Constantly feeling bloated and not sure what is causing it? Do you often feel tired and sluggish?
This is quite common and more often than not, it is related to the food that we eat and our overall digestive health. That fullness and swelling of the abdomen can be very uncomfortable, frustrating and even painful for some people. There are lots of dietary and lifestyle measures that you can take to beat the bloat – I will tell you all about these shortly.
What causes bloating?
There are a number of reasons why a person feels bloated and there will usually be many factors involved. Here are some of the main causes:
- Eating too fast and swallowing excess air in the process.
- Constipation – not passing a bowel motion each day can literally block you up and cause fermentation of food in the bowel.
- Food intolerances – there are lots of foods that can cause a reaction in the body that triggers certain gut-related symptoms.
- Poor digestive function and an overgrowth of ‘bad’ bacteria in the gut.
- Intestinal parasites such as Giardia and worms.
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
Foods that cause bloating
- Wheat and gluten-containing foods are notorious for causing bloating and digestive issues. These include bread, pasta, bagels, wraps, cakes and biscuits.
- Beans, legumes, lentils and chickpeas as they contain indigestible sugar molecules.
- Certain fruits and vegetables as they contain sugars and starches that may cause bloating in some people. The main culprits tend to be cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, onion, garlic and high fructose fruits such as apples, mangoes and watermelon.
- Dairy products: many people have a problem digesting either the lactose (the sugar portion) or casein (the protein portion) in dairy, and in some cases both. Some people may be able to tolerate some dairy, however this will depend on the amount of lactose and casein in it.
- Certain grains due to their indigestible fibre content.
- Artificial sweeteners such as sorbitol and xylitol. Also sugar-free chewing gum as it often contains these types of sweetener.
- High fructose sweeteners such as honey and corn syrup as they contain fructose which is a type of sugar that cannot be digested by the body.
10 Tips to Prevent Bloating
- Do a food diary. I would highly recommend doing this as it helps you to make a connection with the foods that you are eating and your symptoms. Record all the foods and beverages that you consume during the day along with any symptoms and when they are happening.
- Eat slowly and chew your food properly. Many of us have probably been guilty of eating on the run or eating whilst doing 5 other things simultaneously. This is very bad for our digestion and can lead to bloating due food being poorly digested.
- Don’t drink and eat at the same time as this reduces your ability to produce digestive juices and enzymes, and therefore your ability to effectively break down the food you are eating.
- Don’t over-eat at meal times.
- Avoid eating any foods that are known to cause bloating – try eliminating these foods for a period of time to see if it makes a difference to how you feel.
- Get checked for any food intolerances.
- Do a gastrointestinal cleanse to detoxify any parasites or harmful bacteria and re-populate the gut with beneficial bacteria (probiotics). Please speak to your healthcare provider before starting any cleanse to ensure that there are not any contraindications with any medication you may be taking.
- Start the day with some raw, organic apple cider vinegar in water (1tsp) as this has shown to improve digestion. Drink it 15 minutes before eating.
- Avoid carbonated drinks as all those bubbles can lead to trapped gas and make you feel very bloated and uncomfortable.
10. Don’t chew gum as it can make you swallow extra unwanted air that can lead to bloating.
If you found this post useful, please share it with friends and family and if you have any have great tips for bloating, share them in the comments below.
Michelle Sanchez is a qualified naturopath and nutritionist, and also runs Vitality Corner, a popular health and wellness blog. Michelle is a passionate and dedicated practitioner who believes that good nutrition and a healthy lifestyle are the key to optimum health and vitality. Her areas of expertise include hormonal health, pre-conception care, natural fertility management, digestive issues, anxiety and depression. For more information, see www.vitalitycorner.com or contact Michelle via email at [email protected].