Generally speaking, bloating occurs when the normal flow of gas (produced in the gut after we eat or drink) gets trapped, resulting in distention and discomfort. Here are five speedy strategies to put an end to puffiness.
Wolfing food down too fast results in swallowing air, which ends up getting traps in the gut causing pressure and belly expansion – none of which will help flatten your middle.
Banish: You know by now it can take 15-20 minutes after food is first eaten, for the full range of satiety signals to reach the brain. So taking time to chew your meals properly without rushing is key. To help slow down your eating, chew every bite a minimum of 10 times – or whatever it takes to really grind it into mush.
DITCH THE JUNK
Eating rich and fatty food, particularly the saturated kind such as pastries, fried foods and sausages can lead to puffiness. That’s because fats are the last thing to leave the stomach, leaving you uncomfortably full. What’s more, eating greasy foods causes damage to the gut wall lining. So when the gut flora is altered, bad bacteria inflames the intestinal tract, causing excess wind and the reason why you can’t stop burping.
Banish: Not all fats are created equal. The healthy (unsaturated) kind, found in olive oil, nuts, flaxseeds and oily fish are better processed by the body and have an anti-inflammatory effect, reducing inflammation of the gut.
STAY OFF THE GAS
Drinking carbonated drinks such as sparkling water and soft drinks may seem like a treat, but where do you think those tingly bubbles end up? Trapped in your belly. Watch out for sugar-free or low-carb products, too. These beverages still contain artificial sweeteners, such as sorbitol, which can be difficult for many people to digest.
Banish: Boosting your water intake can work wonders: flushing waste out of your system and reduces constipation. For a zesty alternative to plain water, try adding fresh mint or lemon or lime slices; or savour a soothing cup of chamomile or peppermint tea. While they might not be your usual choice for a cuppa, drinks like this aid digestion and help you to relax…which lends me to my next point.
Believe it or not your gut has its own nervous system, sometimes referred to as the second brain, which is lined with hundreds of thousands of nerve cells. So if you’re feeling frazzled, the colon can experience spasms which disrupt the muscular contractions that move gas through your gut. And as we all know, what can happen if you’re highly strung? Chances are you reach for that third biscuit, which is not doing any justice for the waistline.
Banish: If your waistband feels snug after lunch, head outside for a brisk walk. Not only will regular exercise help to relive stress by releasing happy hormones (endorphins), it will help alleviate stomach pressure from bloating and gas.
SKIP THE SALT
You may be attracted to your salt shaker, but water is too. Salt causes your body to retain fluid, contributing to that puffy appearance and extra water weight. It’s not only the salt shaker you need to watch, you’d be surprise how much hidden salt is lurking in your pantry, namely condiments, sauces and salad dressings.
Banish: Use fresh herbs and extra virgin olive oil to flavour food and always read the labels. Look for reduced-salt varieties or aim for less than 120mg of salt per 100g.
Do you struggle with belly bloat?