Bloating. We’ve all been there, a good meal at a restaurant, a cheat day or just plain old lunch makes us look like we are 6 months pregnant. Affectionately referred to as a food baby, this little baby is no laughing matter.
Bloating can come with some major pain and frankly some embarrassment, too. Rock-hard balloon stomach and lots of gas can be very discouraging, even after a gym session and eating “clean.”
Cute little food babies aside, bloating can be our body’s way of telling us something is up:
You’re Eating Too Much
What we eat is important to our digestion, but just as important is how we eat.
Large portions can lead to overeating which will definitely make you feel heavy and sluggish and, of course, lead to the dreaded food baby.
People who are prone to bloating will be more sensitive to developing gas, pain and abdominal bloat from even a little extra food so it’s important to monitor portion sizes.
Instead of just wearing elastic waistbands, try decreasing the amount of food eaten at each meal. If you feel it won’t be enough to keep you going, try adding in another small meal later in the day, but keep the portion size small.
Try mindful eating by minimizing distractions and chewing slowly. Slower chewing has a two fold-effect: it slows down our food intake, allowing the stomach to signal to the brain feelings of fullness; and slower chewing also decreases the amount of air swallowed, which can help minimize bloating.
You Have a Food Intolerance
Food sensitivities and intolerances can often be the underlying cause of painful bloating. Food sensitivities are more common than you think and can easily be developed during the adult years. In fact, foods that never gave you problems before can become problematic later on as our bodies become less efficient at breaking down food.
The biggest culprits can be dairy, gluten, fructose and eggs. Try following an elimination diet to learn more about how your body reacts to these usual bloating suspects.
Try to limit the amount of foods in your diet that may contribute to inflammation by following a low-FODMAP diet.
Avoid foods that contain sugar alcohols, which are hard to digest and common culprits of bloating. You’ll find these listed as sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, isomalt and hydrogenated starch hydrolysates.
Your Body Doesn’t Have Enough Enzymes or Stomach Acid
Low amounts of stomach acid could be contributing to painful bloating. Acids in the stomach work to break down food but low levels mean food is poorly broken down and not digested properly. Heartburn, indigestion constipation or undigested food matter in bowels may indicate low stomach acid.
Using a supplement with digestive enzymes can be a great way to help your body properly break down food and help ease the digestive process, cutting down on the incidences of gas and stomach bloating.
YouVeda GI Enzyme can be found in My Healthy Digestion and My Healthy Body and contains a blend of all digestive enzymes that help efficiently break down carbohydrates, fats and proteins along with bitter Ayurvedic herbs that stimulate healthy gastric flow.
Your Bowel Movements Aren’t Healthy
Have you… gone today? Constipation is a sign of a sluggish digestive system and can make bloating worse.
Staying regular is key but it isn’t always as easy as it seems. Getting plenty of fiber in your diet is vital to having a healthy stool (about 25g daily for women and between 30-38g daily for men). But too much fiber can backfire on you, causing constipation, gas and bloating.
If you think you’re getting plenty of fiber already, try adding more activity into your day. More movement literally equals more, well, movement. Light activity like walking or stretching can go a long way to combat our sedentary ways and help your body stay regular.
Dehydration is another cause of constipation as dry stools can be hard and painful to pass. Make sure to drink plenty of water and add in watery fruits and vegetables to help easily get your intake up. Stick to room temperature or warm water for maximum hydration.
If you struggle with constipation, diarrhea, gas and bloating regularly, you may need to start giving your gut a little TLC. Along with avoiding possible food irritants, it’s important to cultivate the healthy bacteria in your gut. This bacteria rules your digestion and immunity, and can help your skin glow.
Try supplementing with a probiotic to help that good bacteria thrive in your gut and help naturally aid (i.e. not a laxative) your body in staying regular. YouVeda Probiotic 50B contains 15 strains of probiotics that are closest to those good bacteria strains already in our body! This probiotic can be found in My Healthy Digestion and My Healthy Immunity.
You’re Not Relaxing Your Muscles
Sometimes we do everything right and we still can get a little bit of bloating or gas build up.
Taking the actions above will help to treat the underlying causes of your bloating but sometimes you just need a good old remedy for your current discomfort.
Heating pads or hot baths can help ease a tense tummy by helping to relax the muscles and allow the gas to release.
Try some light yoga to help relieve bloating, especially child’s pose, wind-relieving pose and bridge pose.
Hot water with fennel and ginger is an old Ayurvedic recipe for digestive tract woes.
Peppermint essential oil is especially helpful in relieving muscle tension and spasms which can lead to digestive upset and bloating.
Bloating is a pain but a common problem that many of us face. Hopefully the suggestions above help you take control of your bloating and help you banish that food baby for good!
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Author – Kelly Driscoll (YouVeda Wellness Contributor)