Bloating is one of the worst physical symptoms that anyone can experience. The feeling of your stomach being so full, your clothes not fitting and the embarrassment of looking like you may be pregnant is enough to make you want to hide from the world. The worst part is you may not know what will bring it on.
Bloating can be the result of something you ate, being stressed or even how you eat. Usually it is too late to realize what made you bloated because it is already happening. Look at the many triggers that can bring on bloating:
Two very easy things to help identify what is causing your bloating is to take a food allergy test and keep a food diary.
FOOD ALLERGY TEST
Everly Well supplies an at-home food allergy test that can identify allergies for 96 foods. You may have never had a food allergy before but as we age, our bodies change. Foods that never caused you any issues in the past may now be something you can't eat. This happened to me with dairy. I was always able to eat yogurt, ice cream, creamy soups and desserts without any issue. Then it started happening.
I would get bloated and have diarrhea when ever I ate dairy. Not right away, but pretty soon I started realizing that I was having a negative reaction to dairy. While a lot of people take products like Lactaid to digest dairy, I'm a firm believer that if your body is telling you to stop eat something, then do it. Knowingly eating foods that are causing an allergic response means your body has to stop working on being healthy and start defending itself against what it perceives as an attack. When your body is distracted or becomes tired from always fighting an allergen, disease and illness sets in.
KEEP A FOOD DIARY
This is a very simple task that can help you identify when a food is not working for you. Every day, write down what you ate, what you did and how you felt. When you are bloated, reviewing what you ate that day and what was going on in your life can really help you identify what caused the bloating. The five tips listed below are some of the activities that you may put in your food diary. If you aren't doing any of the tips listed below, that can also help you figure out if you need to make changes in your life to reduce bloating.
When you are bloated, exercising is probably the last thing you want to do. But it is one of the first things you should do to eliminate the bloat. Exercise helps stimulate the stomach muscles resulting in any excess gas that is built up can be released. Also, regular exercise helps strengthen the abdominal wall which aids in digestion. This can further result in fewer bloating episodes. (Source: Everyday Health)
Exercising doesn't have to be strenuous to help reduce bloating. Taking a 10 to 15 minute walk after eating can help stop bloating. If you are already bloated, there are several yoga poses that can help reduce bloating. Try the poses listed below. There are also free yoga sessions on YouTube that specifically walk you through poses to relieve bloating.
Twisting Child's Pose
#2 REDUCE STRESS
Stress causes bloating! I was as shocked as you are when I learned this. Turns out, stress upsets our digestive system and that causes bloating. Reducing stress results in reducing bloating. But does this work when you are already bloated? It sure does!
Meditation is one sure-fire way to reduce stress in the moment and releasing bloating. The great thing about meditation is it can be done anywhere. So if you are at work and need to reduce bloating, find a conference room that is off the beaten path or sit in your car.
On YouTube, there are guided meditations for improved digestion, which relieves bloating. The meditations are anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes. A small time investment to make you feel physically better. Another way is to take a hot bath or use a heating pad. While doing this doesn't lend itself well while you are at work, it can be an effective way to relax, which results in less bloating.
#3 TAKE SUPPLEMENTS
The most popular supplement for supporting the digestive system is Probiotics. Probiotics are good bacteria that live in our body. They are there to help fight off pathogens. Bloating can happen when our gut bacteria is not balanced. Taking probiotics daily can help repopulate our good bacteria in the gut resulting in less bloating.
A less well known supplement is L-Glutamine. L-Glutamine is an amino acid that is found in foods high in protein, such as meat, eggs, spinach and carrots. It helps promote a healthy intestinal lining and reduce inflammation. When your intestinal lining is healthy, less bloating occurs. I take L-Glutamine daily because I may not be eating the foods that contain it every day. I've noticed a significant reduction in bloating.
#4 EAT LESS AND NOT AS FAST
Not only how much we eat but how we eat influences if we get bloated or not. When we eat really fast, we swallow air with our food. The excess air has no place to go so we get bloated until it subsides. Slowing down when we eat and taking care not to speak while chewing is a great way to reduce the amount of bloating we experience. A good way to do this is to put the fork down after taking a bite of food.
Reducing portion sizes at meal time reduces bloating. Did you know the size of our plates are much bigger now than they were in the 1960's? The typical plate size today is 14 inches. Back in the 1960's, plates were about 8 inches. When we eat from big plates, we fill up the plate with food otherwise the plate looks empty. A good trick here is to serve meals on smaller, salad size plates. It is a visual cue that the plate is full since the plate is smaller. If someone wants another serving, they can always go back for more.
#5 DRINK WATER
We are dehydrated every single day. No one drinks enough water. Water is critical to reduce bloating. Water helps regular bowel movements happen. Our poop is 75% water! If we aren't drinking enough water, then we can't have regular bowel movements. This results in more bloating. The guideline for how much water to drink every day is half your body weight in ounces. A 100 pound person needs to drink 50 ounces of water every day. If you get bored with plain water, add cucumber slices or frozen fruit to it.
Herbal tea also counts as water. Tea is a powerful drink because it contains beneficial antioxidants that keep us healthy. A couple of teas that you should drink when you are bloated are: ginger tea, chamomile tea or peppermint tea. Just don't load them up with sugar because sugar can cause bloating.
I hope this post helps you relieve bloating the next time it happens. Do you think you would try any of the above the next time you are bloated? Leave me a comment below.
There are a lot of other reasons bloating can be happening on a regular basis.
I am a Certified Holistic Nutritionist helping people overcome embarrassing symptoms of an unhealthy gut, which include bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation and abdominal pain. If this sounds like you, I can help you with a customized plan that fits your lifestyle.
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