Ever feel like you could apply to be a fellow float for the Macy’s Day Parade? Especially after eating what you thought was a healthy meal?
Bloat…not a very sexy word, is it?! Well it happens to the best of us, probably even more so to the healthiest of us!
Bloat, usually referred to as a Food Baby, is caused most times by excess gas, too much food at one sitting and/or a disturbance in the movement of the muscles in the digestive tract.
Bloating can be quite painful and not the same thing as water retention even though you will hear those two interchanged often.
Bloat is a pretty common feeling amongst people…up to 30% of us report experiencing it regularly. Sometimes it could be caused by a serious medical condition, but most likely it’s caused by diet and habits. If you’re part of the 30% that experience it regularly, here are 3 tried and true tips on how to reduce or eliminate it:
Do an elimination test to see if you have an intolerance or allergy to certain foods. This is just simply avoiding a certain food (or food group) for about a week to see if your bloat cuts back or goes away altogether. For me, even though I do not have a nut allergy, almonds cause me to seriously bloat up. Enough so that if I overdo them (you know, that mindless popping in the mouth and before you know it, the whole bowl is gone sort of thing), I double over in pain and I am NOT someone you want to be around for the next several hours! A good place to start with eliminating some foods are dairy products, fructose, eggs and foods containing gluten. Remember to eliminate one at a time so you can pinpoint the exact cause. Why eliminate eggs if they don’t bloat you, right?!
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is probably the most common digestive disorder out there. There are numerous studies that have shown that indigestible carbohydrates, called FODMAPS, can really make matters worse…especially those with IBS. FODMAP stands for Fermentable, Oligo, Di-, Mono-saccharides And Polyols (phew, those are a mouthful). A diet that is low in FODMAP has been shown to dramatically reduce bloating. Here are some common high FODMAP foods: Wheat, onions, garlic, cauliflower, broccoli, artichokes, cabbage, beans, apples, watermelon and pears. If you have a very important day coming up, I would suggest avoiding these for a bit to make sure bloat is not what you see in your pictures.
Are you trying to cut sugar out of your diet? AWESOME, I’m proud of you but be careful of sugar alcohols because some may cause digestive issues (or gas if we’re being real here). Try to avoid xylitol, sorbitol and mannitol. However, for some people, erythritol has shown to be better tolerated but ANY of these in large quantities will certainly have your belly blowing up like a latex balloon at Party City.
Some very beneficial ways to help combat bloat (besides the above) is to supplement with a quality probiotic and use peppermint oil.
I know when trying to eat well and exercise to look your best, it’s discouraging to feel like a first cousin to the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. But I promise with some special attention to your diet you’ll find those “trigger foods” to avoid and start to see that flat belly you’re working so hard to achieve! Now pass the nuts…just not the almonds!