Ahh, loosen a couple of buttons and take a big sigh of relief; you’re not fat, just bloated. However, bloating can be quite uncomfortable, and not-so aesthetically pleasing. So let’s get to the bottom of this issue. There are numerous possible causes of bloating, here are six reasons that may be the reason for yours:
You’re Ingesting Too Much Gas or Air
The gas is a little more straight forward (*stares intensely into the eyes of heavy soda drinkers*), but you are also swallowing air every time you drink or eat something, especially if you’re using a straw. Ever heard the phrase: “I was so hungry I inhaled that food.” This has more truth to it than you’d initially think.
You see, when you eat really fast, you chew your food less and allow more surface area with each bite, causing a greater amount of air to be ingested overall. On top of that, you may have just eaten too much. It takes 30 minutes from the moment your stomach is full for your brain to send the satiation signals back.
Next time you feel bloated, recall if you have just eaten a meal way too fast or paired it with a lot of bubbly drinks. You may burp up some of those bubbles, but another chunk of each sip will end up reaching your intestines, where it will remain until you pass it.
FODMAP and Carb Overloads
Yes, pasta is delicious, we know. Pasta is not so fun after you’re done eating an exorbitant amount of it. It’s possible you ate too much pasta (an outrageous claim), or you’re sensitive to loads of carbs, or more specifically FODMAP’s.
FODMAP’s are short chain carbohydrates that are non-digestible. They reach the large intestine where they become food for your gut microbiome (if you want to learn more about balancing your microbiome check this out). These bacteria ferment the carbs and build up gasses in your gut. This can make you feel very full and bloated.
These cheeky little carbs are also osmotically active. This means that they pull water into your intestine, which can help contribute to the feeling of bloating.
Even if you’re not sensitive to FODMAP’s, a high dosage of carbohydrates can cause you to retain water and feel bloated. This is especially true the more simple the carb (such as processed goods, sugary cereals, white bread, and soft drinks). Complex carbohydrates take longer to digest and won’t swell you up quite as much.
You Have a Food Intolerance
Certain foods react differently to our digestive tracts depending on our individual make up. For example, some people feel bloating and upset stomach when they have dairy based products, others feel a bit off when they have too much caffeine.
If you think you may have an intolerance to a certain food, first take a detailed log of everything you eat for the next few days and track when the symptoms flare up. If you can’t seem to pinpoint what is causing the irritation, then consult your doctor. You can find out some more information on food intolerances here.
This one can often be overlooked, because most of us don’t track our regular movements. You only notice it once it becomes an issue. Constipation is a very common cause of bloating, we all experience it at some point.
This is a good thing, because it means there are typically simple fixes. Most of the time, we can get back to our ‘regular’ selves by doing some exercise, hydrating, eating more fibre, and curbing your stress levels.
Whether constipation is the reason for your bloating or not, you should still be keeping up on the recommendations above. Water, exercise, fibre, and chilling out are always good ideas.
You Have a Medical Condition
Trigger warning for hypochondriacs, but there can be underlying medical conditions around bloating. Typically, you will know when it’s a more serious condition due to the consistency and pain in your digestive system.
Some intestinal disorders include Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) and Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO, more on this later). These are typically only looked at after a few months of consistent intestinal issues, so don’t go running to the emergency room the first time you are bloated.
If you do suspect you are dealing with an intestinal disorder, it is best to consult your doctor.
Your Gut is Out of Whack
Here at That Hippie Co., we love our guts. We want you to love yours as well. So it’s important to ensure you are taking great care of it by balancing it out with good bacteria and good food. An unbalanced diet can lead to overgrowth of bad bacteria and cause discomfort.
A recent study showed that the typical western diet is high in processed goods, sugars, and unhealthy fats. Without proper readjustment, this can lead to “the pro-inflammatory potential of the microbiome.” Basically, the foods we ingest also become the foods our gut bacteria eat, and unhealthy foods cause more inflammatory strains to thrive. Bloating caused by an unbalanced gut are typically more chronic and displayed over months of discomfort.
Switching to a more plant-based diet can help kill off these harmful bacteria and enrich a healthy microbiome. Introducing a more diverse diet also increases short chain fatty acid production (SCFA), which has been shown to help repair gut damage and ease bloating and discomfort. Long story short; less burgers, more salads. There’s a tasty salad dressing for you to top it off with too!