What to do if you always feel bloated
If you feel bloated all the time, suffer from chronic constipation, or have heartburn, you may have a sluggish digestive system. This means that the food in your stomach and intestines is moving very slowly. The symptoms of bloating and constipation can be uncomfortable and contribute to other symptoms such as lethargy and depression.
When food moves very slowly through the digestive tract, fermentation and putrefaction occurs. Food spoilage optimizes the breeding ground for harmful bacteria. These bacteria emit metabolites that cause inflammation in the intestines. Chronic inflammation contributes to slower digestion, not to mention systemic issues like fatigue and depression. This is due to the fact that these harmful bacterial metabolites can cross the intestinal barrier, enter the bloodstream, and even cross the blood-brain barrier.
There are dietary things you can do to “tone up” your digestive system. The most important step you can take is to increase fiber. Crude fiber is found in fruits and vegetables. Fiber works the muscles of the intestines more than cooked food, thus toning the muscles. Fiber also helps collect waste as it moves through the intestines, aiding in cleansing. In addition to fiber, raw fruits and vegetables contain live enzymes that aid in the digestive process. Eating foods that demand less hydrochloric acid (HCL) helps significantly to lighten the digestive load. Animal protein uses a large amount of HCL, so modifying your protein intake will save energy and speed up digestion.
There are supplements that one can take to aid digestion. Digestive enzymes that include HCL may be helpful. Ox bile and pancreatic enzymes may also be necessary, especially as we age. Probiotics are widely used to help with constipation or diarrhea.
Optimal digestion requires a healthy nervous system and certain neurotransmitters. If your sluggish digestion is suspected to be due to insufficient nerve stimulation, energy medicine, such as acupuncture or craniosacral manipulation, can be powerful tools to aid nerve function. There are also supplements that can be taken to increase the production of serotonin and dopamine neurotransmitters.
Finally, you cannot ignore the microbiome when working with the digestive system. The microbiome is made up of all the microbes that exist in your body… the good, the bad, and the ugly. Did you know that you have more microbes than cells? Through their metabolic processes, microbes produce metabolites… some good, some harmful. Many good bacteria are essential for their friendly metabolites, such as serotonin, dopamine, and butyric acid. The goal is to optimize your internal terrain for the growth of friendly bacteria and create an inhospitable environment for the bad guys. This means minimizing fermentation and putrefaction of food in the intestine!
It is important to note that discovering the CAUSE is critical when trying to resolve your symptoms. Of course, a healthier diet will help everyone. However, to balance the microbiome and neurotransmitters, and to facilitate nerve function, more attention from a healthcare professional may be required.