Bloating is subject I am asked about daily by my clients. Whether it comes from foods and beverages we consume or for the ladies that ‘time of the month’ here are a few ways to help combat belly bloat on the regular:
- Eat the correct portion sizes. Smaller meals throughout the day are more easily digested.
- Chew your food thoroughly. Most of our food is broken down in the small intestine, but sometimes food moves into the colon not fully digested and is metabolized there, producing gas and causing discomfort. Chewing thoroughly will ease the amount of work your GI tract has to do.
- Limit gas-producing foods as necessary such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, beans etc. Food intolerance can prompt bloat as well, including sensitivity to the protein gluten, which is found in bread, pasta, cookies, pizza crust and many other foods containing wheat, barley or rye. Other interesting sources of gas can include legumes (beans, peas and peanuts) and Sorbitol, an artificial sweetener used in many things, including pop, candy and gum.
- Get plenty of fiber in your diet to ensure things are moving along ‘regularly’. Yep, I said it! The minimum recommended intake is 35 grams per day, optimal is closer to 35 grams per day for women and 48 grams for men. This can be achieved through vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts and seeds.
- Control the amount of fat you eat. Fat takes longer to digest than protein or carbs therefore it will make you feel fuller longer (or in this case over-full if you consume too much).
- Maintain optimal gut health by incorporating a probiotic supplement. If you do not have lactose intolerance, you might just try a yogurt with live cultures.
*** If certain foods cause bloating for you take notes of what you eat and when, you may have food intolerances or allergies which require further examination.
Ladies, this is for you! During “that time of the month”, take the natural approach to bloating with the following:
- Drink more water to reduce PMS bloating. Ironic I know but this encourages your body to release the water that it is storing so drink more water not less.
- Avoid processed foods containing refined carbs and excess salt, these foods raise blood sugar levels and encourage sodium retention.
- If you feel vulnerable don’t get on the scale, it will only make you feel worse.
Last but not least, continue to exercise but decrease the intensity of your workout if you feel a little less energetic than normal.