Health and wellness expert, Renée Leonard-Stainton discusses 5 nutritional tips to help you relieve and avoid stomach bloating.
It’s a sensation most of us are familiar with...The dreaded stomach bloat. It’s uncomfortable, sometimes painful and never welcome. We’re not just talking about carrying a few extra kilos around the middle, it’s that temporary abdominal distention that can make you look like, out of nowhere, you’re 5 months pregnant. Not fun! So, what can we do to avoid bloating? Here are 5 nutritional tips to help get you started
Lay off the salt
Excess sodium causes you to retain water, so try and limit highly salted foods such as hot chips, crackers, processed food, bacon, soy sauce, and canned foods. Always opt for fresh food over processed. If you do still buy processed, canned, or frozen foods, aim for no more than 500 mg of sodium per serving in any product (or a total of 1,500 to 2,000 mg of sodium per day).
When you're not drinking enough fluids, your body retains water to prevent dehydration. So, sipping on water throughout the day is a must if you want to beat the bloat. Drinking water also prevents constipation, which is another cause of a bloated belly. Increasing foods with high water content such as watermelon, celery, grapefruit, and cucumbers can also help.
Limit carbonated drinks
Carbonated drinks create more gases in your body than others, so limit consumption of these drinks. The fizz in carbonated drinks (even diet ones) can cause gas to get trapped in your belly. As an alternative, try drinking water flavored with lemon, lime, or cucumber. Another great option is warm or iced peppermint tea for a soothing beverage that may actually help to reduce bloat.
Fibre helps everything move through the intestines faster and more efficiently, which helps to prevent constipation and bloating. If you’re not currently eating much fibre in your diet, increase your daily consumption gradually so as not to shock your system and further increase bloating. Foods high in fiber include bran, whole grains, kiwi fruit and legumes.
Keep a food diary
If you find yourself frequently experiencing abdominal discomfort, it could be a good idea to keep a food diary to track what you eat and how those foods make you feel. Discuss these observations with a health professional and consider reducing consumption of the offending foods. Some of the more common culprits include:
- Cruciferous vegetables - Greens like broccoli, brussel sprouts and cabbage contain sulfur and a carbohydrate called raffinose, both of which are hard for the body to break down. However, these vegetables are obviously extremely healthy too, so to continue to enjoy their health benefits while avoiding the bloat, ensure that they are always cooked rather than raw. Cooking helps to break these compounds down, making them more digestible.
- Dairy - Dairy doesn't cause bloating for everyone, but many adults have some kind of lactose intolerance, which is when the body doesn't have the necessary enzyme to break down the lactose sugar. Because those who are dairy intolerant often don’t have the enzyme, it can cause increased gassiness when the lactose sugar is not broken down properly.
Why not give some of these tips a try and see if you can say bye-bye to the bloat!