I can so relate, I used to walk around looking and feeling 4-6 months pregnant at all times!
That was until I incorporated our Ingestible Beauty range into my everyday. Pull up with our Clinical Nutritionist Katherine Hay as we discuss the links between gut health, stress, food and bloating.
Felicity Evans: We are live with Katherine Hay, who is-
Katherine Hay: We're back.
Felicity Evans: We're very fortunate to have Katherine as our clinical nutritionist here at Imbibe. So, Katherine, tell us a little bit about yourself.
Katherine Hay: Yeah. Sure. So, my name is Katherine Hay. I'm a clinical nutritionist, and I've been practicing now in clinic for over four years, and have been studying human sciences for gosh ... well it's continual, but I've studied at university for eight and a half years.
Felicity Evans: Eight and a half years.
Katherine Hay: So it's been a long journey, but I'm learning so much and continually learning, and I've actually specialized in gut health and female health.
Felicity Evans: We have received a lot of questions about digestion and bloating. It seems like a lot of you ... tell us if you agree in the comments ... are you suffering from bloating and indigestion? So could you explain why we might be suffering that, and then also what we can do about that.
Katherine Hay: Yeah. Sure. So bloating has so many contributing factors as to why we are experiencing distention in our lower abdomen, or sometimes in our upper abdomen. So it's about figuring out if there's any food related triggers. There can be many unknown ingredients that can trigger bloating, and that usually can be different groups like nightshades or brassica families.
Felicity Evans: So, what are nightshades?
Katherine Hay: Nightshades, we've got potatoes, we've got eggplant. Those are some of the major causes of bloating if you have a sensitivity, so you'd want to work with a practitioner to find out, "Do I have a sensitivity to nightshades?" A lot of FODMAP foods can cause bloating, and again, you'd want to work with a practitioner to understand which group of the FODMAP umbrella you are more sensitive to.
Felicity Evans: So, what are FODMAPs?
Katherine Hay: So, FODMAPs ... oh God, you're putting me on the spot here. So most of the FODMAP foods are high in fructose, so really high fructose. Onion, garlic can be huge ones for people, and just removing those two foods from the diet, they can see huge improvements, but also the FODMAP diet does get thrown around. It's quite restrictive, so I get really worried when people come to me and say, "I've been on the FODMAP diet for years and years." And it blows my mind because it's only a six week protocol, where you remove the high FODMAP foods and reintroduce the groups every week, throughout the six weeks, or five weeks. So, again, I don't ever put anyone on a high FODMAP diet. We just try and figure it out.
Katherine Hay: So, there's some food intolerances that can cause that distention in the lower bowel, but also ... and I think the main area that I focus on with my patients, because I hate food restriction, is looking at the bacteria in the gut. And this is what we really need to give our guts more credit more is, if that we don't have good levels of our good, friendly bacteria working for us, helping us break down and utilize the food we're eating, we get that distention and that painful, lower abdomen bloating. So, bad bacteria can cause that. There's specific bacteria strains, like Klebsiella and Citrobacter, which can cause really painful lower abdomen bloating as well.
Katherine Hay: So we really want to look at, is the gut microbiome supporting our health, or is it working against us and giving us these gut signs and symptoms? So that can be another area that we'd really want to look at. Even just having slow transit time and not being able to excrete your poo properly can cause bloating, because the toxins are just recirculating in the body, and toxins are inflammation. Inflammation causes bloating, and signs and symptoms. So it can be very basic in just not having enough fiber in the diet to get the stool moving through the digestive tract into the toilet bowl, can be another contributing factor to bloating.
Katherine Hay: And I also have to mention stress. Stress is huge when it comes to GIT signs and symptoms, so gut signs and symptoms. If we're stressed we release cortisol, which is our stress hormone, and cortisol will almost shut down our digestive capacity and our digestive function, and prepare us for fight or flight response, so that sympathetic nervous system dominance. So all our digestive juices stop working, our bacteria stop communicating properly because the body is preparing us to fight, to run-
Felicity Evans: Not to digest.
Katherine Hay: ... not to digest. So, what is the natural progression of that? Bloating. Bloating, reflux, constipation, diarrhea, depending how that manifests for you.
Felicity Evans: Sounds wonderful.
Katherine Hay: I know. So stress, guys. It could be just as simple as helping yourself get through those stressful times.
Felicity Evans: So if you were to give us some tips to help us reduce stress, what would you suggest?
Katherine Hay: So, I would think mindfulness-
Felicity Evans: Because I think all of us are stressed. Yeah.
Katherine Hay: We're all stresses. So mindfulness for me is a practice that I do daily, and gratitude, positive affirmations, doing shit that makes you happy, that's one of my big mantras if you already follow me. I'm a big believer in doing shit that makes you happy, whether that's having a soulful conversation, having a cup of tea together, going out on huge nature walks, or finding that inner thing that ignites your soul on fire, and trying to incorporate that into your day, or into your week.