How often do you hear yourself or friends complain about bloating? How
many of you sometimes start their day with a flat stomach and end it feeling
uncomfortable in an outfit due to gas retention.
Some food items such as gluten, lactose, fructose, wheat, cruciferous vegetables, fruits, and legumes cause gas retention; this inflates your belly making and leaves you with abdominal pain, cramps, and discomfort.
Here are a few simple strategies to help you beat the bloat
Keep a food diary to track how you feel after eating certain food items as food allergies and intolerances can cause gasses and bloating. Don’t self-diagnose and eliminate necessary food groups like healthy whole grains, calcium-rich dairy, or mineral-rich fruits and veggies. Talk to your gastroenterologist and let your doctor conduct the necessary exams. If you suspect anything, limit your intake for a specific duration of time then re-introduce it gradually until you tolerate it better.
Slow down, eat mindfully and enjoy your food! Digestion begins in the month and you can reduce bloating just by chewing your food more. When you eat quickly you may swallow air which leads to bloating. Keep in mind that your meal should last for at least 30 minutes. Eating slowly not only benefits your stomach, but also makes you eat less. So keep chewing!
Speaking of chewing…Got a Gum habit? Chewing gum leads to swallowing air which may cause bloating. Avoid chewing gum and shift to sucking peppermint candy or eating healthy, fiber-rich fruits and veggie snacks like carrots, cucumbers and celery sticks.
Avoid Sugar-Free foods. Consuming too many artificial sweeteners on their own or in artificially sweetened beverages or diet products leads to bloating.
Who said carbonated drinks can ease the bloating; that’s a big myth! Fizzy water and fizzy sugary drinks including diet ones can cause gas and bloating. Replace these drinks with flavored water by adding lemon, lime, cucumber and/or mint leaves. Choose soothing beverages like mint or ginger tea as they may help reduce bloating.
Limit Sodium intake. Processed food, containing high sodium and low fiber content, contributes to bloating. When buying processed, canned, or frozen foods, check the "Nutritional facts label"and aim for items lower than 500 mg of sodium per serving. Look for labels that claim "sodium free", "
" or "very
”. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), your daily intake should not exceed a total of 1500 mg of sodium per day.
Eat Small frequent meals. Both skipping meals and having large meals lead to bloating and discomfort. Enjoy three main meals a day with two healthy snacks in between.
Avoid constipation. Gas builds up due to constipation. Drink plenty of water, at least 6-8 glasses a day and boost your fiber intake with whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and legumes to prevent constipation. Exercising (whether 3 times a week or 10,000 steps a day) and stretching help relieve constipation as well. In fact, yoga and Pilates are great ways to de-stress and de-bloat.
Finally, there are many different factors that play a role in bloating such as certain food groups, some medications, some diseases, and stressful lifestyles. Always talk to your doctor, plan your tailored-meals with a dietitian, stay well-hydrated, and be active.