You know that feeling. That heavy, uncomfortable feeling right around your waist. You have to unbutton your pants, wear a loose shirt or throw on sweatpants just to feel some sort of relief. You look in the mirror and you appear to be 6 months pregnant without the baby…
Sure we have all dealt with bloating from time to time – some of us even daily. And to most of us it has become such a regular occurrence we deem it as normal. I am here to tell you, BLOATING IS NOT NORMAL.
Of course sometimes we can over-do it and eat a big bowl of brussel sprouts or cauliflower could leave you feeling bloated and gassy, and yes, that’s pretty normal. But if you are finding yourself bloated every day, that is not normal.
A lot of the time bloating is due to your diet with culprits like dairy, SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth), or Leaky Gut syndrome and food intolerances. But there are some lifestyle and diet choices that could be leading to this constant bloat and that is what I am going to dive in to today.
The nutrition aspect is a very LARGE contributor to bloating but if you have tried everything nutritionally and are still experiencing chronic bloating this post is for you!
I had dealt with bloating for awhile despite my immaculate diet and clearing my digestive issues. Every day around 2 in the afternoon like clockwork, I would be bloated for the rest of the night. I didn’t realize that all I needed to do was make some simple changes and swaps in my day to day to eliminate this feeling. Who would have guessed that not eating often enough or that straw with my water was causing me to feel so bloated and uncomfortable!
Here are the 8 unexpected things that might be causing your bloat:
No I am not telling you to eliminate water from your diet, but could you be over doing it or undergoing it? Drinking it a the wrong times? Or at the wrong temperature?
You should be drinking half your body weight in ounces every day. This water should be room temperature, not ice cold, and at least 30 minutes before a meal and after a meal but never while eating. Yes, this sounds like a lot! But water is a big culprit to bloating if not consumed properly.
If you drink too much water or drink it during a meal you can deplete your gut of the healthy bacteria needed to digest your food. Also by consuming too much water you can deplete your body of sodium also causing bloating. Try adding a little himalayan salt to your water to prevent sodium levels from depleting.
If you are not drinking enough water you could be dehydrated, in this case your body retains fluid leading to bloating. Drinking more water actually reduces water retention.
Also, keep in mind, you should be having a productive bowel movement every single day, yes, EVERY SINGLE DAY. If you are not, I can tell you right now that is the #1 cause of your bloating. Not drinking enough water can cause constipation. If that is not the case for you and you still struggle with constipation, we need to chat.
Feel free to email me.
2. Not Eating Often Enough
One thing I notice in myself is that when I go longer than usual without eating I get very bloated until I eat my next meal. The only explanation for this is that during that time your stomach is empty and fills with air. Pay attention to your body and if you find this happening to you, make sure you eat every couple hours. This took me some time to tune in to.
3. Eating Too Fast, Carbonated Beverages, Gum, and Straws
I combined all these together since they have the same reason for their bloat cause: extra air! All those bubbles in carbonated beverages, the extra air consumed from sipping on a straw, chewing gum or eating too fast.
Some people think that drinking a carbonated drink like ginger ale can relieve them of a stomach ache, this can be true. Altho I would not recommend it. I don’t think a can of ginger ale is going to benefit you in any way. It is one of the most highly processed, chemical ridden drinks on the planet. Plus, the sugar content in ginger ale can actually cause diarrhea and exacerbate dehydration. Typically if a carbonated beverage helps your stomach ache that means the cause of your stomach ache is due to trapped gas. Keep that in mind the next time you reach for a Ginger Ale to relieve a stomach ache and try going for a walk or getting some movement in to relieve yourself.
Fun fact: Ginger ale actually contains NO GINGER. It is 100% sugar and artificial ingredients. There is false belief that ginger ale contains the herb ginger which does actually help with stomach aches!
4. Artificial Sweeteners
You know those little water enhancers? Add those packets of Crystal Light or drops of Mio to your water and you are just asking for an uncomfortable, extended abdomen and in some cases a major gas attack!
Most water enhancers are full of junk ingredients and sweeteners like sucralose and sorbitol which are artificial sweeteners that can not be digested. Some contain a natural sugar called fructose which is also extremely hard to digest, natural or not. Also, bad gut bacteria THRIVE off of this stuff. You can find these sweeteners, splenda or sweet n’ low (just to name a few) in creamers, dairy-free creamers, packaged foods, coffee, energy drinks, and candies. Stay away from the water enhancers and the artificial sweeteners if you suffer from bloating or digestive distress in any form, they are highly toxic and our bodies do not recognize them as food.
5. Birth Control, Ibuprofen and Antibiotics
Surprise, surprise: Birth Control pills cause fluid and salt retention (bloating), as well as weight gain. Just do yourself a favor, ditch those toxic little things.
Ibuprofen and other pain medications cause inflammation in your gut and damage your intestinal lining causing chronic bloating. They also cause fluid retention so they can make you feel and look puffy all over.
Antibiotics kill bad bacteria, but they also kill off huge numbers of the good bacteria essential for gut health. These bad guys cause undesirable gas-producing microbes. The result is dysbiosis or bacterial imbalance, one of the most common causes of bloating.
6. Too Many Vegetables
A lot of times when people begin their journey into healthier eating habits they end up switching to a very high vegetable diet. All that unexpected fiber can leave you feeling bloated. Try eating your vegetables with a starch and/or protein.
Coffee is an acidic beverage that can cause gastritis, an inflammation of the stomach lining that can result in bloating. Try eliminating coffee for a week and see if your bloating goes down.
8. A Bad Mood and Stress
Did you know serotonin “the feel good hormone” is made in the gut? If your gut is off so will your mood and vice versa. Eating in a sympathetic state (stressed out) will cause you to not be able to create enough Hydrochloric Acid which is something we need, contrary to popular belief, in order to digest our food appropriately. Have you ever noticed that when you are stressed or in a bad mood you tend to have more digestive issues?
Side note: Mental health is so important, if you are not willing to heal that part of your life, you will never heal your gut or get rid of bloating.
If you find that none of these are helping, you may need to go on a short-term Low FODMAP diet. Have questions about how to go about this? Feel free to email me, I’ve been there.
Lastly, if you feel you need a little extra support digestively. Here are some supplements I love that have helped with my occasional bloating: