Over two thousand years ago, Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, admonished us to “let food be thy medicine”. It’s advice that’s perhaps even more relevant today, given the virtual epidemic of digestive complaints we’re seeing. We’ve packed our foods with fillers, preservatives, and synthetic vitamins; grow it in an environment full of pesticides and other dangerous chemicals; and have tampered with the genetic identity of the food itself. These modifications are wreaking havoc on our digestive systems, and bloating is one of the ways our gut signals its displeasure. My basic definition of food is something that nourishes you. But most of the food in the supermarket today is anything but—and if you’re eating lots of these engineered foods, chances are you’re overfed, under-nourished, and plenty bloated.
If I took you into a chemistry lab and told you to open your mouth so I could pour beakers filled with food coloring, 1-methylcyclopropene, monosodium glutamate (MSG), sodium benzoate, sodium nitrite, and other commonly used chemicals into your stomach, you’d be horrified, but that’s what we do every day when we eat these highly processed, edible food-like substances.
It’s easy to become disconnected from food these days, when so few of us are involved in growing, harvesting, or even cooking the food we eat. But it’s impossible to separate what we’re eating from how we’re feeling, since we truly are what we eat (and what our food eats, too!). Improving your diet doesn’t fix all forms of bloating, but it’s worth seriously considering whether the food you’re eating could be contributing to your digestive problems— a notion that seems intuitive to me as a gastroenterologist.
Here are three Gutbliss tips to improve your food quality and help banish your bloat:
1). Eliminate SAD GAS foods – soy, artificial sweeteners, dairy, gluten, alcohol, and sugar. While many of these foods are enticing to your tastebuds, they are low in nutrients and often high in additives, which adds volume to your bloat and your disease risk.
2). Read the Ingredients – The ingredient lists (not the Nutrition Facts) contain all of the information you need to determine whether or not the foods you eat are high quality and nourishing. As a rule of thumb, the shorter the ingredient list, the better the food is for you… and your bloat. If there are ingredients you don’t recognize (or couldn’t stock in your kitchen at home), don’t buy it! Better yet, choose foods that don’t have an ingredient list, like whole vegetables and fruits!
3). Buy organic, non-GMO foods – This is the first step in consuming foods free of harmful pesticides and genetically modified organisms (note that all USDA certified organic foods are also non-GMO, even if they don’t wear the non-GMO label). Choose whole, organic foods with minimal ingredients that you recognize. In general, certified organic means higher quality ingredients and safer growing practices, but it doesn’t guarantee that the food is something that nourishes you. Organic processed foods can contain lots of sugar and additives, and while the sugar and additives may be organic, the nutrient richness may be non-existent. Follow the above two success secrets to ensure you’re eating nourishing, organic foods.
For more bloat-busting secrets, check out Dr. Robynne Chutkan’s new book, The Bloat Cure: 101 Natural Solutions for Real and Lasting Relief
By: Dr. Robynne Chutkan