Bloating: Symptoms, Causes and Prevention

Bloating is one of those irritating things that suddenly come out of nowhere and ruin all the hard work you have put in. You have worked very hard to get rid of your round belly and bloating just destroys your hard work in a few hours. In this article we will talk about bloating, why it happens and how can you avoid it.

Before we get into bloating, lets first understand if you are bloated or not. You have to be careful though many times what we think is bloating can actually be the real body fat. So how do you distinguish between the two? Here are a few indications that may indicate that your belly is bloated.

  1. You wake up in the morning with are flat belly, and then as your day progresses your belly also swells.
  2. After eating your meal you always feel some type of pressure in your belly as if your belly is expanding.
  3. Although your belly is bulging and round, you do not feel your belly shaking when you run, jump or go down the stairs.
  4. You cannot make a fold on your belly or grab hold of it when your belly is swollen.

Once you have realized that you are bloated what can you do to avoid it? Before we get to that lets first understand the reason for your bloating.

What Causes Belly Bloating

Below are the reasons why your belly might be bloated.

Eating Dairy: Milk is one of the healthiest foods that you can include in your diet, however eating dairy can lead to bloating in many of us. The reason for such Dairy induced bloating is lactose intolerance. When we talk about lactose intolerance most people think that it is some type of allergy in our body to milk, which is incorrect. What really is happening here is this: Milk has a sugar in it called lactose. For lactose intolerant individuals, their body is not able to make an enzyme called lactase. Lactase plays a crucial role in digesting lactose. Due to the absence of lactase, these individuals are not able to digest lactose. This undigested lactose ends up in their intestines where bacteria decomposes it and as a result produces a lot of gas. This gas causes bloating and discomfort.

Gluten Sensitivity: Gluten sensitivity is another major reason for bloating. Gluten is a type of a protein found in grains such as Wheat, Barley and Rye. Many people do not have the capacity to digest Gluten completely and jut as in case of lactose intolerance; this Gluten ends up in their intestines where it is broken down by bacteria and cause bloating. Recent studies actually are indicating that maybe it is not Gluten, which is the culprit, but a group of carbs called FODMAP, which might be causing the bloating. As an example beans have a particular sugar called oligosaccharides that the human body cannot break down fully and so it ends up in the large intestine and causes bloating.

This is the same reason why eating too much fiber causes bloating. Fiber is also something our body cannot digest and so it ends up in our colon, where bacterial breakdown happens and gas is produced.

Bloating with Water: Gas is not the only source of bloating, water also causes bloating. You can be bloated if your body retains too much water. Eating too much salt makes it difficult for your kidneys to filter water out. So your body retains water and you look bloated. The difference between gas bloating and water bloating is that with gas, you will mostly have belly bloating, while with water your whole body will be bloated including your face, your arms and all over your body.

There are various other sources of bloating, which may differ from person to person. These include

  1. Eating your food too quickly
  2. Eating sugary food
  3. Drinking carbonated drinks
  4. Stress and elevated cortisol levels
  5. Eating spicy food

How to avoid Bloating

Finally we come to the question of how to avoid bloating. Based on the reason for why bloating occurs, we observe a trend. Although there are various reasons for bloating one thing is certain that it occurs when we eat something. The general trend is that there is something our body cannot digest and so bacteria in our guts have to break it down and as a byproduct gas is generated, which bloats us.

The solution there is simple. Keep a keen eye on what you are ate before you felt bloated. After a number of observations, you will be able to pinpoint the exact food that repeatedly causes bloating. Start avoiding that food and see if the bloating goes away. If it does then there you have it, you have solved your problem of bloating. If not then identify some other food and then see if avoiding that reduces bloating.

If you cannot avoid eating the foods that cause bloating then, you can considering taking digestive enzyme supplements such as Lactase for lactose intolerance and Beano if you are bloated due to carbs.

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