Bloating can really be a pain in the belly. It affects many females at the most random of times, causing discomfort and often embarrassment. So, how to avoid bloating?
There is much confusion surrounding uncomfortable and almost instantly visible bloating. Contrary to popular belief, it is not caused by weight gain or fluid retention, explains Sarah Diver, Naturopath from fusionhealth.com.au
Bloating is actually a symptom of insufficient digestive processes, decreased liver function and inadequate digestive enzymes to properly digest. “When we ingest foods we produce enzymes in the mouth and stomach which break down the foods and help us to absorb nutrients,” she explains. “If we do not have enough enzymes to break foods down then it sits in the stomach and ferments which then produces gas and fermentation and causes the stomach to bloat. This leads to flatulence and can affect bowel movements.”
Other cause of bloating is swallowing too much air, she adds. “The habits guilty of increasing the amount of air in our stomach range from eating too quickly and without pausing; knocking back drinks; sipping through a straw; smoking and relentlessly chewing gum.” She goes on to add that the simple subliminal crime of crunching sweets can be particular problematic due to the fact many are packed with artificial sweeteners – such as sorbitol – that are known to cause bloating.
However, it’s not just how we approach our plate that causes bloating, but also how we deal with life. Stress can actually cause pressure on the colon, causing spasms preventing it to behave normally. This – and the tendency to reach for fast-fix, high-fat foods when feeling chased by life– means the binge-eating, air-inhaling cycle begins.
The good news is that bloating won’t take 16 Pilates classes and a 12-week detox plan to nix. Nope, as it’s essentially an issue with the digestive tract – carbon gas travelling through the small intestine, getting trapped, producing discomfort – so with some smart moves, its simple to tackle.
Bad habits to avoid:
– Excessive portions
– Late night dinners or snacking
– Increase in takeaway foods which are high salt and sugar
– Increase in hangovers as more salty foods the next day can cause fluid retention
– Don’t drink large amounts of liquids 20 minutes prior to eating or after eating as it will dilute the digestive enzymes and reduce digestive function further, says Sarah.
– “You should only eat when you’re hungry and leave the table when you’re satisfied – not when you’re full,” she says. “You should aim to feel about 80 per cent full, so that 20 to 30 minutes later you won’t feel bloated.”
– Reduce foods such as sugar, wheat, dairy, processed and refined foods, black tea, coffee and alcohol as these may decrease the effectiveness of your digestion.