If you are one of the many people who struggles with ‘bloating’ after eating, the good news is, there are lots of things you can do to make it better!
Feeling ‘bloated’ can mean different things for different people. For some, it is a slight discomfort after eating or drinking, for others it can be a noticeably sore and swollen tummy or even looking like you are carrying a food baby after eating because your stomach sticks out so much!
It is normal for your tummy to look different after eating, passing wind is also very normal, but when you are getting pain or you are really noticing a big ‘bloat’ then it maybe that something else is going on beyond what we would consider normal!
Bloating is usually caused by excess gas production, or disturbances in the movement of the muscles of the gut. This can cause increased pressure and discomfort, and can sometimes make the stomach look bigger or ‘distended’. In some people, the feeling of being bloated is magnified because they have increased gut sensitivity. These people are more likely to feel the sensation of increased pressure in the abdomen, even if it isn’t really there.
Excessive bloating not only often causes pain & discomfort but it can also make you look heavier and give the perception that you have more belly fat – even if you don’t! Although bloating is sometimes caused by serious medical condition, it’s most often caused by diet and some foods or ingredients you are intolerant to.
Here are 5 tips to help you beat the bloat:
1) Don't eat too much at a time.
Stuffing your tummy full of food and liquid will of course lead to a feeling of being bloated, but the problem is that you simply ate too much. If you’re eating big meals and tend to feel uncomfortable afterwards, then try smaller portions. Remember, a person with a tendency to feel bloated will experience discomfort from a smaller amount of food than a person who rarely feels bloated! Simply eating smaller meals can be incredibly useful.
2) Chew your food well.
Chewing your food thoroughly reduces the amount of air you swallow with the food (a cause of bloating), and it also makes you eat slower, which leads to reduced food intake and smaller portions.
3) Rule out intolerances to common foods.
When you eat foods that you are intolerant to, it can cause excess gas production, bloating and other symptoms (these symptoms are often associated with irritable bowel syndrome).
Here are some common offenders to consider:
There are a wide variety of other foods which can cause a real problem for people sensitive to bloating because they contain a high amount of undigestible carbohydrates. These foods are referred to commonly as FODMAP foods. If you think you might have a food intolerance, come and see me (Kate Ellison) I can help. It is really very important to get the right advice when sorting out food intolerances and it can be harmful just to try and figure it out yourself as there is a right and wrong way of managing things which I can help you understand!
4) Avoid swallowing air and gases.
There are two sources of gas in the digestive system. One is gas produced by the bacteria in the gut, the other is air that’s swallowed when you eat or drink. The biggest issue is often carbonated beverages (fizzy drinks). Fizzy drinks contain bubbles with carbon dioxide, a gas that can be released from the liquid after it reaches your stomach. Other things to avoid are chewing gum, drinking through a straw, and eating while talking or while in a hurry.
5) Give 'gassy' foods a miss!
Certain foods have a known reputation for being ‘gassy’ and can make people produce large amounts of wind. Commonly, people suffer excess gas after eating legumes like beans and lentils, or some other veggies like cabbage, or onions. Try keeping a food diary to identify foods which make you more gassy or bloated than others. Fatty foods can also slow down digestion and emptying of the stomach which can be a problem for people with a tendency to bloat. Try eating less beans and fatty foods to see if it helps.