Nothing makes you feel more ‘blergh’ than bloating. That uncomfortable swollen belly feeling isn’t simply down to over-indulging. It can happen when there’s a build up of liquids, gas or solids in your gut or when the food in your belly moves too slowly through your digestive system. This is caused by eating a lot of salt, drinking fizzy sodas or swallowing air when you eat too fast.
Sound familiar? If you're looking for relief, read on for some practical methods to beat the bloat.
1. Avoid carbonated drinks
Ditch the fizzy sodas! If you tend to reach for carbonated drinks (this includes sparkling water or seltzer, not just the sugar sodas) which release gas from the liquids after it reaches your stomach. Ensure you’re well-hydrated throughout the day too, since your body will try to counterbalance the effects of being dehydrated by holding on to excess water which can cause bloating.
2. Reduce cruciferous vegetables at dinner
We actually love cruciferous vegetables. But friends, they can make some of us bloat. The most common bloat-causing vegetables are broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. They contain FODMAPs – carbohydrates (sugars) that aren’t absorbed properly in the gut. You may not necessarily be suffering from FODMAPs or have issues with cruciferous vegetables – however if you’re experiencing frequent bloating, you may be suffering from a food intolerance and should check this out with your doctor.
3. Try to chill out
Easier said than done, we get it. However, stress levels affect our digestive system. When we’re stressed, we don’t get enough sleep. And when this happens, our bodies release the stress hormone cortisol. This hormone can disrupt our digestive system and cause us to bloat.
Try and switch off your phone or iPad at least an hour before bed (do not check work emails, this is an order), practice one our meditations or stretch. After all, your body is a temple, right?
4. Ease up on your legumes
Legumes such as lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans and black beans are great for our gut health and nutrition in general, but a side-effect of their goodness is gas that can cause bloating. If this is a problem for you, know that you don’t need to cut them out completely – try in small serves at a time to make them easier to digest.
5. Get moving
You don’t need to get sweaty, but just 15 minutes of light exercise after dinner can help stimulate the passage of gas through your digestive tract. A power walk around the neighborhood or one of our Centr yoga workouts should relieve any belly discomfort.
6. Spit out the gum
Your part-time gum habit may not be as harmless as you think. Many gums contain sugar alcohols (not booze related) including xylitol, sorbitol and mannitol to replace sugar. Consuming large amounts of sugar alcohols can cause digestive issues such as bloating and gas.
If you chew for fresh breath, try munching on some fresh mint instead. Or, if you’re chewing to avoid snacking or replace bad habits like smoking, switch the gum for sunflower seeds.
Whilst some gas production and bloating can be a normal part of the digestion process, it can also be a sign of something a little more serious if it persists. If you suffer from continual bloating, have a chat with your doctor.
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