It’s January, so we’re willing to bet you know how bloat feels. We all just made it through some of the most joyful months of the year, but unfortunately, those months tend to also be filled with excess alcohol and heavier foods than our systems are used to. And unfortunately, though green and red lights and festive lattes are relegated to the months leading up to Christmas and New Year’s, bloat is something that can strike anytime, anywhere.
And you know what? We don’t like it either. It can feel like your belly is swollen, like you are painfully full or that you’ve got something lodged in your digestive tract that shouldn’t be there. It can be mild and easy to ignore or extreme and demanding of immediate attention, which can actually signify serious health concerns.
However your bloat manifests, it’s much easier than you think to banish the bloat with some simple lifestyle changes. We’re breaking down the bloat into the most common causes and providing you with manageable solutions to get rid of it, fast.
Hormones. If you’re a woman, then this comes as no surprise to you. When women are menstruating, bloating can flare up with particular fervour. Along with the other unpleasant symptoms we experience when on our periods, a hormonal imbalance of oestrogen and progesterone can lead to unusual bloating. The high oestrogen levels promote water retention, making you feel as if your belly is bloated.
The solution. You may be reaching for those salty, crunchy chips or that pint of ice cream, ready to nest in bed for the duration of your period, but this is actually the worst thing you can do. Stay on track with your usual, nutrient-dense diet and get in some gentle exercise. And don’t forget to stay hydrated!
IBS. What if your bloating doesn’t usually act alone? What if it often comes along with gas, constipation and tummy aches? Well, then you may be suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome. If this is the case, then you are likely to have a sensitive gut.
The solution. If you do have a sensitive gut, then you’ll need to play around with your diet to find out which foods are causing your symptoms, eventually removing the triggers. It could be whole grains, or it could be beans. But whatever it is, a little trial and error will lead you to a solution in no time!
Food intolerances. So many of us only really experience bloating right after meals, and unfortunately this probably means you’re reacting to a specific food. Food intolerances also affect your energy levels and skin, so if you have problems here, it would be a good indicator that a food intolerance is to blame.
The solution. There’s a reason we’re vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free and refined sugar-free here at TCPJ! Why, you ask? Well, one reason is that dairy, gluten and soy products are all common offenders when it comes to bloat. If you suspect you have a food intolerance, start keeping a food diary to see if there are any patterns that you can pin down, and absolutely feel free to consult with your GP if you want to investigate this even more.