The dreaded belly bloat can be a real issue if you’ve been working hard and want to feel the effects all over your body. It can bring on a real downer but there are changes you can make to help banish the bloat for good.
Bloat is unique to the individual and there is very rarely one single specific cause. It is usually a combination of lifestyle, habits and sometimes food sensitivities or allergies.
Overeating can cause bloating and eating too fast will also make you feel uncomfortable and swollen.
Strangely, working out can be a cause of bloat, especially if you’re returning to or trying exercise for the first time. When you exercise your body enters a stressful state which triggers the release of cortisol which in turn disturbs the fluids within your body, causing it to retain water which contributes to that bloated feeling. A couple of weeks and this should be gone as your body is used to the new routine.
Bloating can be indicative of a range of medical problems too so if you are worried you should visit your GP for a full examination, especially if you experience pain alongside the bloat.
The golden rule is never to drink on an empty stomach. Also avoid carbonated alcoholic drinks and stick to low-alcohol wines and spirit mixers to help keep the bloat under control. Remember to keep your water levels up too.
They’re not for everyone but foods which are high in potassium like bananas and beetroot are a great choice for counteracting the water-retaining effects of other foods. They also counteract that exercise-induced bloat.
Salt tastes great but it is your enemy in the fight against the bloat. Cut out salty foods and you will retain less water.
Overeating is probably the most common cause of bloating, so start with smaller portion sizes if you find you are uncomfortable after eating. Try to stop eating before you are full - it is good practice to walk away from the table feeling like you could eat just that little bit more.
Eating rich and fatty foods can also make your body uncomfortable and feel overloaded.
Eating too fast can result in you swallowing more air and the bloat increasing.
A balance of good and bad bacteria in your gut will help to keep that bloat at bay. Imbalance can cause pain as well as bloating and therefore consider adding probiotics to your diet, to see if they help to minimise the bloat. Refined carbs can also result in imbalance so switch to slower-releasing whole-wheat alternatives if you can and your body will thank you.
Research has continually found links between digestive health and stress. Avoiding stresses in whatever way works for you, whether that’s exercising or a deep, indulgent bubble bath, is one way of helping to minimise any bloating.
Try following these tips and see if you can deflate yourself for good!
by Kath Webb
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