Winter 2012 True Natural Health Magazine – Your Questions Answered
By Roger French
QUESTION: I eat a lot of bread because I am very busy and bread is a convenient food. Recently I increased my bread consumption and now bloating is a problem. What causes bloating?
This accumulation of gas in the intestines has at least half a dozen possible causes.
If carbohydrates, such as bread, breakfast cereal or pasta, are fermenting, or if proteins are putrefying, this will produce gas. Fermentation or putrefaction can result from consuming too much of a particular food, not chewing food properly or having poor combinations of foods in the one meal, such as large amounts of carbohydrates and proteins together. For example, bread combined with cheese or meat or legumes. Reducing food quantities and proper food combining should solve the problem.
Rushing meals, so common in our rat-race society, can lead to indigestion and bloating. A really effective way of relaxing before meals – especially for busy people – is to take two or three slow, deep breaths immediately before you commence eating.
Eating late in the day when digestion is starting to close down can result in poor digestion and bloating. Eating after 8.00pm, especially as late as 10.00pm, could be too late. Ideally aim to finish the evening meal at least three hours before retiring to bed, the aim being to go to sleep on an empty stomach so that sleep will be better.
Yeast infection in the form of Candida albicans is a well known, common cause of bloating. Other forms of yeast or mould can also cause it. In the case of Candida especially, the fungus feeds on sugar and the body has usually become very sensitive to yeast. The commonly prescribed answer – easier said than done, of course – is to avoid all sugary foods (including dried fruit) and avoid all foods containing yeasts or moulds, such as cheese, beer, wine, leavened bread, sprouts, peanuts, vinegar, dried fruits and the three fresh fruits that often contain mould – melons, grapes and oranges.
Soya milk or other soya products sometimes cause bloating because their enzyme inhibitors hinder our digestive enzymes. All seeds contain enzyme inhibitors, but soya beans are top of the list and peanuts probably a close second. Cooking destroys most of the enzyme inhibitors, but some remain and cause problems in sensitive people.
Eating a lot of roughage (fibre) is good for us, but if not properly chewed it may ferment and cause bloating.
A remedy for bloating is to take charcoal tablets. Charcoal works promptly because it has an enormous capacity to absorb gasses. This is, of course, treating the symptom, rather than the cause.
Digestive enzymes, purchased from health shops, etc, can be taken with meals. It is wise to take these with only one or two meals of the day, preferably the largest meal. If they are taken with every meal, the digestive system may feel redundant and begin to shut down its own enzyme production.
It may be possible to stimulate your own digestion with foods or herbs that do this, including chilli, garlic, ginger or bitter green vegetables like rocket or endive.
If bloating doesn’t respond to simple remedies, such as eating less of the offending food/s, eating more slowly or chewing more thoroughly, it may be solved by adhering closely to Natural Health Dietary Guidelines and applying food combining, which is built into these guidelines.
The guidelines are presented in detail in the Society’s book, How a Man Lived in Three Centuries, available from the Society for $18 (including postage).