The battle of the bloat is a daily occurrence for many, and it can be an uncomfortable, irritating and embarrassing experience.
Some of the common causes of bloating include:
- Constipation. Hard or lumpy stools that are a strain to let go of are also signs you’re suffering from constipation.
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS. IBS occurs when your bowels are functional but work abnormally.
- Reaction to FODMAPs. FODMAP is an acronym that encompasses particular short-chain carbs including:
- Lactose intolerance. Lactose is the sugar found in milk, and many people can’t process it correctly.
- Coeliac disease. For those diagnosed with coeliac disease eating gluten will cause an immune reaction in the body which can cause bloating along with a slew of other symptoms.
- Particular foods. For many people, there are certain foods which provoke the bloat. Some common triggers are legumes like beans or chickpeas.
Habits to help beat the bloat
1. Cut down on salt
This means adding less salt to meals and also being on the lookout for processed foods which are high in sodium. This includes food in cans, packets, boxes and food in the frozen aisle. Reach for less-processed, whole foods instead.
2. Conquer constipation
Constipation can be caused by too little fluids, fibre or physical exercise. So naturally, it comes as no surprise that you should drink plenty of water, eat a high fibre diet and include plenty of physical activity in your day to avoid constipation.
3. Slow it down
Eating quickly or not chewing your food properly can lead to you swallowing air, causing bloating. Aside from avoiding bloating, eating slowly can also help you lose weight! Find out more on the benefits of slow eating in our post:
4. Ditch the gum
Just like eating too fast, chewing gum can cause you to swallow air and end up feeling bloated.
5. Find the underlying cause
As we listed at the top of the post, there are many different reasons you could be bloated. If you’re feeling bloated regularly, it is a prudent decision to investigate the cause of this. A visit to your GP is an excellent place to start.
6. Stop drinking fizzy drinks
If you’re still drinking fizzy, sugary soft drinks here is another reason to show them to the door – they may be the cause of your bloated belly! But it’s not just the sugary drinks that you have to watch out for, carbonated water (or even champagne or beer!) could also be the culprit.
7. Eat smaller meals
Eating three big meals a day may be leaving you feeling overfull and bloated. Instead, eat smaller meals more frequently.
8. Look out for ‘sugar-free’ on the label
Usually, when something is ‘sugar-free’, it is sweetened artificially which can lead to bloating.
9. Work up slowly
If you’re not used to eating beans, legumes and cruciferous veg (like broccoli or kale), you should work them into your diet slowly as they can cause you to feel bloated if your body hasn’t adjusted.
10. Sip on herbal tea
Teas such as ginger and peppermint can help beat post-meal bloat.