How to: Beat the Bloat
This is definitely a hot topic at the moment. I see so many clients, friends and family members who all say the same thing “ I’m bloated all the time, and I look like I’m 6 months pregnant…HELP”
The difficulty with this is that there are many different health issues that can cause bloating. Food intolerances, low HCL (Hydrochloric Acid) levels, overeating, eating too fast, the list is endless. So, if you do not have a nutritionist to help you, what do you do?
Well, interestingly enough, the main cause of bloating is actually found within your normal eating habits. To be more correct, your improper eating habits. This is when all those fatty meals, fizzy drinks and overeating catch up on you. What you need to do is to start focusing on what you are eating and also start listening to your body. Try and understand the foods that make you feel great and the foods that don’t. Which cause your stomach to extend and which make you feel light and lean. If we listen to our bodies we will soon understand which foods don’t really agree with us and we can then easily remove them from our diet.
Don’t expect to be in tune with your body overnight. It will take a little time. I am going to give you some easy changes that you can make right now and that should make a huge difference. Choose one to start with and if that doesn’t work, pick another. Hopefully you won’t get to the bottom of the list before you start seeing results. By the way, a really simple thing to do is to not drink any liquids with your meals. Yes, that’s a thing.
Here’s a list of the most common causes of bloating and ways to prevent it:
- Eating rich or fatty foods. This is due to the fat in the meal taking longer to process so you feel full for longer. Stick to healthy fats such as avocados, olive oils, nuts and seeds and reduce the unhealthy fats such as fast foods, heavy creams and animal fat.
- Drinking liquids with meals. This causes the stomach acids to dilute. And if we have diluted stomach acid we can’t process our food properly, and voila a distended stomach.
- Yip it’s simple. Having an excessively large meal will cause you to bloat. Stick to smaller portions and give yourself twenty minutes to feel full. That’s how long it takes for your stomach to register you’re full and to get the message to your brain. So slow down, digest your meal slowly and eat smaller meals.
- Too much gas in the abdomen. This is caused by the gastrointestinal tract not moving the gas through efficiently and causing a build up, which results in your bloated stomach. The fix is simple. Limit drinking from straws, chewing gum or drinking fizzy drinks throughout the day. All of this causes extra gas in the stomach and makes more work for the GI tract.
- Reduce foods, which commonly cause bloating. This is a big list and can be hard to do. I recommend paying attention to which foods or meals cause the bloating and slowly reduce them from your diet.. The most common bloat-inducing foods include: beans, lentils, brussel sprouts, cabbage, prunes, artificial sweetener, dairy products and whole grains.
There are foods which cause bloating and there are also foods, which prevent bloating.
These are the magical foods and herbs, which keep our digestive system moving properly and our stomachs flat:
- Lemon water. Not only is this drink delicious to wake up to in the mornings, you are actually getting your digestive juices going at the same time. Try having it 30 minutes before meals.
- Ginger, ginger, ginger. If you are not already eating ginger, start now. It is so beneficial in reducing bloating and tastes great with so many dishes. Try adding it to your smoothies, your tea or any Asian dishes.
- Limit fruit to the mornings and do not eat it on an empty stomach. Since fruit only takes 30 minutes to break down it can easily get backed up on top of other foods and then it will begin to release gas.
Lifestyle tools to prevent and reduce bloating:
- De-stress. Stress can be a huge contributing factor to bloating and it can be as simple as relaxing and taking time out to reduce bloating,
- Go for a walk or practice yoga twists. This is where you lie on your back and gently lift both legs in a 90-degree position. Then move them to one side and then the other while you look in the opposite direction. This can help to reduce any gas build up.
- Practice deep belly breathing for 5 minutes daily.
I know I have given you a huge list, but that’s because there are so many causes. The best way to go about beating the bloat is to talk to a nutritionist who can go through the methods with you and quickly work out what the cause is. Bloating can be horrible to live with, but thankfully with the help of some dietary and lifestyle changes, a solution will in most cases be found. Just remember to listen to your body and pay attention to what works and what doesn’t.
Note: If you have struggled with bloating for some time, please go and see your doctor to rule out a more serious medical condition.