By: Nikki Nies
While the summer provides additional opportunities to gather with friends and families, these social gatherings can provide further food choices that can leave you feeling eating one too many of your favorite foods and lead to bloating. Yet, we’re sharing our best tips on what bloat may look like, the causes and practicals to curb the bloat while maintaining confidence in your swimsuit.
Bloating can be due to excess gas production,, irritable bowel syndrome, malabsorption of the stomach, stress, constipation, dehydration, alcohol use, lack of sleep and/or due to less than optimal food choices. By definition, bloating is the perceptible swelling or increase in size of the abdomen. Often times, one will feel a full or tight abdomen.
Yet, with the following below tips and trial and error bloating doesn’t have to be part of your holiday!
- Move! If constipation is the cause of bloating, get moving a bit more throughout the day—that could be taking the dog for extra long walks after a meal, swimming or finding a local dance class to join. Working out can help restimulate blood flow and flush out any potential excess water.
- Take your time: since satiety signals can take as long as 20 minutes to reach the brain, eating more slowly and by gauging hunger cues can combat overeating.
- Reduce intake of the uncomfortable: this may include fried, fatty foods as fat digests at a slower rate than protein and carbohydrates and therefore keeps the stomach fuller longer.
- Add more probiotic rich and fermented foods: this may include kefir, sauerkraut and/or yogurt
- Find balance in sodium and potassium intake: Examples of potassium rich foods include avocados, tomatoes, bananas and asparagus, which are natural diuretics and can help remove excess sodium from the body.
- Limit gassy vegetables: experiment with different seasonings and spices instead of adding salt to gassy vegetables, such as kale, broccoli, cabbage or cauliflower
- Follow a FODMAP lifestyle: FODMAP stands for fermentable oligosaccharides disaccharides monosaccharides and poyols, which are quickly fermentable and can lead to luminal distention.
- Add more fiber to balanced meals: this may limit constipation, which can be a large culprit for bloating.
- Limit intake of carbonated beverages and add the use of straws: these beverages can be high in CO2 and can be a direct cause of an inflated feeling as sucking on a straw forces air along with beverage into stomach.
- Indigestion from dairy: may want to experiment with eliminating lactose from dairy, as it’s been linked to indigestion.
Yes, bloating’s most common after meals or at the end of the day as it’s a response to the increase in volume from foods and fluid. However, you may be mistaking bloating for water weight. Water weight’s the extra fluid that appears around tissues, joints and body cavities between cells due to shifts in the body’s fluid status. This additional common fluctuation of 2-4 pounds can last for a few hours or days. Cause may be due to hot weather, premenstrual symptoms, insufficient protein intake and/or due to medication side effects.
The above tips are meant to add more cheer to your holiday season and alleviate bouts of bloating and uncomfortability. Share with us @wedishnutrition! What tips and tricks have worked best for you to keep the bloat at bay?