You’ve eaten a large pizza, or a double cheeseburger and chips, and you feel as though you’ve got a food baby. Bloated? 9 times out of 10 you will be. This is what tends to follow a large portion of food, with first prize being a stomach that makes you look as though you’re 6 months pregnant, with twins. But some people, myself included, get bloated as a result of no certain food types, or because we’ve overindulged, just simply our bodies playing cruel jokes on us.
In my previous post (Social Media and Reality Distortion) I showed you guys these two pictures:
I was experiencing a bad bloat and compared pictures from 11pm one night to 7am the following morning. Evidently, it looks like a 4 months progress picture, but is just in fact a result of an intestinal condition I have called Diverticulitis. It means, amongst a list of other symptoms, that once or twice a month I get quite severe bloating. There are so many reasons why you could bloat – medical conditions aside – regardless of how fit and healthy you are, even if you work out 6 days a week, that can differ from person to person.
The first is an obvious one, overeating. When you eat a portion of food that’s bigger than your usual size, your stomach will stretch and ergo, you bloat. Secondly, eating rich and fatty food can make you feel uncomfortably stuffed. Fat takes longer to digest than protein or carbohydrates, so it keeps the stomach full longer. Avoid bloating by limiting unhealthy fats and processed foods in your everyday diet. Next, eating too fast adds to the risk of bloating after a meal. The remedy is simple – eat more slowly. A build-up of gas in your abdomen is another common cause of uncomfortable bloating, this can be a result of drinking fizzy drinks, chewing gum or sucking on boiled sweets. Also, intolerance to certain foods such as wheat, gluten or dairy could cause IBS type symptoms, so keep and eye out for commonalities amongst food groups. Lastly, hormones. These annoying little creatures that run freely in your body that change who you are on a daily basis can play a big part in being bloated. As women, periods are an obvious cause, but even subconsciously worrying or stressing about something can play havoc with your body.
So how can you ease the bloat once you’re plagued with it? Here are a few tips I find useful, as well as some I’ve collated from friends and other blog posts on the subject:
Drink Peppermint Tea – this stuff is a godsend to me when I’m bloated! It’s considered a stomach healer that can assist with IBS symptoms as well as aiding digestion and relieving stress.
Sip Water – the last thing you may want to do is consume more liquid, but this can reduce water retention and prevent constipation, both a common cause of a bloated belly.
Limit Your Salt Intake – sodium is a main cause of water retention, so think twice next time you reach for the salt shaker & be aware of salt levels in the foods you’re eating
Eat Anti-Bloating Foods – foods such as yoghurts containing probiotics, pineapple and ginger have been proved to relieve bloating symptoms. Any foods with high water content are great too e.g. watermelon, celery, grapefruit, cucumbers
Get Moving – Do some exercise; nothing strenuous, but a light walk for 20-30 minute daily will help to relieve the bloat
Cut Down on Alcohol – Alcohol causes dehydration which can cause water retention, and as mentioned before this can cause bloating. Stick to one type of alcohol, preferably something without a lot of sugar, and drink water in between
The fact of the matter is everyone will be more bloated in the evening than they are first thing in the morning! Really, you should if you have eaten properly and consumed the correct amount of water; this is around 500ml for every 10kg you weigh, but will fluctuate depending on how much activity you are doing that day. Don’t let that bother you, but do be on the lookout for changes to what you consider ‘normal’.
The better you know your body, the easier you will be able to deal with things such as bloating, and you’ll be able to notice it sooner too! Keep track of any foods or drinks that make you particularly bloated, obvious things such as wheat and dairy may mean you have to cut down on them. Oh how I miss cheese on toast…