There are many different reasons why a person may be bloated – most tend to assume they are just ‘getting fat’ or have a food intolerance (Wheat and dairy are a leading cause of food intolerance ) While both of these things can, and do contribute to bloating, there are many other reasons too that you may have not considered.
Bloat can feel like a constant thing, or it can spring on you out of nowhere. You might wake up feeling fabulous, and by mid-afternoon be loosening the belt on your pants and maybe even complaining of stomach aches and digestive discomfort.. It doesn’t have to be like this. Take a look at these reasons why you might be battling the bloat, and find products & strategies to beat it for good!
Although this is far more common in woman than in men, it can happen to anyone. It can be common around the time of a woman’s period due to hormonal fluctuation, having a diet too high in sodium (salt), a diet related hormone imbalance, or even a sign that you are dehydrated (when your body is low on fluids, it holds onto what it has – or, retains the fluid)
- Foods to eat that will help flush the fluids through include citrus fruit, oily fish, brazil nuts, chicken, fish and beans – also investigate your diet: do you add a lot of salt to things? Look for ways you could reduce your sodium intake.
- Taking a cranberry supplement, or even just eating cranberries helps with this, and is also fantastic for your kidneys, and to help prevent UTI’s. Make sure you get a good quality brand, and take it with a large glass of water
- Drink enough water each day - water isn’t just good for bloating, it is good for all of your body and will help with general well-being and clear skin as well as many more benefits. If you aren’t sure how much you need, try this handy guideline: you need 33mls of fluid for every kg of your weight – or just halve your weight in pounds to get the amount in fluid ounces.
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Your digestive system contains over 500 varieties of bacteria – both good and bad, however the good bacteria can often be destroyed by antibiotics or an illness, it is important to keep up your levels of good bacteria as well as making sure your digestive enzymes & stomach acid levels are all kept in check.
- Start taking a daily probiotic supplement – these are easily found in health food stores and help to promote and regenerate the levels of good bacteria, try to find one that contains both ‘bifidis bacterium’ and ‘lactobacillus’
- Try swapping your regular yoghurt for a probiotic one, they are becoming more and more common and should be available on any supermarket shelf.
- Make sure you chew your food properly – around 20 times per mouthful. This helps to break down the food properly and signal to your body to release the right digestive enzymes.
- Eat more pineapple – it is a natural source of bromelain, an enzyme that helps you to digest proteins and fats.
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When you are under a lot of stress or pressure, whether it’s at home, work or just in general – your digestive system slows right down. This is a fight-or-flight response and helps your body focus on more important things for battling the stress. The hit your digestive system takes over stress can cause discomfort as well as bloating and other symptoms.
- Try adding in some stress busting foods to your diet, things high in tryptophan and B6 are great at helping to counteract stress, anxiety and depression. See 5 foods to beat depression for a list of great foods & suggestions on how to incorporate them.
- Alter the way you eat – rather than eating large meals, try eating smaller meals and snacks but more frequently. This helps to stabilise and regulate your blood sugar levels, and keeps the stress hormones at bay.
- Find a new and relaxing hobby – Medititaion is recommended by many organisations and doctors as an excellent activity for everybody, but especially people with stress, depression or anxiety. If you don’t know what to do, try and just sit still with your eyes closed and be mindful of your body, or try a guided meditation audio that you can listen to from the comfort of your home.