Struggling to squeeze into your skinny jeans, no matter how much you suck your tummy in? Are you maxed-out with sit-ups, but still battling the bloat? You’re certainly not alone. Up to a quarter of healthy adults suffer from regular bloating and it can be caused from both your eating habits and your emotions.
From a cosmetic point of view, most of us crave to have a flat, toned tummy, but for many people, bloating can cause huge daily discomfort, tightness, feeling overly full and perhaps most embarrassingly, it can cause excess gas.
In some cases, bloating can be the sign of an underlying health condition. Therefore, if changing your diet and reducing stress-levels doesn’t solve it, then discussing it further with a doctor would be a good idea.
Food intolerances may also be the cause. Using a food diary can be useful to help identify triggers and remove any culprits from your diet if necessary.
So why do we bloat?
When the good bacteria and yeasts that live in our guts are happy and are in balanced concentrations, then we feel great. But when these multiply out of control, they can cause bloating and poor digestion from food not getting broken down properly. When this happens, food tends to ferment and produce more gas.
Likewise, the yeasts that live in our guts thrive on refined sugars, foods that contain yeast such as bread, and fermented products such as alcohol. Yeasts produce gas, so by avoiding these products it can reduce the problem dramatically.
Want to banish the bloat for good?
The good news is, that although there are many causes of a bloated tummy, there are also many solutions. Check out these top 6 tips and watch your belly bloat disappear in no time…
1. Cut out the worst offenders
- All sugar (check the label of savoury products as these often include high levels of sugar too)
- Alcohol, vinegar, pickled products and soy sauce as these are fermented products.
- Yeast- this can be found in bread, marmite, beer and wine
- Fruit and fruit juices
- Moulds-some hard and blue cheeses, and mushrooms.
After 2 weeks, reintroduce each food group one at a time, leaving a couple of days between them. Use a food diary to identify whether a particular food triggers bloating and is therefore best avoided.
2. Increase your potassium
A high sodium diet can result in water-retention and subsequent bloating. However, with the right potassium balance this can be avoided. The more salt that you consume, the more potassium-rich foods you should include into your diet. These include tomatoes, melon, asparagus, sweet potatoes, fish, beans and yoghurt.
3. Reduce stress
Many people don’t realise that our emotions and stress levels can cause bloating and constipation. Quite simply, when you’re feeling stressed and your brain goes into ‘fight or flight’ mode, it’s natural response is to direct all it’s energy into surviving, not digesting the meal that you’ve just eaten.
Things will usually go back to normal once you feel calm again, but for people who are living with permanent high levels of stress, this can make it far more difficult for your digestive system to return to normal.
Learn to manage your stress levels. Take time out daily to relax, unwind and find your inner calm.
4. Get off the couch
If you spend your days sat at an office desk, then the chances are that your whole system will be far more sluggish than someone with a more active lifestyle.
Exercise stimulates the bowels and helps to end constipation and bloating. So get off your bum and go for a wander around the office. Volunteer to get up and make the teas, walk to work, take the stairs instead of the lift and try to add a bit more activity into your daily routine… you’ll feel a whole lot better for it.
5. Drink more water
When you feel bloated, sometimes the last thing that you feel like doing is drinking. There is a common misconception that if you’re holding onto water, then you should be drinking less of it.
Water-retention is your body’s way of holding on to water to avoid you becoming dehydrated. This is exactly the time that you need to drink MORE and fluids, not less. Try to get into the habit of sipping water regularly throughout the day, aiming to drink about 6-8 glasses if possible.
6. Avoid artificial sweeteners
Whether you get them from diet drinks or sugar-free gum, sweeteners such as aspartame and sorbitol aren’t digestible and can cause bloating. Diet drinks are often a popular choice with people who are trying to lose weight, due to the fact that they have zero calories. However, not only will they leave you feeling bloated, but they’re also associated with many health problems and can affect insulin in the same way as sugar, so are best avoided at all costs.
With love as always,
Do you have any top tips of your own that help you to beat the bloat? If so, please share in the comments section below, as we love to hear your thoughts and ideas too!
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