So hands up how many of you have experienced some form of bloating?
I know I have!
It can range from relatively mild to full blown 6 months pregnant looking and can be really uncomfortable and stops you from going out or wearing those beautiful dresses that cling in all the right places (or wrong places when this flares up!)
But what is bloating and why do we experience it?
To put it quite simply its you gut telling you its not happy and that it cant tolerate something you've put in your body. It can be quite a serious health issue and should be taken seriously.
If you experience bloating regularly its important to investigate it and seek medical advice if the problem persists.
The first steps in investigating your symptoms is to keep a diary of events. Make notes of time of day you experience it and the food you have consumed that day and particularly a few hours before. (if you seek advice from a doctor they will want as much info a possible, so this will come in handy).
Research has shown that an imbalance of good and bad bacteria in the gut, known as dysbiosis, can result in a number of digestive health conditions including bloating.
Foods that are usually culprits of bloating include:
Some whole grain due to its high fibre content
Artificial sweeteners, sorbitol, xylitol, fructose
Beans and lentil
Cruciferous vegetable such as broccoli, brussle sprouts, cauliflower, boo choy.
Many people have an intolerance to some food groups, this can range from mild to severe. For the most part those individuals with severe intolerance know about them and avoid those foods. You may not experience symptoms straight away form eating a lot of grain or dairy but a build up over a number of days could result in bloating or discomfort.
It is also possible that stress can effect how well your digestive system works. Research from the Harvard Medical School have suggested that there is a strong correlation between biological, psychological, and social stress contribute to the development of a functional gastrointestinal disorder. Numerous studies have suggested that stress may be particularly important, however. The relationship between environmental or psychological stress and gastrointestinal distress is complex and bidirectional: stress can trigger and worsen gastrointestinal pain and other symptoms, and vice versa.
Steps to Prevention:
There are a few steps you can take to prevent bloating:
Avoid chewing gum or carbonated drinks.
Stay away from foods with high levels of fructose or sorbitol
Avoid foods that can produce gas, such as Brussels sprouts, turnips, cabbage, beans,
Do not eat too quickly.
Incorporate a good probiotic into your diet, (supplement with well-researched strains (specific types of the bacteria), such as Lactobacillus acidophilus Rosell-52 or Lactobacillus casei Rosell-215, which have both been shown to help with bloating in particular.)
The most important step to take is to record any instances when the problem flares up. There is no quick fix or one size fits all solution. what might work for one may not work for another.
If you are still concerned speak with your GP or naturopath for alternative remedies.