for writing, food and fitness. Daniella’s love of glossy magazines began when she’d steal copies of her mum’s Marie Claire and buy the latest... Discover more

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