We have all experienced stomach growling, which can sometimes be loud and can occur at inopportune times, such as in the middle of a meeting. However, are these growlings a harmless inconvenience, or a cause for concern?
The answer is not entirely clear-cut. A rumbling stomach can be an indication of hunger, the sound of the body digesting a meal, or, when accompanied by other symptoms, one indication of a gut in need of attention.
The ancient Greeks termed the growling stomach sound borborygmi, which translates to ‘rumbling.’ According to Mark A. W. Andrews, associate professor of physiology at the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, stomach growling can occur on a full or empty stomach, though it is often louder on an empty stomach. The sound does not always come from the stomach, but also from the small intestine.
Professor Andrews explains that stomach growling occurs when the muscles in the small intestines and stomach contract as they move food and liquid down the digestive tract. These muscular contractions are known as peristalsis, and hunger, as well as low blood sugar, can trigger them.
Eating a big meal high in carbohydrates, or high in fiber, can also cause the rumblings. As eating foods that are filled with sugar and starch can be hard on the stomach, the rumbling may be a sign of your body working overtime to digest them. In contrast, fiber is essential to the digestive system, so the rumbling may just be the sound of your body moving built-up food materials through your digestive tract, cleansing it.
If you are experiencing pain, gut spasms, flatulence, or irregular bowel function, such as constipation or diarrhea, along with your stomach rumblings, this may be a sign of irritable bowel syndrome, which may indicate that it is high time to change your diet and give your digestive system what it needs to be healthy.
Foods high in dietary fiber are necessary for a smoothly-functioning digestive tract. Raw, organic fruits and vegetables, as well as beans, are necessary to support a healthy bowel. Fiber sweeps the intestines of waste material, and keeps things running optimally.
Probiotics, also known as good gut bacteria, are essential to digestive health. They help to keep digestive organs at top functionality by stimulating your natural digestive enzymes and juices. Additionally, it is important to have enough good gut bacteria to counteract the bad bacteria which naturally lives in the gut. When the bad bacteria is in excess numbers, digestive disorders can occur. Probiotics help to keep it at bay.
One of the best probiotic food groups available is microalgae, which includes chlorella and spirulina. These algaes, which are recently receiving more media attention for their superfood properties, have been found to increase lactobacillus and bifidobacteria, both forms of good, beneficial gut bacteria.
Fermented foods also have natural probiotic properties. Organic, natural yogurt and kefir are delicious choices, and can be blended into smoothies or enjoyed on their own. Sauerkraut is another great fermented food, as is kimchi, a Korean spicy and sour fermented cabbage. You may wish to brew a batch of kombucha tea, as well.
If you are eating a healthy, organic diet, and experience occasional stomach rumblings, don’t let them bother you. However, if you frequently dine on carbs and sugar, or are experiencing digestive distress along with the rumblings, it is time to pay attention to what your gut is telling you.
-The Alternative Daily