health and wellness tips

Bye Bye Bloating

bloating vidya sury

There are times when that daily schedule can get out of whack and the best laid plans come to naught. No matter how hard you juggle, there are only 24 hours in a day and displacing one activity with another doesn’t leave time for much else.  Add the sitting, the messy routine and the rush to catch up with everything lead to unusual eating patterns. Before you know it, there’s an uncomfortable sense of bloat – that feeling of being filled with air. And not in a good way. Quite gross.

Bloating can happen from a number of reasons, and medication is one of them. Temporary bloat is normal. Unless the cause is a health condition (heart, liver disease) the usual culprit is intestinal gas. The common misconception that bloat is due to fluid collection is a myth. Fluid does not collect in the abdomen. Swelling from fluid collection happens first in the feet and ankles.

As a diabetic, I have to worry about extra pounds on a daily basis and simply cannot afford to be overweight. Here’s a quick break down on why bloat happens (and makes life miserable) and solutions to avoid it easily, and say…

Bye Bye Bloating

Constipation

Or a case of shit doesn’t happen! You’re probably not getting enough fiber or fluid in your diet. Add inadequate activity. This can lead to constipation, inviting bloat. Yes, that hurts.

What can you do? Why, up your intake of fiber. For women, the recommended dose is 25 grams a day and for men, 38 grams a day. Sources of fiber are whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, leguminous vegetables. Remember to drink enough fluids and at least 8 glass of water a day. Make sure you include physical activity – ideally 30 minutes a day, five days a week. Yes, better make that a habit. The benefits are worth it.

Food  allergy

A food allergy is when you cannot tolerate certain foods. Examples are wheat and lactose intolerance. This can cause gas. Don’t panic yet – keep track of what you eat and drink to figure out what could be causing the bloat – and leave the diagnosis to your doctor.  Your doctor is likely to prescribe to identify allergens so that she can give you advice on which foods to avoid or minimize or even combine with others to get the best benefit.

Eating too quickly

I call it digital age eating. Grab on the go, eat in a hurry. Mom was right, you know, about eating slowly. When you eat too fast, you skip chewing and swallow too  much air. The next thing you know – you’re full of it. Bloat.

What can you do? Make it a habit to eat slowly. Relish each mouthful. Digestion begins in the mouth. Chew your food well. Eat mindfully. Besides enjoying your food, you’ll also find you snack less. Cutting down on snacking means – yep – weight loss!

Fizzy drink overdose

Soft drinks, especially the fizzy type, trap gas in the body. This includes the diet version too! Switch to water instead. Want flavor? Add lemon or cucumber slices. Cut down on those fizzies. Enjoy a cup of tea! And you know what? Those soft drinks are loaded with sugar. Sugar you don’t need.

Gum

I used to be a big gum chewer. I quit. Chewing gum is a cause for bloat – because we swallow air when we chew gum. So ditch that gum. If you have to chew something, how about fruit, veggies or low-fat popcorn? I know it takes effort to say goodbye to gum, but oh, so worth it!

Artificial sweeteners

They seem like God’s gift to those cutting down on sugar, right? Sadly, artificial sweeteners are not angelic. They cause bloat. If you can’t do without, restrict yourself to two servings of “sugar-free” foods and drinks per day. Of course, chucking them altogether is the best thing to do.

Salt

That should read processed foods. To keep them fresh, processed foods are high in salt and low in fiber. The result? Bloat. Here is what you do – read food labels carefully. If your shopping list is full of processed / canned / frozen items, check its label. If you see more than 500 mg of sodium per serving, drop it. Look for “low or very low sodium” alternatives.
And by the way, did you know we can live without salt? Salt is an acquired taste. Dieticians suggest that we use table salt, rather than cook with salt as this cuts down our salt intake significantly. We get the salt our body needs from the fruits and vegetables in our diet.

Some veggies

Some veggies get a bad rap because of bloat. Examples are Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, prunes, apricots…more so if you are not accustomed to eating them. So don’t stop eating these high-fiber veggies. Add them to their diet gradually. Check with your doctor to find out how you can eliminate gas as a result of this – antacids, perhaps, depending on your constitution and health condition.

Three large meals a day

Most of us habitually eat three meals – breakfast, lunch and dinner. Some of us – maybe most of us – skip one. Or two.  Outcome? Gas. The long gaps between meals not only causes bloat, but blood sugar spikes. Make it a habit to eat five or six smaller meals through the day. Consult your doctor / dietician about your calorie needs – you don’t want to end up overeating, right? And we’re talking healthy meals here. Not just eating six times a day.

Remember, if you want flat, not flatulent,

  • Not to skip meals.
  • Laxatives and fasting are not the solution to get rid of bloat. And no, they don’t help with weight loss!
  • You have to lose pounds to achieve that flat belly.
  • When you lose weight, belly fat goes first.
  • Overdoing those ab exercises won’t zap your belly fat
  • Toning and strengthening your ab muscles will help flatten your belly, improve your posture and keep back pain at bay.

Whether you want to lose weight, eat for better health or boost your energy levels – taking action is key. After all, health is wealth, Life will only get busier.

*If your stomach bloating is because of a medical condition, please talk to your doctor*

Have you experienced bloating?

How do you overcome it? Share your tips in the comments!

 

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6 Comments

  • Reply
    Obsessivemom
    November 12, 2014 at 7:40 pm

    This was such an informative piece Vidya. You almost echoed my dietician, who I’ve been going to for the past few months. That idea of adding table salt sounds good. Is it really true that tummy fat goes first when we start losing weight? It doesn’t happen for me.

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      November 12, 2014 at 7:46 pm

      It is true, Tulika. When I changed my lifestyle completely after being diagnosed with diabetes a year ago, I was thrilled to see that my tummy fat was the first to disappear. While I didn’t really have a paunch and could get away with looking alright with the right clothes, I did need some toning.The funny thing is, two months down the line I found that some of my clothes seemed a size too big. Then out of curiosity I tried on an old pair of jeans (okay, very old) and they fit! Solid motivation to keep on doing what I was doing. The trick is vigorous exercise along with the healthy diet. It works. 🙂
      Vidya Sury recently posted…Remembering A Cup Of PeaceMy Profile

  • Reply
    Nicole
    November 13, 2014 at 4:29 am

    Thanks for a an interesting article full of informative tips!

  • Reply
    Birgit
    November 13, 2014 at 9:00 am

    This is great info! I do most of these things but I still eat fast. I try to slow down but I could never be like my brother who can sit for an hour to eat one meal-it’s cold already! I have IBS and used to have such pain and would have to lay out. I am one of the rare ones that when I had more fiber I got worse! I asked my Dr and he said there are a rare few where eating too much fiber for a person actually harms and I am one of those few. I have plenty of nuts, veggies and fruit. No matter what I did and even was I was a tiny 116 lbs (that was many, many moons ago) I still had a belly-not the stomach but lower and I call it my BIF-bum in Front:)
    Birgit recently posted…Christmas is a coming….faster than we think!My Profile

  • Reply
    Sarah Arrow
    November 13, 2014 at 8:33 pm

    Vidya I’m still laughing at “Or a case of shit doesn’t happen!”. This is a great post sharing how to beat the bloat, however after reading it I know it’s not bloat but fat!
    Sarah Arrow recently posted…Webinars: Are you advertising them enough?My Profile

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      November 13, 2014 at 10:45 pm

      🙂 That’s a standard phrase at home, Sarah! These tips also work to melt fat – as I can endorse 😀 Thank you for coming by!
      Vidya Sury recently posted…Kindness. Always Possible!My Profile

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