In episode 56 of his video series, Dr. Larson discusses:
A very common complaint that many patients have is that they often feel bloated. Although many people have become very used to being bloated and just assume that it is a normal thing, there is nothing normal about feeling bloated. There are many simple fixes in eating behaviors that patients can change to stop the bloat and distension.
The first most common reason for bloating is that you aren’t chewing your food well enough. Although most people assume that digestion begins in the stomach, the first place that digestion starts is in the mouth. If you aren’t chewing your food well enough and it is reaching the stomach only partially chewed, then the stomach is going to have a hard time breaking it down. And, that can lead the food to ferment causing gas and bloating. Saliva and enzymes in the mouth are critical, so that when the food makes it way to the stomach, it can be digested. So, chew your food to the point where you are almost drinking your meal.
When food hits the stomach, it needs enough hydrochloric acid to break down and to separate the nutrients to be absorbed and digested. If you don’t have enough hydrochloric acid to break proteins and nutrients apart, not only are you not absorbing the nutrients you need, but it will lead to gas and bloating and distension and discomfort you feel after eating.
For optimal digestion, you also need to eat when you are relaxed and calm. There are two modes that the body operates under, the parasympathetic and the sympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system is the “flight or fight” response. When your body is in the sympathic neurological state, it won’t release hydrochloric acid or the pancreatic enzymes that are necessary for digestion. So, to stop the bloat, you want to eat in non-stressful situations and when you are calm or relaxed to increase nutrient intake and to prevent bloating and discomfort.
While you are transitioning to more healthy eating behaviors, it might take time, and during the transition phase, it is a good idea to take digestive supplements that contain hydrochloric acid and the necessary digestive enzymes, which are typically supplied by the pancreas. Instead of reaching for pharmaceuticals like Prilosec or H2 blockers, which can be fraught with side effects, natural supplementation is a much better choice.
The third phase of digestion happens in the small intestines. The average person can have anywhere from three to five pounds of bacteria in their colon. But, sometimes bacteria can build up in the small intestine, which can lead to a bloating sensation. If the small intestine is loaded with specific foods that contain a high sugar content or there is too much bacteria in it, the byproduct is going to be fermentation and gas. Since the bacteria will begin to eat off of food and sugar in the small intestine, it will produce either methane or hydrogen gas, which will both make your belly feel distended and bloated.
The last phase of digestion happens in the large intestine. This is where the majority of gut bacteria is found, both good and bad. For digestion to be healthiest, you need a good balance between good and bad bacteria. If you eat too much sugar or foods that contain refined grain and junk food, then that will produce hydrogen gas, which will lead to feeling bloated. To correct feelings of being bloated, you have to maintain the proper amount of good versus bad bacteria in the gut.
Before you reach for a pharmaceutical for your feelings of being bloated, try these simple eating habit alternatives that can significantly decrease your feelings of being bloated without any harmful side effects.