It’s bathing suit season across America. Getting outside to a pool or the beach is one enjoyable activity that is relatively safe and still encouraged in this strange time. However, if you experience abdominal bloating, tucking yourself into a bathing suit becomes a dreaded chore. Not to mention the discomfort and potential embarrassment of excess gas and bloating!
Since gas is a broad symptom that can be part of many conditions, it’s important to determine just where the gas occurs. You also want to notice if it’s associated with other symptoms. Thinking “it’s in my stomach” or “it’s in my belly” may not offer enough information to really figure out how to overcome the discomfort. It’s worth the effort to pinpoint where the gas is located.
If the gas involves belching, bloating, or discomfort that feels higher up toward the ribs, you may be dealing with a different issue than if your lower abdomen is bloated and you are experiencing flatulence (passing gas). At the very least, excess gas production signals incomplete digestion.
One very common and often missed cause of gas and bloating is constipation.
The truth is, many people are constipated and they don’t even realize it! Let’s take a quick look at what it means to be constipated.
Definition of constipation – Mayo Clinic – Chronic constipation is infrequent bowel movements or difficult passage of stools that persists for several weeks or longer. Constipation is generally described as having fewer than three bowel movements a week.
Please note, that’s the Mayo Clinic, and by the way, most other traditional gastroenterologists talking! In my estimation, the person that experiences that degree of constipation is in a terrible, toxic situation!
Most holistic practitioners would consider the normal range of bowel movements to be one to three per day.
Since we generally eat three meals daily, that makes good sense. Ideally, with a perfectly functioning digestive system, we would empty our colons after each meal.
Even if you have one movement per day, you may still be constipated when you take into consideration the amount of feces eliminated. A daily bowel movement of approximately one and a half feet, which is about the size of the left side of the colon, would be considered normal by natural health practitioners. This may be broken up into two to three movements per day or, sometimes, in just one session.
After evaluating your own bathroom habits, if you have gas and bloating, is it possible that you may be constipated and not realize it?
While there are many reasons why we may be constipated, not surprisingly, one that is rampant in our society has to do with what we eat daily. Simply put, it’s the lack of fiber in our diet.
Fiber can be very misunderstood.
There are actually two types of fiber – soluble and insoluble.
Soluble fiber expands as it absorbs water. This bulks up the stool as it passes through the digestive tract. Known as “prebiotics”, soluble fiber can be broken down by bacteria for good purposes, however too much soluble fiber can actually increase gas and bloating.
Insoluble fiber serves to “scrub” the colon free of debris. Insoluble fiber remains intact throughout the entire digestive process and helps the stool maintain its form. This fiber also draws water into the colon through the process of osmosis, making feces softer and easier to pass.
The intestinal system is a very long muscular tube, up to 28 feet long. The stool moves along as that muscle contracts. The detailed explanation of peristalsis (movement of food through the intestinal tract) is beyond this post. Please understand that the actual type and bulk of food eaten is a primary stimulant to the muscular contractions.
How quickly the stool passes through the digestive system is called transit time. If it moves too quickly, the result is diarrhea. Too slowly, constipation. This is where the bulky fiber comes in!
In my book Fiber 35 Diet (which I wrote back in 2008! How time flies!), I recommend up to 35 grams of fiber daily, based on copious amounts of supportive research. Foods high in fiber include vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, and seeds. It’s very important that 75% of your fibrous intake is insoluble fiber, a point often missed.
That goal is not an easy one. Each day I personally consume an entire Vitamix container of fresh veggies, lemon + rinds, kale leaves + stems, whole fruits + skins along with various seeds. All those fruits and veggies only provide me with approximately 16 grams of fiber.
So how can you get the fiber you need to help you with gas and bloating, and/or constipation?
Here at Vital Planet, we have designed the perfect supplement from organic flax, pea, and hemp fibers. One serving of Vital Fiber provides you with 13 grams of primarily insoluble fiber. Nutty tasting and delicious, we are proud to help you tone your colon, bulk up your stool, support removal of toxins, and make you a happier person overall! Goodbye gas and bloating (and constipation). Vital Fiber!
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