Интернет-магазин DONTA

I’ve been eating probiotics for a month and I can’t believe how much it’s helped my chronic bloating

I’ve been eating probiotics for a month and I can’t believe how much it’s helped my chronic bloating

Honestly, bloating is the worst.

I remember the first time I realised that I was bloated often. It was a few years ago and I had eaten something my stomach didn’t quite agree with, causing my belly to painfully distend and feel rock hard to the touch. It wasn’t the first time this had happened, nor would it be the last.

Not every bloating was painful, but the rock hard stomach (not in a good way) and the uncomfortable feeling seemed to hit soon after every meal. I tried to cut certain foods out of my diet to see if that would help. Cutting out gluten and dairy helped a little, but not enough to give up a lifetime of bread and cheese. Cutting sugar boosted my energy but did little to help with the bloating.

It wasn’t until I started studying nutrition that I realised the answer might not be to cut something out of my diet. Instead, it could be to add something in.

You’ve probably heard of probiotics before. In food, they’re usually fermented and known as the ‘five Ks’: kimchi, kefir, kamut, kombucha, and (sauer)kraut.

“Probiotics are foods or supplements that contain live microorganisms with beneficial bacteria for our gut microbiome,” Eli Brecher, a Registered Associate Nutritionist (ANutr) and gut health specialist for ARVRA wellness tells me. “Fermented foods are a great place to start when it comes to probiotics. These include foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, tempeh and live yoghurt, as well as drinks like kombucha and kefir.”

So, like the diligent nutritional therapy student I was trying to be, I gave it a go. I started adding in kimchi and sauerkraut – unpasteurised as pasteurised takes out all the probiotic goodness – to at least one meal a day, usually on the side of an omelette.

It didn’t take long for me to notice the effects. Within a week, I was no longer bloated after every meal. Cut to now, a month later, and I can’t remember the last time I experienced any painful distention or uncomfortable bloating.

Brecher says the reason for this could be because probiotics can increase the amount of ‘good’ bacteria in the gut. “One of the possible causes of bloating is dysbiosis, meaning an imbalance of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ bacteria in the gut,” she explains. “So by adding in more ‘good’ gut bugs through probiotics, that may help outnumber the ‘bad’ bugs and in turn relieve bloating.”

However, Brecher warns that probiotics are not a universal cure-all for bloating, and can even make the issue worse in some people, and that others experience initial bloating when they start eating probiotics which calms down after a while.

This is why she recommends introducing probiotics into your diet gradually. “Plain yoghurt is an easy option,” she says. “Just make sure it contains ‘live active cultures’ as some manufacturing processes kill off the good bacteria. Aim to eat a small amount of fermented foods every day. Start with a few spoons of live yoghurt in your breakfast and a tablespoon of sauerkraut with lunch or dinner a few times a week, then build up to every day if you can.”

Aside from potentially easing bloating, some other health benefits of probiotics noted by Bercher is that they can support good gut health which can boost your immune system, hormones, skin, and mental health. “All of these are closely linked to the gut,” Bercher explains. “Probiotic supplements are often beneficial for a variety of issues, particularly to those who suffer with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), urinary tract infections and gastrointestinal issues like constipation and diarrhoea.”

So, while probiotics may not be the bloating solution for everyone, don’t knock it ‘til you try it. In the meantime, you’ll find me worshipping at the fermented food altar for the foreseeable.