Bloating happens to everyone, but it can be frustrating, especially when we want to look our best for a big event. Bloating can be accompanied by a visibly stretched-out or swollen abdomen and ranges from mildly uncomfortable to intensely painful.
There are a number of reasons that we might feel bloated- digestive issues or hormonal fluctuations can often be to blame but it typically goes away on its own within 24 hours.
If you struggle with bloating, we’ve put together 5 tips to help move the process along and prevent it from happening as often.
Hydrate the right way
You’ve probably been told before that you should be drinking more water, but this is especially true if you find yourself bloated all the time. Drinking water may help to reduce bloating by ridding the body of excess sodium. Drinking plenty of water before your meals can also help to prevent overeating, another cause of bloating.
What you drink and how you drink it can also have an impact on bloating. When you go to sip a drink from a straw, you first suck in a straw-length volume of air, which ends up trapped in your stomach. Beware of carbonated drinks too as these can cause excess gas in your belly, making you feel bloated.
Water-rich fruits can also be a great way of hydrating on the go if you struggle to remember to keep sipping your water. Watermelon, cantaloupe, pineapple, grapefruit, celery, and cucumbers are all effective choices when trying to debloat.
Watch your salt intake
Cutting back on sodium helps your kidneys flush out excess water in your body which will help to reduce puffiness. Avoid foods high in sodium, such as processed foods, and try to swap out added salt in home-cooked meals by using flavourful herbs and spices instead.
Potassium is also a powerful ally in your fight against sodium retention. Potassium plays a double duty in the body, not only encouraging sodium excretion but also relaxing blood vessel walls and lowering blood pressure. Potassium-rich foods include bananas, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, oranges, melons, apricots, raisins, and yogurt.
It’s also worth noting that fluctuating hormones during your menstrual cycle can also cause you to retain water in the days leading up to your period, which can make you bloated. Magnesium supplements can help with water retention during your period, as can reducing the amount of salt in your diet.
Walk it off
There are a few reasons why a short walk, especially after eating a big meal, can significantly reduce bloating. Exercise increases both the motility of your colon, which reduces the amount of time your body uses to make gas, and increases your heart and respiratory rates, which increases blood flow to the gut and keeps fluids moving through your system.
If your bloated belly is preventing you from exercise such as a brisk walk or gentle jog, try spending a few minutes practicing yoga. Exercises such as yoga twists can gently massage and squeeze your body’s digestive system, promoting more effective digestion.
Look after your gut
It’s essential to take care of your gut microbiome if you want to avoid bloating. High-stress levels, too little sleep, processed and high-sugar foods, and antibiotics can all damage our gut microbiome (microorganisms living in our intestines), which can in turn cause bloating.
Probiotics are strains of good bacteria that, when consumed, help to top up our own levels of bacteria and rebalance the gut’s ecosystem. Found naturally in fermented foods like yoghurt, kefir, miso, sauerkraut, and kimchee, they can also be taken in supplement form. A diet high in fibre is also essential for gut health, so be sure to include a variety of fruit and vegetables, whole grains, and legumes in your diet to keep your fibre intake up.
Try a Low FODMAP diet
If you’ve ever noticed that you tend to feel bloated after eating foods like broccoli or onions, you may be sensitive to a group of short-chain carbohydrates known as FODMAPs (fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols). The small intestine struggles to digest these sorts of carbohydrates, so they can ferment there and cause gas and bloating.
FODMAPs encompass a wide variety of foods, including dairy; fruits such as apples, cherries, peaches, and plums; sweeteners such as honey, agave, xylitol, and sorbitol; vegetables such as asparagus, Brussels sprouts, and garlic; beans such as chickpeas, lentils, and soy; and grains such as wheat and rye. If a low FODMAP diet is something you are interested in trying, it’s worth doing so with the help of a registered dietician.
If you are struggling to beat the bloat this summer and would like advice on the best foods to suit your goals, why not book a consultation with one of our Pure Package nutritionists? They will ensure that you are receiving the best possible meal plan to suit your needs. Away on holiday? Why not plan ahead and book a Pure Package delivery to arrive on your doorstep when you get back?