We’ve all been there before. You go to put on your pants and they are a bit tighter. Did you suddenly gain weight? No, you are experiencing bloating.
Bloating, it’s something we all experience at one time or another. So, why does it happen and what can we do about it?
What causes bloating?
Bloat can creep up on you for a number of reasons both internal and external. Let’s look at a few common culprits.
- The foods we consume. What, how much, and how fast we eat can cause bloating. While carbonated drinks and processed foods are the main culprits, healthy food can contribute as well.
These healthy foods are typically high in FODMAPs (Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols) that contain carbs and sugars that are difficult to process. As your body works to break down these foods they ferment and produce gas which in turn causes bloating.
- Swallowing air. This is a result of numerous habits including chewing gum, using straws to drink, and eating too fast. During these processes, a lot of air is swallowed which accumulates in the digestive tract causing uncomfortable bloating as well as constant burping.
- Food intolerance. In the digestive tract itself, one of the most common causes of bloating is food intolerance. It could be lactose intolerance, gluten sensitivity, or even egg allergies. In these cases, the body is not able to properly break down the food often resulting in a lot of gas production.
What to do when bloating creeps in.
While bloating is common, it’s not comfortable. The good news– there are both short term and long term actions you can take to help relieve the bloat.
If bloating is something you experience on a regular basis it’s best to determine the cause. Is it something you are eating, when you are eating, food intolerance, or something else? As you work through your investigation, consider utilizing some long term strategies.
- Keep a journal and note when the bloating occurs and what you were doing prior to the bloat. Once you identify the culprit you can begin to address it.
- Try a low FODMAP diet. Be sure to consider how much and how fast you eat as well.
- Increase the amount of fiber in your diet. This includes fiber-rich fruits and vegetables which in addition to providing micronutrients for gut health will offer fiber needed for optimum peristalsis (the muscle movements that push matter down through the intestine).
- Utilize a daily probiotic. Probiotics seed your gut with beneficial bacteria that can crowd out harmful bacteria that are known for producing gas which leads to bloating.
- Cut down on the salt. Water retention can cause bloating and high sodium intake is a major cause. The recommended amount per day is about 6 grams or 1 teaspoon for an adult.
- Stay active. Exercise gets things moving, literally. It makes bowel movements easier by moving things along in the colon and helps release sodium through sweating.
- Focus on overall gut health. If things aren’t moving as they should and bloating seems to be regular, your gut may need some TLC. Consider embarking on a 30-day gut reboot.
You don’t have to suffer while you work to incorporate long term solutions. There are short term actions you can take to relieve the bloat.
- Move your body. Go for a walk, or better yet, do a few yoga poses. The movement will help get your bowels moving allowing you to release the excess gas.
- Utilize digestive enzymes. Digestive enzymes help break down and digest food helping to keep things moving.
- Rub your tummy. A gentle tummy massage can get the bowels moving. All you need to do is follow the large intestine by starting right about your right hip and moving in a circular motion (right hip, up to the right rib cage, across to the left, down the left hip).
- Soak in Epsom salt. Kick back and relax in a warm Epsom salt bath. Let the stress and tension melt away. Stress reduction can help your digestive system function more efficiently.
While bloating occurs from time to time, it shouldn’t be something that you have to deal with on a regular basis. Through a little investigation and a gut health journey, you can identify the culprit and move on with your life (mostly) free of bloat.
Interested in learning a little more about gut health and embarking on a gut reboot. Come join us in our next 30 Day Gut Reboot!
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