- Chew properly. Yes your parents were right… chew each mouthful 20 times! Taste your food and be mindful of the flavours and sensations in your mouth, this will help you to eat more slowly and less likely to overeat which can lead to bloating. Chewing and tasting signals to your digestive system that it’s time to eat, so your gut starts to produce the acid and enzymes required to properly break down and absorb the nutrients from your food.
This is also important because saliva contains salivary amylase, the enzyme responsible for breaking down carbohydrates and sugars in your mouth before they enter your stomach and digestive system. Undigested food can also be a cause of bloating, as your gut has to work even harder to break down the components.
Chewing your food properly means you’re less likely to gulp and swallow too much air which is also a cause of bloating!
- Stay well hydrated. Drinking enough water throughout the day makes sure that your stools are soft and easier to pass, which reduces constipation and bloating whilst also reducing gassy buildups.
- Stay active! Even though it’s the holidays, keep up your 10,000 daily step count. If you don’t already, now is the time to try some light jogging, running, cycling, brisk walking (please check with your doctor before embarking on a new fitness regime).
Exercise can help to keep food and waste moving along your digestive tract, meaning you’re less likely to experience uncomfortable bloating and constipation; whilst also helping to burn off all those extracalories being consumed this time of year.
As bloating can be a sign of low stomach acid production I am going to cover this below as well! Sit tight, grab yourself a cuppa and keep reading!
The surprising cause of acid reflux and heartburn can actually be low stomach acid production!!
Why? I’ll cover some interesting facts first to put this into context.
Our stomach produces hydrochloric acid which helps to:
- Break down proteins so that they can be absorbed in the small intestine
- Absorb vitamin B12 and other nutrients
- Defend against invading bacteria and parasites in your food
- Reduces the growth of candida
Things that reduce the production of stomach acid include
- Eating on the go
- Zinc deficiency (this is a catch 22, as you need zinc produce stomach acid; and you need stomach acid to absorb zinc!)
- Overuse of certain medications such as PPIs and antacids which lower our production of stomach acid even more
- Hypothyroidism is associated with low stomach acid production
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Poor vagus nerve tone
- Age-related decline in stomach acid production means we produce less as we get older
- Try having a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar diluted in a little water 30 minute before meals. This helps to stimulate your body’s natural production of hydrochloric acid and can help to properly digest your meals.
- Sit down and take a moment to notice your eating environment, where are you sitting? Who are you with? Take 3 deep breaths just before you eat, this signals to your body that it is time to rest and digest.
- Stimulate your vagus nerve by singing and humming whilst you are cooking! Gargling also stimulates the vagus nerve, so try gargling with some water. Your vagus nerve is all about triggering your rest and digest response (rather than fight or flight when your blood is redirected from your digestive system to your muscles to help you fight or run away from danger).
If you suffer from any of these issues, you’ll be happy to know that I offer a Gut Transformation Program for £400 (including targeted supplements) which helps to rebalance the gut bacteria, heal the gut lining, restore proper acid production and help you to feel lighter, slimmer, and more regular! Previous participants have also noted feeling happier and less stressed due to the gut-brain connection. Please feel free to email me firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to transform your gut health in the new year!