Based on what we see in the media, you’d be forgiven for thinking the conversation on gut health is all about getting a flat stomach or fitting into those old jeans – but there’s a neglected ailment plaguing millions of Australians. Bloating is one of the biggest symptoms of an unbalanced gut microbiome, and we’ve decided to lift the lid on this uncomfortable condition, including the causes and what you can do about it.
A whopping 50% of Aussies deal with disruptive gut issues like bloating, wind and constipation, with 1 in 7 of us battling more severe cases – so it’s no wonder so many are keen to hack their microbiome to find some relief. Bloating describes an excessively full or stretched feeling in the stomach that may also be accompanied by cramping, burping, wind, diarrhoea and constipation. The reason behind this common ailment comes down to the organs of the digestive system being stretched themselves, often as a result of gas, liquids or solids building up in the gut. But there are a few other internal workings that can cause this uncomfortable feeling, including a slow movement of food through the digestive system. You’re more likely to experience bloating if you’ve eaten a sugary or fatty meal, along with eating too fast – this can lead to swallowing air, resulting in gas and bloating.
But the types of foods we put on our plate are particularly culpable when it comes to wreaking havoc in our digestive system – and this is where the gut microbiome comes into play.
What is the gut microbiome?
The gut microbiome is a complex structure made up of trillions of bacteria – all of which have taken up residence in our gut. These bacteria influence the health of our entire body – from our heart to our brain, it’s all connected. In fact, studies show our gut bacteria can even influence the kinds of foods we crave. Creepy, we know – who would’ve thought that bacteria were calling the shots for our food choices? Fortunately, we have some control over the balance of these bacteria – our lifestyle choices, including what we eat, have a massive impact on the ratio of good to bad bacteria. It’s essential to tip the balance in our favour to protect our digestive health and reduce the risk of inflammation – both of which contribute to constipation and bloating. Here’s how to do it.
What you can do about bloating
The first step to reducing your bloating is to make a few dietary changes and get your gut microbiome back to peak condition. First, you’ll want to ditch the excess added sugars – this is the stuff you’ll find in a variety of foods, including t(but certainly not limited to!) the following:
- Commercial baked goods
- Muesli bars
- Flavoured yoghurts
- Junk food like chocolates, lollies and ice cream
- Fast food
Studies have found sugar causes higher levels of Proteobacteria, which indicates the microbiome is in disarray – also known as dysbiosis. The consequence? Bloating, among other digestive symptoms like constipation, diarrhoea and reflux. On top of this, the risk for metabolic diseases, autoimmune conditions and obesity all shoot up. With Aussies consuming up to 17 teaspoons of added sugar a day, soaring past the 6-teaspoon recommendation from the World Health Organisation, it’s no wonder so many of us are struggling with chronic bloating.
Try eating more of the following foods instead:
- Whole fruits and veggies: These are loaded with gut-boosting fibre, helping to prevent constipation and bloating. They also slow the metabolisation of sugar, reducing the risk for blood-sugar spikes that come with ultra-processed foods. But be sure to avoid fruit juice – this stuff is void of fibre! Around 83% of Aussies aren’t meeting their fibre intake needs, with research showing most of us need to boost our intake by 30% to meet that 28-gram daily target. Along with fruits and veggies, you’ll also want to load up on legumes, whole grains and nuts to get your fibre dose.
- Healthy fats: These fats are essential for helping us process nutrients like vitamins A, D and E, along with maintaining healthy blood-sugar levels and appetite regularity to get our bowels moving as they should. Foods like avocados, walnuts, eggs, olive oil and coconut milk are all loaded with these healthy fats.
- Probiotics: One of the best ways to get your gut microbiome working for you is to consume fermented foods on the regular. This is because of their probiotic content – these good bacteria play a major role in inhibiting the growth of bad bacteria and keeping your gut health in order. Fermented foods are packed with these probiotics, and you’ll find them in a range of tasty foods including yoghurt, kefir, kombucha, tempeh and miso.
Keen for more health and nutrition tips on a budget? We’re here to help. Join us for the 8-Week Program where we’ll be quitting sugar and turning our health dreams into a reality. When you sign up with us, you’ll have access to clear-cut meal plans, community support and exclusive access to our sugar-free content. Here’s what’s on offer:
- 8 weeks of meal plans and shopping lists.
- 90+ member-only recipes.
- Community forums to share your journey.
- Support and guidance from the I Quit Sugar team.
- Exclusive content from our panel of experts.
So, if you’re ready to ditch sugar and the host of maladies that come with it, it’s not too late to JOIN NOW!
Leave a comment (all fields required)