Don't you just hate when a meal leaves you uncomfortable, unable to move, and several inches bigger in the waist? Trapped wind is no fun, and there's huge potential for embarrassment if you're, say, out on a date or stuck in an elevator with your boss. But what are the causes of this bloating, and what can you do about it? Read on to find out:
1. Too Much, Too Fast
The first and most common reason for bloating is eating too much food. It's simple cause and effect — the more you eat, the more stuffed you get. Try eating smaller, more frequent meals to keep your portion sizes reasonable throughout the day. It's easy to overeat when you're shovelling food into your trap at lightning pace, so slow down! Try putting your fork down between bites and when you feel full, stop eating.
2. "Gassy" Foods
Some of the stuff you eat is just naturally gassy, so you're going to feel somewhat bloated after it anyway. Foods that are high in starches, fiber and certain sugars can take a while to digest, which means more gasses are released in the process. The most common culprits are beans, lentils, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, prunes, dairy products and anything made using grains. Try cutting back on these a little and see how you get on.
3. Reheated Food
Believe it or not, certain foods can become more gassy when reheated. Microwaving starchy foods like rice, pasta and potatoes changes their molecular structure and makes the starch more resistant to the digestive process. Strange, but true. The more difficult they are to digest, the more bloating you'll experience. The solution is obvious — just avoid reheating potatoes, rice, pasta and other starchy foods in the microwave. Simple.
4. Too Much Fiber
Fiber is fantastic for keeping you healthy and regular, but it's also completely indigestible. Therefore, any amount of fiber in your food is likely to lead to bloating, especially if you abruptly increase your intake. You don't need nearly as much fiber as conventional wisdom would have you believe, so don't bother forcing yourself to eat huge amounts of whole wheat bread or all-bran cereal. And drink plenty of water to keep things moving.
5. Bacterial Imbalance
There's a power struggle happening in your gut between "bad" bacteria and the "good" bacteria (or gut flora) that regulate the digestive process and keep you healthy. If you're taking antibiotics, suffering from food poisoning, or just have a generally poor diet, the delicate balance can be disrupted and "bad" bacteria can proliferate, making you more prone to bloating and gas. To prevent this, eat healthy and consider taking a good daily probiotic supplement.
6. Medical Conditions
In rarer cases, certain medical conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), coeliac disease and lactose intolerance can cause you to feel bloated at times. These are often accompanied by other symptoms like headache, cramping and diarrhea, and will require medical intervention to treat. If you suspect your bloating is more than just a little trapped wind, get your doctor to look into it at the earliest opportunity.
Want to know more about how to care for your body? Request a free consultation here at our Personal Training Studio in Ranelagh and we'll steer you towards the best of health.
Image: Bear Market Science