WE’RE ALL IN THE SAME BLOAT…

A whopping 9,500,000 women in the UK suffer from bloating and the uncomfortable symptoms it can bring. Here at 8 potential causes, and tips to help you out!

  1. YOU CHEW GUM. Sure, the sugar free variety helps teeth and fixes bad breath, but it could also be causing your bloat as about half the gas in the digestive tract is due to swallowed air, so chewing gum is an obvious culprit. In fact, anything that means you swallow more air – smoking, drinking through straws, sucking on pen lids, even having lose dentures – is a no-no. And sorry to sound like your mother, but don’t talk when you’re eating – you’ll be gulping in more air!

  2. YOU HAVE A DESK JOB. In a nutshell: if you’re not moving, neither are your bowels! A sedentary lifestyle can lead to sluggish digestion and bloating. A quick biology lesson: if the gastrointestinal tract doesn’t move food through efficiently, gas builds up in the intestines, causing bloating and discomfort. Amazingly, a brisk 20-30 minute walk four times a week can help. But remember, it’s normal to look slimmer in the morning than later in the day, as you’re essentially fasting overnight.

  3. YOUR HEALTHY DIET. Unfortunately, our tummies can be divas about certain types of foods (we’re looking at you, sprouts). Other culprits? Beans, lentils, pulses, cruciferous veg and even leeks and onions. But why? Some people may produce insufficient amounts of the enzyme that helps digest these types of food, meaning they sit and ferment in your gut. However, cruciferous veg contain lots of healthy fibre, which actually keeps you regular, so cutting them out completely will only backfire. So what to do? Make sure you’re drinking 6-8 glasses of water a day – it helps fibre move through the digestive system. You could also try eating smaller, more regular meals throughout the day to avoid ‘overloading’ your digestive system all at once.

  4. YOU’VE GONE SUGAR FREE. You may think you’ve opted for a healthier diet, but certain sweeteners called polyols can be the cause of a ‘gas leak’. Some people find sorbitol and xylitol really difficult to digest and they can lead to flatulence. Watch out for them in slimming world products and some fruit juices and sugar free gum.

  5. YOU DON’T HAVE ENOUGH ‘GOOD’ BACTERIA. Years of ads showing bloated women magically transformed by yoghurt have taught us that not all bacteria are ‘bad’. But what’s the science behind it? The normal human digestive tract contains about 400 types of probiotic bacteria that reduce the growth of harmful bacteria. Research shows that some people suffer from bloating because they don’t have enough of the good bacteria in their gut. Gut friendly foods include kimchi and sauerkraut. (see our previous blog post for more info on probiotics)

  6. YOU’RE NOT CHEWING PROPERLY. As your mouth is where digestion begins, help everything along by chewing the heck out of each bite – softer food needs roughly 5-10 chews but food can be chewed up to 30 times before swallowing if it’s dense. As saliva helps breakdown the food before you swallow it, the more ‘processing’ you do in your mouth, the easier it will be on your digestive tract, resulting in less bloating around your mid-section.

  7. YOUR PERIOD IS ABOUT TO START. You might notice that you are more bloated about a week before you period starts. We don’t actually know why this happens, but there are things you can do to help. Keep a regular eating pattern, limit your intake of fatty food as well as food high in salt, to help minimise bloating. Steer clear o alcohol, coffee, and other caffeine rich drinks like cola, as they are diuretics (make you wee more frequently) again, encouraging your body to hold on to water.

  8. YOUR PARTY TIPPLE. The alcoholic drink in your hand could be causing your expanding waistband – and not just because of the calories it contains. If you bloat after drinking beer, but you don’t after champagne, it could be that yeast is the reason for your gut troubles. There is a lot of yeast in beer and wine, but little in champagne and neat spirits. As always, drink in moderation, but why not consider swapping your usual pint for a fancier glass of bubbles.

 

 

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