Three Steps to Preventing Digestive Upset

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Filed Under: Gas and Bloating
Last Reviewed 02/06/2014

Three Steps to Preventing Digestive Upset

With the holiday season around the corner, you may find that your usual healthy diet flies out the window as you're tempted with sweet or fatty foods you wouldn't normally eat. This often results in digestive upset such as gas and bloating.

If you find that this becomes an issue for you this holiday season, there are a few natural treatments I recommend:

Prioritize Protein. Excess intestinal gas is most often due to inadequate protein digestion. Protein takes a lot of hydrochloric acid from the stomach to be broken down. If there isn't enough stomach acid to break down the protein completely, it has a tendency to ferment and putrefy. When this occurs, you will have stomach bloat and excessive gas.  Here are three easy ways to help ensure proper protein digestion and get rid of gas and bloating problems:

  • Eat protein foods at the beginning of a meal. Eat salads along with or after protein foods, but never before. The carbohydrates in salads require no hydrochloric acid, but the stomach dumps all the hydrochloric acid in to begin with. Then, when the protein food (meat, fish, beans, cheese, etc.) needs acid, there is none left.

  • If changing the order of your meal isn’t enough to stop your excessive gas, you may need to take some hydrochloric acid. I always recommend betaine hydrochloride, which you can get at health food stores. One really important point to remember is to take one or two tablets after you eat, not before or during your meal. You want your stomach to produce and secrete as much acid as it can before adding the additional acid.

  • In addition to hydrochloric acid, there are dozens of digestive enzymes on the market that can help re-acidify your intestinal tract and improve your overall digestive capabilities, while helping rid you of excessive gas. A good product will include enzymes to help you digest the three main types of nutrients: proteases (for proteins), lipases (for fats), and amylases (for carbohydrates)

Try Beano. Another main reason some foods cause intestinal gas is your body's inability to digest certain complex sugar compounds (humans don't produce the necessary alpha glactosidase enzyme necessary to digest these complex sugars called oligosaccharides). When these undigested compounds reach the intestines, they begin to ferment and release gas. Beano, found at every pharmacy, can help correct this problem, as it contains an enzyme that helps breakdown these complex sugars before they reach the intestines and perform their unsociable deeds. 

Balance Your Bacteria. You can balance your intestinal flora by eating fermented foods or by taking a high-quality probiotic supplement. Be sure to boost your probiotic during this season, especially, to help prevent digestive upset.

Now it's your turn: What do you do to relieve digestive upset?

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