Since autumn is upon us, I’d like to talk about a topic immediately relevant to us all ... wind!
I adore autumn and living by the coast and no stranger to a blustery day but, as a herbalist, digestive wind is a problem I talk about often.
Digestive wind can be embarrassing!
Whether it comes up or down, it’s not something we want to release in polite company.
To make things worse, wind that builds up in our gut is likely to make us feel bloated, sluggish and uncomfortable.
If you struggle with wind, you may be grateful to know that it can be relatively easy to treat, you just need to work out why it’s happening.
Firstly, check that your bowels are moving regularly.
Constipation will cause flatulence the same way that traffic congestion will cause pollution.
If you struggle to empty your bowel regularly drink more water, add in extra vegetables and reduce tea and coffee. This should ensure that your stool is soft enough to move easily and be eliminated.
If you feel that you are already doing all you can with your diet, but the problem persists, take a probiotic.
I recommend a powder called NutriGut-C. It contains bowel conditioners that help to eliminate stubborn waste, as well as magnesium that strengthens the muscles of the bowel.
Magnesium is worth taking on its own if you feel like you never fully empty when you go to the toilet.
Low levels of magnesium can cause cramp, restless legs, twitchy muscles and sluggish bowel function.
You may not feel the urge to go, despite getting a lot of wind and passing only small amounts of soft stools.
If your bowel is sluggish, that’s likely the cause of your wind problem.
You don’t need to be constipated to be windy though.
Gas is usually caused by the mechanisms that occur during food digestion.
This is completely natural and certain foods like beans and brussel sprouts (the usual culprits!) will produce a more unpleasant gas than others.
If the wind comes up more than it goes down, it may be because you’re not digesting your food as well as you should be.
If your digestion is compromised, you will be left feeling bloated after meals and the gas that makes your tummy swell will eventually work its way out, whether upwards, downwards or both.
Resolving this type of poor digestion doesn’t just leave you feeling more comfortable after meals, it will also ensure that you are getting the most out of the nutrients you are putting into your body.
This is especially important for people who use antacids like Gaviscon, Rennies, Ompeprazole, Lanzoprazole and Ranitidine.
These medicines change the acid balance in your stomach to protect the stomach walls and reduce the symptoms of heartburn.
This change in stomach acidity can have a big impact on your absorption of nutrients and affect how well your foods are being broken down.
Bloating, gas and embarrassing wind can be resolved fairly quickly by using a digestive enzyme.
If you think that you’re not getting the most from your food, add an enzyme in for a few days and see if things improve.
They work immediately, so there’s no waiting for weeks to see improvements.
I choose a remedy called Digestizyme, it’s made by Lamberts, a British company known for supplying nutritionists.
It can be used regularly, to improve overall digestion or it can be used on an as and when basis, when you’re faced with a rich meal. An enzyme should help to stop that bloated, drowsy feeling after eating - a sign that your digestion is needing to work extra hard.
With a bit of assistance, you can banish the subject of wind to conversations about the weather.
Don’t settle for poor digestion that leaves you feeling gassy.
Something like Digestizyme or the NutriGut-C can resolve these problems in as little as a few days, getting to the root of things, rather than just masking the symptoms.
If you’re local to my practice, we give out free booklets on digestion to anyone interested in improving their digestive health.
After all, we are what we eat.
For more information on these topics, contact Nicola at Health and Herbs on 01524 413733.