Authors: Naturopaths Bree Ponton and Kimberly Orbons 09/10/2015
It is not always easy to determine whether you are bloated, overweight, or both. In the majority of people trying to achieve a ‘flatter stomach’ is a common goal. A simple diet change can in fact reduce belly bloating quite quickly for some, yet others may suffer not only a ring or ‘tyre’ around the middle but suffer from a build-up of fatty tissue around their internal organs, known as visceral fat.
Understanding the cause of the problem is extremely advantageous for accomplishing the results that you desire. In some, it will be a combination of factors. Remember, what someone else swears by may not always be a good choice for you.
From food reactions to parasitic invasion, the list of digestive symptoms is vast and can affect your whole body. In order to commence your journey towards recovery, it is important to identify and understand the differences between bloating and distention.
Bloating is the feeling you get when your abdominal region is larger.
Distention is the “physical” finding that your abdominal area is larger than normal.
You can feel bloated without actually being distended. For example, if you were to eat a large meal you may feel bloated, but you are not actually distended. Many women dread the inevitable comparison to a pregnancy and this leads them to feel anxious and unhappy about their body shape, whilst men are often teased mercilessly about a ‘beer belly’. While overeating can indeed cause weight gain, many try to eat less and exercise more, only to feel exceptionally disheartened and frustrated when no improvements occur (does that sound familiar?!).
Distention is a more serious condition than bloating, and it can be caused by three different things: 1. Air; 2. Fluid; or 3. Tissue.
NATURAL REMEDIES FOR BLOATING & DISTENSION
Some of the best, most tried and true remedies for bloating and distention include:-
Apple cider vinegar (ACV).
Apple cider vinegar possesses anti-inflammatory benefits for the entire body and contains natural digestive enzymes.
Dose: Mix 1tsp of ACV into 100-200ml of water and drink approximately 10-20 minutes before meals.
Lemon juice in warm water.
Drinking lemon juice in warm water helps to acidify the stomach for protein breakdown and alkalizes the bowel for in preparation for nutritional absorption.
Dose: Squeeze 1/3 of a fresh lemon into 100-200ml of water and drink approximately 10-20 minutes before meals.
Psyllium husks with water.
Drinking psyllium husks with water is effective for treatment of both constipation and diarrhoea, and is cheap and safe.
Dose: Mix 1tsp of psyllium husks into ¾ of a glass of water and drink of a night time before bed, away from other supplements and medications.
Food intolerance screening is available for up to 96 different foods, or speak to one of our Naturopaths about which foods groups are best avoided for your current state of health. Some foods like Nightshades are highly inflammatory, and many thyroid patients find that Dairy, Gluten and Sugar are trigger foods for Hypothyroid states.
APPLE SHAPED OR TYRE AROUND THE MIDDLE
Abdominal fat and adipose tissue are commonly deposited around the belly or back as a result of endocrine or metabolic issues. Below are some of the symptoms and testing available, as the type of issue you have determines which types of treatment will be most effective:
Thyroid metabolism: cold, depressed, overweight, tired, etc. Blood testing for thyroid hormones include TSH, Free t3 Reverse T3, T4, and Hashimoto’s testing, and iodine urinalysis is also commonly used. If you are unsure whether or not these tests are warranted for you instead of just a basic TSH blood test with your GP, try coming to see us for a Thyroflex test to measure your tissue speeds and help identify whether your weight gain may be thyroid related.
Poor glucose balance: irritability, temperature changes, fluctuations in energy levels, headaches and faintness, etc. Blood testing includes HB1AC, Glucose, Insulin, and Leptins.
Adrenal Hormones: fatigue particularly of a morning, energy peaking of a night, cravings for licorice and/or salt. Blood testing is recommended for Cortisol, DHEA, and Vitamin D3.
While many fear for their health and feel self-conscious about being bloated or appearing overweight, the health hype information pushed upon us is often more strongly related to the visceral fat. That is not to say that the endocrine issues above are not serious, only that they may or may not be linked to organ fatty deposits.
Visceral fat is body fat which is stored within the abdominal cavity and is therefore deposited around several important internal organs, including the liver, pancreas and intestines. Visceral fat is sometimes referred to as ‘active fat’ because research has shown that this type of fat plays a definitive role in how our hormones function. Storing high amounts of visceral fat potentially leads to an increased risk for the development of several health conditions, including type 2 diabetes.
It is important to determine the difference between visceral fat and subcutaneous fat. Subcutaneous fat is stored just beneath the skin and can be felt with our hands. Visceral fat cannot be felt with our hands as it is stored intra-abdominally.
We recommend BIA screening because it differentiates between visceral and abdominal fat, muscle, fluid balance and bone density. This is now available within Lucy Rose clinics Australia-wide.
It is a good choice for those who want some physical assessment of their body types before completing pathology tests or as an assessment and tracking method while treating their symptoms and health.
“When experiencing digestive discomfort and/or abdominal distension, it is vital that you look deeper into these symptoms to determine how it will best be treated. In many cases, simple dietary changes may be sufficient to provide relief. However, in those who are overweight and/or storing excess fat around the abdomen, further action may be necessary, and it is important to explore the reasons for this to avoid the development of serious health issues, such as diabetes and heart disease.”
ABOUT THE AUTHORS:
Bachelor of Health Science (Naturopathy)
Throughout her life, Bree has become progressively more interested in health. More importantly, however, her opinion of the definition of true health has changed.
After beginning a career in personal training, Bree quickly grew tired of the predominantly superficial nature of the industry. Her understanding of the value and significance of having a balance within all aspects of health and hormones developed rapidly, and she began studying Naturopathy. During the years at university Bree experienced a dramatic journey, growing and changing into an health professional with a passion for her career in the health industry and Endocrinology.
Adv Dip Naturopathy, Adv Dip Western Herbal Medicine
Head Naturopath Kimberly Orbons is passionate about encouraging and empowering each person to facilitate their own good health with Nutrition, Herbal Medicine and preventative lifestyle management. Using a combination of diagnostics and symptomatology to identify the different metabolic processes contributing to disease allows her to treat the root or cause of poor health, providing relief of symptoms and long term recovery. Kimberly believes it is extremely important to build a personalized healing plan, taking all the complexities of a patient’s health and illness into consideration. Her consults have a strong focus on client care and treating each patient as an individual, and may therefore co-ordinate with other medical treatments. The goal is to establish each patient’s ability to live in the best possible state of health, naturally.
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