Bloating 101

Do you ever struggle with feeling bloated, gassy, or have stomach discomfort? First of all, it’s okay to pass a little gas, that’s normal and what you ate may be responsible but let’s look at other factors before we go on a crazy elimination diet. Looking at the whole picture vs. strict diet changes right from the get go may be helpful.

Ask yourself…

Have you been exercising?

Have you been eating out more often (higher sodium, high carb/fat and bigger portions)?

Have you been on antibiotics or started taking a new medication recently?

Are you dealing with stress and anxiety?

Eating fast because you’re busy?

Chewing gum or artificial sweeteners?

There are many environmental factors that can be responsible for bloating.

Exercise such as walking, yoga or jogging can help stimulate the passage of gas through your digestive tract and keep your bowels moving. Try to make a habit of light activity after meals vs. sitting down or going to sleep. Lack of physical activity has also been linked to constipation.

Excessive salty foods, carbonated beverages, high carb, fat and calorie dishes could be causing some of your stomach symptoms. Sodium binds to water in the body and helps maintain the balance of fluids both inside and outside of cells. If you often eat meals that are high in salt, such as many processed foods, your body may retain water. Carbonated drinks can cause a buildup of air that can move down the digestive tract and into the colon, causing bloating and gas. Reassess before chugging the trendy bubbly waters. Fatty foods are absorbed slower, so when over loading your stomach with French fries, a heavy milkshake and fried chicken, be prepared to experience a little discomfort. Carbs can do the same thing if it’s more fiber than you are used to or if you have any intolerance to things like gluten, lactose or FODMAPS.

Eating smaller portions simply can reduce sensitivity to the amount of food in your stomach.

Stomach bacteria imbalances from antibiotics can be a cause of bloating along with other medications such as birth control, steroids, and pain meds. Always read your medication labels and speak to your provider about abnormal side effects.

Anxiety, depression and stress can worsen symptoms of abdominal cramps and pain and make you feel crummy. These mental stressors may coexist with or aggravate disturbances such as the irritable bowel syndrome or functional dyspepsia.

Higher volumes of food, can mean swallowing more air. Slow down, chew your food and reducing portions can be helpful.

Sugar alcohols and artificial sugars are resistant to digestion. It depends on the individual but gas, bloating and diarrhea are known side effects.

 

Where to Start:

  1. Swap out all beverages for water
  2. Try increasing activity, get your body and bowels moving
  3. Avoid artificial sugars and sugar alcohols
  4. Assess your fiber, fruit and vegetable intake (start with low glycemic fruits and vegetables low in raffinose)
  5. Reduce carbohydrates and salty foods
  6. Eat smaller portions
  7. Assess food intolerances

So what about the common food intolerances?

Here are some common foods and ingredients to consider:

  • Lactose
  • Fructose
  • Eggs
  • Wheat and gluten
  • Carbonated Beverages
  • Artificial Sweeteners and Sugar Alcohols
  • Sodium
  • Cruciferous Veggies
  • Legumes

Possible Food Remedies To Try:

Supplements:

Exercise:

  • Don’t be constipated- increase water and exercise

Recipe Ideas:

Cucumber Mint Soup

Smoothie

Banana Nut Chia Seed Yogurt

Roasted Fennel

Fennel Soup

Pumpkin Soup

Pumpkin Yogurt

Roasted Asparagus

Peppermint Ginger Tea

Cucumber Papaya Salad

Cucumber Mint Water

Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Chamomile or Peppermint Tea