Bloating and gas after meals can be due to a variety of causes including multiple food allergies, poor digestion, low stomach acid, candida and parasite infections, and improper food combining.
The bloating itself is caused by gas produced by bacteria in the large bowel. The gas is caused by undigested protein, candida fermentation, or an imbalance of bacteria in the gut.
Many people have unrecognized food allergies. Delayed sensitivities to dairy, wheat, corn, soy, caffeine and sugar are common. The cheapest and most effective way to find out about your food allergies is through an elimination diet.
Dr. Ralph Golan, author of Optimal Wellness (Ballantine, 1995), suggests you make a list of foods and beverages that you eat repeatedly, that you suspect make you feel bad, and that you crave i.e. that you think you cannot do without. Then you eliminate all these foods if feasible (or two to three at a time) for 10 to 14 days.
Another simple elimination diet is to eat only fish or chicken or brown rice plus steamed vegetables for one week. Then add your other foods back, one item every two or three days.
There are also several electo-acupuncture diagnostic machines that can screen for large numbers of foods and do a computer print out listing the suspected foods. However, RAST blood tests for food allergies are the most accurate, but are only available from nutritionally orientated doctors.
A digestive stool analysis will give you much information about your digestion, absorption, bacterial balance, and intestinal function as well as the presence of abnormal bacteria, yeast or fungi. It is available through naturopathic doctors or through having your doctor call Great Smokies Diagnostic Lab at 1-800-522-4762.
Poor food combinations, especially eating fruit with other foods can lead to fermentation and gas. Fruits should always be eaten alone one-half hour before meals or two hours after meals. Check at your local health food store for a detailed food combining chart.
In addition, yeast and parasite infections are much more common than most people believe, and can cause major digestive disturbances. These infections have to be properly treated before bowel function can return to normal.
Digestion enzymes are always helpful for digestive problems. In some cases, supplemental hydrochloric acid and pancreatic enzymes may have to be prescribed. Lactobacillus acidophilus and other friendly bacteria are also necessary to reestablish a healthy balance in the bowel.
Some people do very well on a specific carbohydrate diet which eliminates all complex carbohydrates and gives the digestive system a rest. Elaine Gotschall has written about it in her excellent book entitled, Breaking The Vicious Cycle (revised, 1998).
Finally, Dr. Zoltan Rona author of Return To The Joy Of Health (Alive, 1995) suggests that a bowel detoxification programme including juice fasting, psyllium, flax seed oil and bentonite may be needed to re-establish intestinal balance. Strengthening the abdominal muscles through exercises also helps the digestive process.
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