There’s nothing worse than spending your days feeling bloated, heavy and sluggish. No one wants to walk around all day feeling like someone’s blown up a party balloon in their digestive tract.
Bloating can be stubborn, painful and seemingly impossible to get rid of. What’s worse is that many people accept bloating as a normal digestive symptom.
The truth is, you shouldn’t be bloated after every meal you eat, or become more bloated as the day goes on. Being bloated regularly is your body’s way of telling you something is “off” in your digestive tract, and it needs your attention.
Abdominal bloating is often categorised as a symptom of irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS. The problem with IBS though is that it’s a very general, vague term for digestive disorders that are believed to have no known cause.
From a holistic perspective, there’s always a logical reason for digestive symptoms to occur. In fact, the most common causes of bloating are linked to specific factors in a person’s diet or lifestyle.
Here are 5 reasons you may be bloated:
- Common food sensitivities
More often than not a subtle or serious food intolerance can cause the body to bloat. Common culprits are dairy and gluten. Going dairy and/or gluten free can make a big difference in your levels of bloating.
- Drinking cold water during meal times
Your body secretes digestive enzymes to help digest the food you eat. Drinking large sips of ice cold beverages around meal time may paralyze those digestive enzymes and dampen your digestive fire, so to speak.
Instead drink most of your daily water intake away from meals. If you absolutely must have a little something to wash down the food during meals, take small sips of room temperature water.
Adding apple cider vinegar, lemon or lime to your water (and sipping on this before your meal) can also help reduce bloating because the acid in citrus helps stimulate gastric acid (stomach acid) production which promotes better digestion.
- Lack of friendly bacteria
If you’ve recently taken antibiotics, or you have a diet high in refined sugar, a lack of good bacteria in your digestive tract may be the reason why you’re bloated.
If you have a lack of friendly gut bacteria, bad bacteria flourishes in your gut instead. The bad bacteria impair your overall digestive function and can lead to chronic bloating.
To help encourage the growth of good bacteria in your intestinal tract, avoid eating refined sugar (this is what feeds the bad bacteria). It’s recommended to increase the amount of fermented foods in your diet, such as sauerkraut, kombucha, kimchi and kefir.
Taking a high quality probiotic supplement can also provide your gut with a more concentrated dose of good bacteria to help improve digestive symptoms.
- Lack of fibre
Bloating is a sign of a sluggish digestive system. If you suspect your bloating may have to do with irregularity, increasing your fiber through fruits and vegetables can be helpful to get things moving through your digestive tract.
Start increasing your fiber by introducing green smoothies into your diet, or simply by having an apple each day. Apples are a great source of insoluble and soluble fibre that can get things moving quickly, especially when eaten on an empty stomach.
Water works with fiber to move waste through your digestive tract. If you’re dehydrated, the stool you’re supposed to be eliminating has a harder time passing through. This can cause you to become “backed up” and bloated.
Make sure you’re drinking enough water each day by keeping a water bottle with you at all times and drinking from it before you get thirsty.
To work out your recommended water intake use this simple equation:
Your body weight in lbs / 2 = oz water
(For example: 140 lbs / 2 = 70 oz water)
Don’t like drinking plain water? Spruce things up with adding lemon, lime or even berries to your water.
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