Do you feel overly full in your belly after you eat a full meal or even a snack? It may be the food you ate or the speed at which you ate it. Consider what is in the food… too much salt, sugar, the wrong fats, gluten, dairy, etc. These foods may cause constipation, water retention, gas and weight gain. Some medical conditions such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Crohn’s Disease, Ulcerative Colitis or Celiac Disease are also likely to make you feel bloated.
Here are eight tips that may help you with that uncomfortable bloated feeling.
1. Eat Less
Did you know that your stomach is only about the size of your fist? The food you eat becomes compressed through the digestive process. When you eat too much it starts to stretch your stomach. This can make you feel bloated. Also, when you overeat you may take in too much salt, (the wrong) fats, carbs and calories, all of which will bring on that bloated feeling. When you eat processed foods, they are usually loaded with an abundance of salt, sugar and fat. Eliminating foods from a box, bag or can would be very helpful to reduce the bloat.
2. Be Carb-Selective
Your body utilizes ingested carbs more quickly than both fat and protein. When your body is finished using carbs for energy, it stores the rest as fat. Your body retains water when it stores your remaining carbs as glycogen, and the rest gets stored in your fat cells. Both can give you that bloated feeling. It’s important to remove or greatly limit “simple” carbs, such as bread and pastries. Instead, eat “complex” carbs, like whole grains and vegetables. These take longer to digest and keep your blood sugar more stable as well.
3. Backed Up?
When you feel constipated or stopped up, you will likely feel bloated. Consider stress, illness or poor dietary habits to be the culprit. When this happens, you may need increased hydration (H2O is the best bet), exercise and more dietary fiber. These will usually get your system to eliminate with regularity. Our body should eliminate at least once, if not twice, daily. If you are not, these interventions should be a primary focus for implementing into your lifestyle.
4. Gassy Foods
Although beans are a great source of fiber, there is a substance called raffinose in them that bacteria need to break down in the digestion process. Vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage and brussels sprouts also contain raffinose. Breaking this raffinose down can promote excess gas and lead to bloating. Taking a good quality digestive enzyme with your meal can help.
5. Don’t Eat Fast!
Slow down the pace at which you eat. Take time with your food and honor your meal time without distractions such as reading, television, and doing work. Put your fork down between bites and focus on conversation while eating. When you eat fast, you swallow more air and it gets trapped in your belly. Also, slowing down will allow your brain to receive the message of being full. It takes at least thirty minutes for your brain to get a satiety signal of feeling full. In turn, you will eat less.
6. Limit the Fizz
Reduce the consumption of bubbly drinks. Fizzy drinks such as soda, seltzer, beer and champagne are very gassy and fill up your digestive system. You will burb some of this gas away, and then some will travel through your digestive system and cause you to pass gas out of the other end, which we call “passing gas”.
7. Have You Heard of Fodmaps?
Fodmaps are a group of carbs that are difficult to digest for many people. They can cause gas and bloating and fluid build-up. Fodmaps include fructose in both fruit and honey, lactose in dairy, and many vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower and garlic. Consider doing a food elimination diet and take notes and write down which ones give you gas and bloating when reintroduced. Share this fact-finding information with your doctor and/or health practitioner to help figure out if Fodmaps should be eliminated from your diet.
8. Focused Healing of Medical Condition/s
Working with wellness professionals that focus on root cause healing protocols is in your best interest. If working with an MD has not helped your condition, consider a more Holistic “Team” approach. Consider the knowledge gained by utilizing a “Functional Medicine” approach to your health. Given the right testing, such as proper Blood Labs, Stool Tests, Micronutrient Testing, Food Sensitivity Testing, Organic Acid Testing, Dutch Testing etc., you will no longer bury your head in the sand. You will understand why you need a lifestyle change and how to go about making it happen in a way that’s best for your body.