If you experience bloating, you’re not alone. Statistics suggest that 1 in 10 people experience bloating regularly.
Bloating is defined as abnormal swelling or tightness of the abdominal area. It tends to cause pain or discomfort. For women especially, bloating can be particularly severe once a month.
As a health coach, I address bloating issues through the lens of nutrition and eating habits.
There are many reasons why we bloat. Most of the time, it’s related to what and how you eat. Medical conditions aside, some of the most common causes include:
- Sodium intake
- Foods you may have unknown sensitivities to (i.e. high-allergen foods like wheat and dairy)
- Eating too fast
- Carbonated drinks
- Artificial sweeteners
Bloating can simply be a symptom of your digestion or your gut health. While some bloating due to medical conditions or physiological changes in your body may be unavoidable, bloating can be your body’s way of signaling to you that something is running abnormally in your gut.
Where it is possible to minimize or prevent bloating through food and nutrition, I’ve summarized for you 5 common solutions you can try:
1. Pace yourself when eating
Most people I know wolf down their meals in 5–10 minutes. To them, eating within 20 minutes is unheard of. If this sounds like you, then the way you’re eating may be putting your digestive system into overdrive. Eating too fast can cause you to both eat larger portions and build up excess gas in your stomach, causing bloating.
If you can ease the enjoyment of your meals, even break up the same amount of food you would normally have in one sitting over the course of your other meals, you will decrease the stress levels on your digestive system.
2. Eat foods that promote digestion
Studies suggest that peppermint tea, ginger, pineapple, parsley, and yogurts containing probiotics (as long as you are not sensitive to dairy) are foods containing enzymes that promote your gut health and fight bloating.
3. Drink water and eat foods with a high water content
If your bloating feels like water retention from consuming too much sodium, then drinking more water actually helps flush out retained water. Along the same line of reasoning, eating produce with a high water content, like cucumbers and celery, can also help flush out excess water.
4. Eat fibre-rich foods
Unprocessed, whole, high-fibre foods like bananas, oatmeal, chia seeds, brown rice, and root vegetables are great for tackling some of the common causes to bloating listed above. Incorporating on a regular basis fibre-rich foods in the form of complex carbs, is a great way to meet your nutritional needs and keep bloating at bay.
5. Eat potassium-rich foods
Foods rich in potassium can help reduce or prevent water retention by regulating sodium levels in your body. Some of the most accessible and common high-potassium foods include bananas, avocados, kiwis, oranges, dark leafy greens, and pistachios.
Foods affect different bodies in different ways, so it’s possible that not all of these solutions will work for you. Bloating on occasion is totally normal, and sometimes unavoidable.
Do you experience bloating on a regular basis? Let me know in the comments if any of these solutions work for you.
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