Bloating sucks. And while some level of bloating is ok, severe bloating can be incredibly unpleasant, and start to get in the way of your day to day life.
It also regularly effects 16-30% of the population, so it’s a pretty big deal. If you feel you fall into this bracket, here are some of my quick tips to help reduce bloating!
Some Bloating is Ok
Firstly, gas is a by-product of happy gut bacteria doing their thing and having a great time in your intestines. That means from time to time, you’re going to experience some level of bloating and THAT’S OK. What’s not ok is when it’s very regular, painful, makes you look 3 months pregnant, and/or is combined with constipation or diarrhea. This means that something else is up.
Watch Portion Sizes
If you’re eating a giant meal, you’re greatly increasing the likelihood of feeling bloated due to the stretching of the gut. Thankfully, this is a pretty easy change! Eat smaller portions at each meal, and consider adding another snack or meal elsewhere in your day instead to hit your calorie goals, rather than having larger meals.
Eat Enough Fibre
Fibre is beneficial for helping things move along (that’s as politely as I can put it) and so, if you’re under consuming fibre, that can cause traffic to stop. Include plenty of fruits, vegetables and complex carbohydrates in your diet each day to make sure you’re getting enough fibre. But also...
Don’t Overdo Things
If you’re someone who doesn’t consume much fibre or fermented foods, and you’ve decided to dive headfirst into the wonderful world of gut health by tripling your usual consumption of these things, you’re going to have a bad time. Although these things are great for your health, too much too soon can get your gut bacteria overexcited, and lead to excess gas consumption. Make sure you’re gradually increasing these things until you hit your goal.
I know saying “don’t be stressed” is like telling a depressed person to “just be happy”, BUT stress can bring on/exacerbate bloating, so just make sure you’re doing your best to try and remove as much stress as you can each day, by prioritising some time out for yourself, fuelling yourself correctly and getting enough sleep.
Sugar Alcohols/Artificial Sweeteners
First up, these things are not bad for your health (I just posted a great post on Instagram about this, if I do say so myself) but for some people, they can cause some pretty severe bloating symptoms. They’re “0 calories” because we actually don’t digest or absorb them, which means they go through our gastrointestinal tract in once piece. Sometimes though, our gut bacteria grab a hold of them and has a merry old time breaking them down and causing lots of gas. Be wary of things like protein bars, protein powders and 0 calorie beverages. Again, these are not unhealthy! They just might be what’s causing some excessive bloating for you.
All of these things are a good start, but the unfortunate truth is bloating can be extremely individualised and triggered by a whole bunch of other things I don’t have the time to cover (food allergies, food intolerances such as FODMAPs, coffee intake, not chewing/swallowing properly, other more serious conditions) so if you’re regularly experiencing these symptoms, please chat to your GP or speak to a dietitian to help you get to the bottom of things!