Identify an intolerance
Many cases of bloated tummies are actually down to food intolerances, especially dairy. As you get older you produce less of the lactase enzyme, which is responsible for breaking down the sugars in milk (lactose). This makes it way harder for your body to digest dairy. So, if your body can’t break down something like lactose normally, then it finishes the process in your colon, which produces gas and feels super uncomfortable. Try tracking when the bloatedness occurs to see if it follows a pattern with your food consumption. Or, just cut dairy out and see how you feel. There are also many other reasons dairy is not great for you so whether it is the route to your problem or not you’ll feel benefits such as weight loss, clearer skin and more energy. It’s a win win.
Say goodbye to salt
If you have a diet high in salt your body will hold on to excess water to try and dilute it. So refrain from adding extra salt to your meals. This is the easy part. What’s not so easy is working out how much hidden salt is in EVERYTHING. The best way around this is by cooking from scratch, as that way you are the master of your meal and control exactly what goes in (or stays out) of it. If you are using canned foods, like kidney beans, make sure you rinse them well as they are often stored in salty water.
Eat slower and more mindfully
If you wolf down your food at great speed you’ll also ingest more air, which in turn will bloat you and make you quite gassy. If you find that you often eat on the go this can be a problem as the time pressure of fitting in your meal will not only cause you to eat quickly but also, often, stressfully, which will make it harder to digest and often cause a painful type of bloating. Therefore, make time for your meals. Sit down and eat them off a plate.
Avocado is full of potassium, which plays an important role when it comes to bloating as it reduces any puffiness caused by an excess in sodium (salt). Coconut water and bananas also contain a lot of potassium so if your not a fan of avocado then try these.
Lose the booze
Alcohol stops your body from processing things properly and is also very acidic. This acidity is not good for a number of reasons, but one of the main ones is that an acidic body will tend to hold onto excess water for longer. So, although you feel like you are peeing all the water out, your body is in fact in a confused state and so is operating entirely inefficiently. Also the excess amount of sugar in your body will also cause puffiness in unwanted areas, this is exaggerated more if you choose sugary booze such as tequila which is 90 per cent fructose. If you must drink stick to low sugar options like vodka.
Exercise is wise
When it comes to bloating, exercise is key. Physical exercise helps trapped air pass through your digestive tract quicker, allowing for the bloated feeling to subside much quicker than if you choose to lie down for the rest of the afternoon. In fact, a recent Swedish study revealed that moderate exercise, such as a 30 minute bike ride three times a week, significantly improves bloating.
Image by Phillip Papadis