I’ll never forget the day I was picking up a prescription and the pharmacist asked me if I was pregnant. I wasn’t, but it was a question I had been asked before. I am naturally thin apart from my stomach, which after eating tends to bloat out from my body and take on the appearance of a woman who is around 7 months pregnant. I couldn’t understand why if I wasn’t overweight anywhere else on my body, it would concentrate on my stomach.
After a while I began to take a food diary, to see if certain foods triggered off a bloating in my stomach. And although I found that bread and pasta caused a little bloating, it was not the only cause. So I have rounded up a list of tips and possible reasons, for anyone who has also suffered from stomach bloating. See if any of these help you:
1. Poor digestion
A sluggish digestion can lead to food remaining in your stomach and guts for too long, and releasing gases that bloat you up. Get your digestion moving again by taking a good probiotic. Look for supplements that contain at least a billion organisms per gram dose and are located in the chilled areas, as they will be fresher. Also try cider vinegar which can help to stimulate stomach acid, allowing the natural digestive enzymes to function more effectively. Take a spoonful of apple cider vinegar and dilute in a quarter cup of warm water. Drink before and after each meal.
2. Eliminate certain foods
Gas producing foods include beans such as chickpeas, kidney beans, lentils, and vegetables including broccoli and cauliflower. Bread and pasta that contains wheat is also one of the most common causes of stomach bloating. So try going without for a week or so to see if it makes a difference. You can also find that too much citrus fruit can result in an excess of ‘fermentation’ which leads to gas being deposited in your gut. So limit yourself to only three portions of fruit a day. Some people have problems with the lactose in dairy products. Switch from dairy to soya, almond or rice milks.
3. Stay hydrated
Some people think that water retention is a major cause of stomach bloating, but this is not the case. In fact, if you deprive your body of food or water, it goes into a ‘starvation’ mode, and and tries to retain whatever water or food it already has, and this can cause bloating. So make sure you are drinking at least 6 to 8 glasses of water a day.
4. Eat correctly
Are you one of those people who eat on the go, perch on the edge of your sofa stuffing a TV meal down quickly, or miss meals then binge late at night? You need to change your habits. The best way to eat is to take regular, small meals at frequent intervals. Then your body knows what to expect and when. Eat slowly, enjoy every mouthful and when you start to feel full up – stop eating. If you eat quickly you tend to swallow more air which makes your stomach bloated and you don’t allow your stomach enough time to send the signal to your brain that your are full,, which leads to overeating.
5. Get up after eating
You shouldn’t feel that full after a meal that you want to flop on the sofa, but if you do, try getting up and either doing the washing up straight away, or going for a short walk around the block. This helps to get the digestive system moving and will help the gasses pass through the system.