Bloating has to be the most common gut symptom we hear people report. And this isn’t surprising – because bloating is NORMAL.
You eat, food travels down via the oesophagus, gets tossed around in your tum and makes its way to your small and then large intestine where your gut bacteria have a feeding frenzy (providing you supplied them with their favourite food – fibre). These gut bacteria also produce gas as a byproduct of their meal times (whilst they produce other compounds that benefit your health!).
So… we’ve got a bunch of organs, some food in the mix, and some unashamedly gassy gut bacteria. It’s all gotta go somewhere – and you’re going to see it! If you have a smaller frame or a bigger meal, it may be even more obvious. Your body is doing what it has to do to keep you alive and healthy – and it definitely does not care about your flat stomach goals.
Further to this – bloating is rarely a result of food alone. So, please don’t let a little bloat make you restrict certain foods or food altogether. Bloating is absolutely a healthy part of your digestive function – but there are factors that can make day to day bloating more significant or frequent
Simple tips to reduce day to day bloat:
- Slow down and chew your food well – until it is a paste.
- Manage stress levels – being one of the most common causes of unexplained bloating, strategies such as counselling, meditation and yoga may assist.
- Check in with your bowels – constipation can cause bloat. Eat your 5 veg and 2 fruit!
- Stop wearing tight clothing – we’re talking gym clothes, tight corporate wear or high waisted jeans.
- Observe your meal size / fullness – large meals and eating until overfull may of course cause uncomfortable bloating.
- Exercise daily in some way – moving your body can help to keep things moving!
- Reduce excess air intake – drinking from straws, gulping food/drink, and talking while eating can result in swallowing of excess air.
- Limit sugar alcohols – found in chewing gum and many ‘sugar free’ products these compounds may cause bloating and diarrhoea.
- Limit fruit to 1 portion/sitting – avoid drinking large portions via smoothies and juices.
If you have mild, intermittent bloating and have tried the above – check in with your GP and a dietitian. If you’re getting severe ongoing and/or painful bloating – that’s a different story altogether and should be investigated. There are serious conditions that can present with constant abdominal bloating and it should not be ignored!
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