Most of us would be no stranger to that “stuffed” or “over-full” feeling we get when we know we’ve eaten far too much than our poor stomach can handle… (went to your parents for dinner? I feel ya!) but when we’re talking about being bloated, like really bloated – it’s a whole new world of pain. Bloating can be seriously painful and very uncomfortable, and sometimes it can be a bit of a mystery as to why all of a sudden your tummy has started to resemble a concrete-filled balloon. There are a few common factors that could be at play if this is happening to you, and we’ve got some handy tips for kicking that bloat to the curb for good!
Why you might be bloated…
1. You are dehydrated.
Dehydration is often an issue for a lot of people, and while it may not result in bloating for everyone – it is a common occurrence for many. You might be thinking, hold on – if there is less water in my body why would it blow up like that? The thing is when our bodies become dehydrated our internal alarms go off and our body does everything it can to retain water and fluid because it’s not sure when it’s going to get water next. We aren’t lying when we talk about how important it is to drink water!
2. Your diet is high in sodium.
Now we all love a sprinkle of salt on our meal which isn’t going to do you any harm, however if your diet already consists of foods that are quite high in sodium – like potato chips, soy sauce, certain spice mixes and seasonings, stocks, and soups then you might find that all that sodium could be bloating you. Sodium is water-retaining food and it will hold onto water for dear life which isn’t doing your poor tummy and digestive system any favours. Check out the sodium level on some of your regular go-to foods and make sure you aren’t overdoing the salt if bloating is an issue for you.
3. You are consuming alcohol sugars.
We recently dedicated an entire blog to alcohol sugars so please go and suss that one out here! But basically a lot of “sugar-free” foods are packed with something called alcohol sugars and they are partially resistant to digestion. Our body has a very hard time managing the digestion of these and as a result, almost anyone who eats them experiences bloating and tummy pains to a degree. Is the sugar-free option really worth all the pain?
4. You are experiencing increased stress/women on their cycle.
Unfortunately for women, there isn’t a lot we can do about our monthly cycle and often just need to ride out that wave for a few days which means some bloating and pain for a lot of females around that time of the month. On top of this, and for men too, any added stress does have a way of contributing to bloating – our bodies are clever little machines and if things aren’t flowing right they pick up on it and it can often result in bloating and gut health issues when we are stressed out.
5. You have food intolerances.
Food intolerances are incredibly common for so many people and unfortunately for those who experience painful regular bloating – there is a high chance that you might be intolerable to something you are putting in your body. If you think this might be the case it’s a great idea to visit your GP and undergo some testing to get your body back on the right track and find out for sure.
Time to beat the bloat!
For the good news, there are a few things you can do regularly that will reduce your risk of bloating or help calm down bloating when you get it.
1. Get hydrated.
I mean you knew that was coming. Water is so important for your body, it makes up for more than half of you so please don’t deprive your body of something it relies so heavily on for your everyday functioning! Get consistent with your water intake and you will be amazed at the changes in not only your body but your sleep, energy, and productivity too.
2. Be consistent with your fiber intake.
Start to increase your fiber intake slowly and to a comfortable point. This will help aid your body with digestion and make sure everything is working as it should in your gut. Remember – too much fiber can cause bloating so don’t go overboard and start slowly! Think about maybe adding a teaspoon of psyllium husk or some LSA mix to your smoothie or yogurt.
3. Avoid foods that bloat you.
This one is pretty straight forward, but most of us know the things that set us off so unless you are in a serious craving – and are ready to risk it all for the taste, do your best to steer clear of the foods that don’t agree with you, there is a reason your body doesn’t like them! If you’re interested in finding out if you are intolerable to anything we suggest booking into your GP.
4. Move your body and break a sweat.
Getting our bodies up and about can work wonders for not only our health and fitness but also our insides. Just getting outside for a 30-minute walk to get the blood pumping and heart rate rising can really help us when we are feeling stuffed and bloated aiding our digestive system to kick in.
5. Destress yourself.
While it is far easier said than done, less stress on our body is always a good thing and everything seems to work the way it should when we aren’t carrying around that extra stress in our body. Try your best to get into a relaxed and steady-state at least once a day, light a candle, put on some essential oils or sneak a cheeky nap – do something for you! Looking after yourself is a vital part of a healthy lifestyle and will help you toward beating that bloat for good.
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