Being bloated is the worst. Your abdomen feels full, tight, swollen and maybe even painful. It's uncomfortable, annoying and really messes with your mood. Sometimes it even affects your social life because when you are bloated, you just don't feel like doing anything. No bueno.
Bloating can be inevitable and caused by our monthly cycles or medical conditions like celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome or hernia. But more often bloating is a direct result of the food we are putting in our bodies.
It can be hard to pinpoint exactly what is causing us to feel bloated. Pay attention to what your body does after you eat. Identify your triggers and consider how you can avoid them so you can keep that belly flat and bloat-free. To help you get started, here are some common reasons you might be bloated and some tips on how to fix it.
#1. You Eat Too Fast
Eating too fast almost always leads to bloating. When we eat too quickly, we tend to inhale a lot of air and not chew our food well enough. As a result, we end up with gas and large pieces of food sitting in our belly.
Tip: Breath. Slow down and take time to really chew your food. You will notice a huge difference. Eating slowly will also give your body more time to recognize it is full so you can avoid overeating (another common culprit of bloating).
#2. You Are Eating Too Much Dairy
Did you know 3 in 4 people are intolerant to dairy? The crazy thing is that most of us don't even know it! If you have trouble digesting lactose or are allergic to casein, you will experience bloating after consuming dairy products.
Tip: Going dairy-free can seem impossible. Especially if you love cheese and ice cream as much as we do. Try some of our delicious, dairy-free alternatives like Mac n' 'Cheese and Banana Ice Cream
#3. You Are Eating Too Much Gluten
Gluten is a protein found in wheat and grains such as barley and rye. It's what gives bread its elasticity, helps it rise, keeps its shape and makes it chewy. For some people, eating gluten can trigger antibodies to attack the small intestine, which may cause serious bloating. Other symptoms of a gluten intolerance include brain fog, fatigue, diarrhea, headaches, inflammation and depression.
Since so many people have a sensitivity to gluten, most of our recipes are gluten-free. You can search for all gluten-free recipes using the “gluten-free” tag on That Clean Life.
#4. You Are Eating Too Much Sugar
Sorbitol and fructose are sugars commonly found in processed foods. Our bodies have trouble digesting these sugars, which can then cause gastrointestinal distress like bloating. Beware of sorbitol and fructose-containing foods like gum, candy and soda.
#5. You Are Eating Too Much Red Meat
The protein found in red meat is harder for our bodies to break down, which can cause bloating. So instead of a steak, reach for easier to digest animal products like chicken and fish.
#6. You Aren't Cooking Your Food
Raw food does have a ton of nutritional benefits but it is also more difficult for our bodies to digest. The cooking process softens the fibre and unwinds the protein, making them a bit easier for our bodies to digest and less likely to cause gas and bloating.
Tip: Lightly steaming your veggies can give you the best of both the raw and cooked worlds.
#7. You Are Stressed
Stress has a huge impact on our digestive system. It can alter the way we breathe and the way we digest food, which in turn can lead to bloating.
Tip: Exercising, meditating and music are all terrific ways to effectively manage stress. You have to make time to manage your stress so you can watch your bloating issues fade away.
#8. You Aren't Getting Enough Sleep
A lack of sleep affects us in so many ways. When we don't get enough sleep, our bodies release a stress hormone called cortisol, which disturbs our digestive system to cause things like bloating and constipation. A lack of sleep also causes us to crave carbohydrates, which lead us to overeat and feel bloated.
Tip: We all set a morning alarm, but try setting a bedtime alarm to remind you it's time to hit the sheets.
#9. You Aren't Drinking Enough Water
Dehydration causes your body to retain fluid, which may be why you are feeling bloated.
Tip: Start each day with a large glass of lemon water. This will ensure you are well hydrated incase you get busier later in the day and lemon is great to aid in digestion and fight off the bloat.
#10. You Are Eating Too Much Salt
Too much salt also causes our body to retain fluid, which makes us feel bloated. If you've overdosed on salty foods, drink plenty of water to flush it out
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