What Causes Bloating—and Can You Fix It?

What Causes Bloating—and Can You Fix It?

digestive system diagram

 

Have you ever eaten an incredible meal, only to find you have to undo your pants to make room for your ballooning abdomen? You’re not alone. For many people, bloating is a chronic digestive issue that can range from annoying to terribly uncomfortable… and for some, it means not eating foods they genuinely like because of the discomfort it can cause.

Statistics show that bloating is a big issue for a lot of people. A recent study of more than 73,000 people in 33 countries showed that nearly 40% of adults across the world suffer from functional gastrointestinal disorders, with approximately five to 10% of the global population suffering from IBS. In the U.S., it’s estimated that 60 to 70 million people have a digestive disease, while a 2018 NIH survey of over 71,000 Americans revealed that 20.6% of respondents experienced bloating over the course of any given week, while 24.8% had abdominal pain.

But bloating isn’t just a chronic issue—it can affect otherwise healthy people, too. Approximately 10 to 25% of people complain of occasional bloating, with 10% experiencing it regularly. And while up to 75% say their symptoms are moderate to severe, only 50% of people who have bloating also have a distended abdomen. 

The good news is, bloating can be a manageable issue. But to know how to alleviate the symptoms and issues related to bloating, it helps to know what causes it.

 

What is Bloating?

It’s probably safe to say we’re all familiar with that post-Thanksgiving meal feeling of intense fullness—‘tis the season to indulge, after all. The reason why you feel that way is because the organs of your digestive system are stretched, which can contribute to gastrointestinal distress. Another factor that can encourage bloating? A sluggish digestive system that doesn’t move food through it as quickly as it should.

If you’ve ever made a change to your diet, that can also increase your chances of experiencing bloating. For example, if you suddenly start eating a lot of rich food, or switch to eating more healthily, your digestive system may have trouble adjusting to the change. There’s no denying that veggies are good for you because they’re high in insoluble fiber. But that fiber can draw fluid into your intestine to help move that food through your digestive tract, which can result in bloating. Plus, if your digestive system can’t produce the enzymes needed to break down the food you eat, it can lead to bloating.

 

What Causes Gas?

As annoying (and at times, embarrassing) as gas can be, gas is a natural byproduct of digestion. Mostly, it’s the result of fermentation that takes place when your gut bacteria digests carbohydrates. The problem comes in if there’s too much fermentation. That happens when carbohydrates aren’t naturally absorbed earlier in the digestive process before reaching your gut bacteria. It’s common for people to have an issue with digesting carbohydrates, leading to the uprising of high-protein diets as a result… but even those diets can create gas.

 

What Foods Cause Bloating?

There are the usual culprits that we shared above, like rich foods or high-carb foods that are harder to digest. Artificial sweeteners such as fructose and sorbitol can also be a contributor, as can dairy products such as cheese, eggs, and milk or milk products like ice cream.

But like we mentioned, even healthy food can cause bloating and gas. Whole grains can be difficult to digest due to its fiber content, while carbonated beverages can cause issues by introducing air into your digestive system. Fruits such as prunes and apricots can cause digestive issues due to their natural sugars, while veggies like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and other cruciferous vegetables can create the perfect conditions for bloating and gas.

Cruciferous veggies, beans and legumes all contain a non-digestible carbohydrate called raffinose, which is hard for most people’s digestive systems to process. It can pass through the stomach and small intestine undigested, so when it arrives in your large intestine, it winds up being fermented by your gut bacteria. And you know what that means…

But it doesn’t mean you have to subsist on air for the rest of your life. All you need to do is give your gut a little extra help so it can do its job—and keep you comfortable.

 

What Are Enzymes?

This is where the magic happens. Digestive enzymes can help your body break down carbohydrates, fats and proteins to help your system absorb the nutrients and move the rest through your digestive tract as needed. Everyone’s body is designed to make enzymes in the mouth, stomach and small intestine—most of them are created in the pancreas. But when the pancreas doesn’t secrete enough enzymes, your digestive system doesn’t have the support it needs to do its job. So if you’re suffering from gas and bloating even on days where you’re eating your leanest and greenest, it may be a sign your digestive system needs a little extra help.

 

How Do Enzymes Help with Bloating?

Adding enzymes to your digestive system helps break down food and keep it moving the way it should, so you don’t suffer the discomfort of gas and bloating. The key is to find a digestive supplement that features a host of different enzymes that can tackle a wide range of foods. That’s why Zhou Nutrition created Bloat Banisher with a full spectrum 12-enzyme blend. Check out the diagram below to learn more about the enzymes it includes and what they help to digest:

Bloat Banisher 12-Enzyme Blend

If you’re suffering from gas and bloating after you eat, Zhou Nutrition’s Bloat Banisher may be the helping hand your digestive system is looking for. Bloat Banisher was created to give those who suffer from occasional gas and bloating the digestive support they need—without side effects.

Vegan, gluten free, made without soy and lab verified, our full spectrum 12-enzyme blend was created to break down food and promote nutrient absorption. We also included 1 billion CFU Bacillus coagulans probiotic to support digestion and encourage a healthy microflora balance, along with artichoke leaf and ginger root extracts for added gastrointestinal support. Just a couple capsules before you eat could help free you from gastrointestinal discomfort—and bring enjoyment back to the foods you love to eat.