Big belly, stomach bloat, IBS, and all the gassy situations. We all experience it to some degree. You would think that stomach bloating being a common nuisance, should have an easy solution.
Good luck with that! Even top health advisors are still baffled about how to beat the bloat. But nothing to worry about. By the end of this post you will be an expert on how to beat that bloated stomach.
If you have some health knowledge and want to amuse yourself, do a quick search for “how to get rid of stomach bloat”. I did. I found some innovative solutions coming from bloat experts: drink a “metabolism tea”, take an Epsom salt bath, eat a banana, or skip a protein bar.
I am not sure where these nutritional tips are coming from, but they definitely fall below sea level of gut knowledge. Yeah, imagine that your chronic gut microbiota could be fixed by a one time soak in a magnesium bath or by peeling yet another banana. It’s silly, isn’t it!
Seriously, why does your stomach bloat?
Let’s straighten things out. Stomach bloat does not come from banana shortage or from tight pants. It comes from improprieties of gut bacteria. Don’t bother with the “metabolism tea” (whatever that may be) or reshuffling those protein bars. The only way to fix the bloat permanently is to bring the gut microbiota back to proper order.
Unfortunately, this is where most expert advice falls apart.
Everyone knows that good bacteria flora comes from eating a healthy diet, which means fruits, vegetables, grains, and beans. So, there is a good chance that your health adviser, nutritionist, or dietitian will try to help your gut by focusing on those food groups.
The reasoning behind the advice is that these healthy foods have lots of fibre and fibre feeds good microbes. That sure sounds good, but the common reality is…. fruits, veggies, beans, and grains can make stomach bloat much worse.
And this is how we arrive at those “healthy” yet notorious stomach bloaters
1 – Fibre, a major pro-bloating factor
“Eat more fibre” advice for a bloated stomach may not be the smartest. Insoluble (harsh) fibre is a gut irritant, and soluble (jelly-forming) fibre may either feed the wrong bacteria or overfeed the good ones. The latter contributes to SIBO (small intestine bacteria overgrowth), one of the worst bloating nightmares.
Fibre is a two-edge sword. It is healthy for healthy guts, but not for bloated bellies. Eat-more-fibre advice may be valid for healthy stomachs, but gassy bellies would be better off without it. Regardless how those protein-rich beans soups, gallbladder-loving artichoke hearts, and cholesterol-lowering onions are good for your body, they are not good for a bloated stomach.
2 – Gluten, when grains damage the gut lining
Gluten isn’t a gut saint, even though it has been praised by bakers for its texturing ability. Don’t you love croissants? Unfortunately, gluten has been implicated in gut lining and gut flora damage. You’ve heard about celiac disease, haven’t you?
This is where confusion lies. Most people don’t realize that a person does not have to be diagnosed as celiac to be gluten sensitive. One can seem “perfectly healthy” yet show intestinal damage following a gluten meal. I think a precautionary abstinence from bagels and breads would be good until the science proves that gluten benefits exceed gluten harm.
Don’t get confused by a random advice. Regardless how much your cardiologist praises breakfast cereals and oatmeal bowls for its heart healthy benefits, ignore his well-meaning advice. Your cardiologist most likely isn’t a gut expert, so take his nutritional advice with a grain of salt. Your gut is going to be better off without a gluten bloat. See 69 Pleasures for recipes
Wheat is not the only gluten-containing grain. Among glutenous grains are also spelt, kamut, rye, barley, oats, durum, and farro.
3 – Glyphosate, a silent add-on to the menu
Anyone eating non-organic grains and beans listen up! Your chance of getting a weed-killer gut overload is very high. Glyphosate is detrimental to the gut flora and recent lab testing revealed that many cereals carry glyphosate residue far exceeding safety limit.
For example, Quaker Oatmeal Squares Honey Nut’s glyphosate level was found to be nearly 18 times above the limit, Cheerios Oat Crunch Cinnamon was 13.5 times higher, Fontaine Santé Roasted Garlic Hummus was 5 times higher, and Ritz Original Crackers was 3.5 times higher than the safety standards.
Cleaning up the pantry and trashing all glyphosate contaminated supplies may be an easy solution for some chronic bloaters. But cleaning up means getting rid of ALL non-organic grains, beans, and legumes as these are the biggest glyphosate culprits. Forget about health benefits of beans, split peas and whole wheat crackers. If they are loaded with glyphosate, they are not good for you.
4 – α-Amylase/ Trypsin Inhibitors a new gut pro-inflammatory
You may not have heard about these ones as yet, but α-Amylase/ Trypsin Inhibitors are emerging as new suspects among stomach bloaters. These inhibiting proteins are concentrated in wheat that has been bred for pest-resistance. α-Amylase/ Trypsin Inhibitors are inflammatory to the gut and guilty of an increase in IBS-like symptoms.
Now comes the challenge. Are you able to let go of that artisan bagel or that Mediterranean bruschetta flatbread you fell in love with? Darn!
5 – High FODMAP and bloat-promoting veggies
Nothing new here. Beans and cabbage are known for their ability to pop pant buttons. But for a long time, we weren’t sure what these foods had in common. Then FODMAPS (Fermentable Oligo-, Di-, Mono-saccharides And Polyols) were discovered. Now we know that plants high in FODMAP can be the most unpleasant contributors to stomach bloats.
Cauliflower, celery, and kombucha may be sitting pretty in the health aisle, but they have secretly perfected the trick of stomach distensions. Stay alert. Before committing yourself to plant-rich menu, scout out the list of plants that are into pregnancy pranks and put them on a not-to-eat list. In case of confusion, let go of anything that bloats, because bloat isn’t healthy.
6 – Fructose, because an apple a day won’t keep the bloat away
Apples & honey may be healthy, but they are the worst prescription for a bloated stomach. Stomach that bloats is frequently fructose-sensitive, so an innocently-looking date, fig, or cranberry can give sensitive guts bloating nightmares. Fructose-averse stomachs will not only gurgle, convulse, and hiss, but they may forcefully expel the content at the bottom end.
7 – Stomach bloat and histamine sensitivity
Stomach bloaters are also frequently histamine intolerant. Histamine sensitivity can explain why some people get stomach bloating after eating apparently non-bloating foods like avocado, spinach, or yogurt.
No, your digestion isn’t weird just because ketchup or pickles leave your stomach bloated. Your body may simply dislike histamine. And if it does, then you may also be able to explain post-eggplant water retention, sour cream headache, and that awful tuna itch.
7+. Time to stop that stomach bloat conundrum!
It’s getting complicated, so let’s stop right here, at number 7. It is a special number. We have lucky 7, 7 week days, 7 continents, 7 heavens, 7 wonders of the world, 7 cervical vertebrae, 7-pH, 7-eleven, and even 7-Up. Besides, most of us can focus only on 7 items. So, it’s time to stop and reveal…
A simple solution to a complicated problem
But if fibre, fructose, FODMAP, and histamine is out.. what’s there left to eat? Here is a wicked idea. How about no plants for a week or two? I mean NO plants. No salads, no bagels, no fruit bars, no mushrooms. Forget about trying different menu variations in hope to figure things out. Forget about trying out different diets, different menus, different timings. It’s futile, because plants can shape-shift. They may bloat you on Tuesday only to act perfectly nice on Thursday. Is it fair? No. But putting up a tantrum won’t change nature’s tricks.
So instead of getting angry, let’s dream nice for a moment. Would you love a totally flat stomach? No bloat, no gas, no cramps, or bathroom drama? How would it feel? How would it look?
If you like your dream and are up for some health discoveries try this: eat only fish, eggs, and meat for the next week or two. This is not a joke. Many have already tried with incredible successes. But be reasonable, if you are dependent on medication or have a condition that is incompatible with dietary changes, don’t foolishly jump on the no-plant bandwagon. Know your body. Know your limits.
If you are not for a 180-degree shift, follow the health & nutrition pyramid in the download. Once you figure out what’s the most appeasing but the least restrictive diet for your stomach, stick with it for some time.
Eventually you may want to add a good probiotic supplement. Fixing up the gut microbiota may get you into a permanent state of belly flatness. But don’t just get anything off the shelf. Don’t fall for special discounts, friend recommendation, or one of a kind deal. Be discriminate, because…
Probiotic can act as a Trojan horse
Did you know that many common probiotics can aggravate stomach bloating to the proverbial 7th degree? I urge you to check your probiotic labels right now. If you take supplements containing a popular bacterial strain L. acidiophillus, you are likely adding oil to fire. Stomach bloat, IBS, and SIBO doesn’t to well with L. acidophillus overgrowing in the small intestine.
But that does not mean you should avoid all probiotic supplements. There are some that you would likely benefit from. If you want to get the right probiotic supplement for your condition, here are your six choices:
- For hydrogen gas, short bowel syndrome and diarrhea– Saccharomyces boulardi
- For methane gas and constipation – Lactobacillus reuteri
- For simple constipation – Bifidobacterium lactis
- For abdominal pain and straining – Bifidobacterium infantis
- For bloating with diarrhea – Bacillus coagulans
- For younger generation with IBS – Lactobacillus rhamnosus
Imagine a life with a flat stomach, perfectly fitting dresses, pleasant social gatherings, absolutely silent nights, and great smelling bathrooms. That shouldn’t be just a dream, but a reality for everyone.
Bloated stomach is not just a nuisance. It is one of the first warning signs of declining health. From there leaky gut and inflammation may exert its potent influence and create a perfect environment for more serious problems: neurodegeneration, autoimmune diseases, endocrine conditions, and cardiovascular disorders.
Get your stomach flat because health is beautiful.