Top 5 tips to minimize bloating
I am always being asked for advice by women about how to stop the feeling of being “bloated”. By “bloated” they mean that their abdomen in distended – it feels uncomfortable – like something is not quite right. That feeling when your waist band feels tight, your abdomen protrudes and you feel “fat”. It is not the way you want to feel. It comes and goes but always seems to arrive when you want to feel good about yourself like on a night out or a trip to the beach.
Here are my top 5 tips to stop the feeling of being “bloated” which can really ruin your day. Once you have ruled out water retention which may occur quite naturally as part of your monthly cycle here are some tips that might help.
NUMBER 1 – EAT SMALLER PORTIONS SLOWLY AND CHEW A LOT
My first tip involves looking carefully at how much you eat at a time and the way you eat. Try eating slightly smaller meals so that you are not eating until you are completely full. Stop eating when you are about 80 per cent full. You are likely to find within about half an hour that you actually have had enough. Instead of 3 big meals try 4 smaller meals.
Also chew your food up really well. Eat slowly and chew a lot. Gulping down a lot of food on the run and not chewing well might result in poor digestion which can give us that bloated feeling.
NUMBER 2 – AVOID GAS
Avoid carbonated drinks. I know a lot of people these days love soda water or mineral water and drink it all day. Instead drink plain water. If it is not special enough or feels boring, slice up a lemon or an orange or have a little bit of mint in it. The gas in the carbonated drinks will not help with bloating.
With nutritious foods like lentils and beans be careful to gradually introduce them to your diet. Avoid large quantities until they are something you are used to consuming. Large quantities of whole grains may also result in bloating for some people.
NUMBER 3 – SORT OUT CONSTIPATION
Constipation can also make you feel bloated. The solution is to increase the amount of water you drink and consume more fibre (increase it gradually). Increased physical exercise can assist here too.
Adding more greens can help with better regularity and improved digestion. English spinach wilted with your eggs; kale added to a smoothie; zucchini and asparagus bulking up a stir fry – keep thinking about how to add greens.
NUMBER 4 – LIMIT SODIUM
So many products these days have too much sodium, particularly processed foods. Read food labels to see how much sodium is present. You should not be having more than 2,500 mg of sodium a day.
NUMBER 5 – MONITOR YOUR INTAKE TO RULE OUT FOOD INTOLERANCES
If you try all of these tips and you are still experiencing bloating it may be that you have an “intolerance” to a certain kind of food. A food “intolerance” is different to a food allergy. It is not life threatening or serious but it can bring with it uncomfortable symptoms such as bloating.
The kinds of food that are known for being responsible for bloating in some people include: foods with lactose (dairy); foods high in fructose; eggs and wheat or gluten.
If you start to suspect that one of these kinds of foods might be the culprit eliminate it for a while and see what happens. It might be a good idea to see a nutrition expert about your suspicion of a food intolerance. You do not want to be cutting out a particular type of food unnecessarily. If you find that you do have an intolerance make sure when you cut out a certain type of food that you research (or ask an expert) about how to make up for any nutrients or deficits you may experience as a result of eliminating or reducing that kind of food.
Drink peppermint tea. Drink green tea. Drink lots of water (more than you think you need – particularly on days when you train). Consider taking a probiotic to improve gut health.
Whatever you do – don’t let the bloat ruin your day. Just remember that (like with most things) you are probably more aware of it than anyone else. Everyone else is more worried about their own stuff!