Although the good news is that bloating is usually temporary, the not-so-good news is that bad habits can increase its frequency and actually make us bloated all the time. What can we do to beat bloated belly, fingers, ankles and even face at times. Check out these tips – a helpful reminder as we deal with effects of Covid-19 lockdowns.
CUT DOWN ON SALT
Don’t get me wrong, salt is necessary for healthy living. Also, given that I strongly recommend cutting out MSG products, including most bouillon cubes and flavour enhancers, I am in no way suggesting you abandon the yumminess that salt adds to your meals. That said, if you eat too much salt, you will have an imbalance of salt to water and thus retain water, which equals bloating. If you eat processed foods such as package foods, fast foods and frozen meals, or often eat out, chances are your sodium intake is high.
LIMIT YOUR CARB INTAKE
Processed carbs like pasta and cereal contain and absorb more than three times more water than protein and usually have far less nutritional value. Old-time low-carb eaters usually say that their bloating problems were much reduced or completely gone when they cut out carbs. Listen to your body and recognise what symptoms you have when you eat different types of carbs, including ‘resistant starches’ such as beans and chickpeas.
DRINK MORE WATER
This one might be counter-intuitive, but it’s the truth. Water releases the fluids that are stored in your cells and can flush your system, too. Your body begs for hydration because it needs it for every single process. If you are even mildly dehydrated, your body doesn’t know when it will get more water to keep you alive so it stores water in its cells. Drinking water will quickly restore balance. Drink up!
QUIT CHEWING GUM
Many people think that chewing gum helps them eat less and lose fat. Whether this is true or not, or how this affects your long-term goals, is a different story. Know that chewing gum encourages you to swallow air and that fills your belly with air…a bit like a balloon. When you chew sugar-free gum, the dangers to your health are heightened because of the fake sugar. See next tip.
BAN THE FAKE SUGAR
Products that are marketed as sugar-free, including various chewing gums, diet drinks, sweets, even ‘healthy’ protein bars and protein powders, contain substitutes that lead to excess gas, gastrointestinal distress and even toxicity in the body. Be wary of these. It’s a trap.
SAY NO TO THE FIZZ
Don’t want balloon belly? Don’t drink carbonated drinks. The guilt-less little bubbles take up residence in your intestinal tract and can become trapped resulting in gas build-up. If you mean to get rid of bloating and want to adopt a healthier lifestyle, it’s probably best to cut out all fizzy drinks.
Ginger, chamomile and peppermint have been known to ease the digestive discomfort that leads to excess gas. A study conducted by the European Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology found that ginger helps expel gas and speed up digestion. Getting these helpful herbs through food will allow them to be processed by the body as food rather than it being subject to a supplement and how well it can absorb nutrients. Drinking them in tea form adds the benefit of improved hydration and cleansing.
Life stress can cause spasms in the colon, which may lead to discomfort. There are nerves all over your gastrointestinal tract and if you are stressed, anxious or nervous, it is possible to develop gas and other related challenges. So if the tips above don’t help, give relaxation treatments and therapies (massages, meditation, yoga) a shot.