Are you eating a healthy(ish) diet yet feeling bloated and constipated a lot? While overeating and an unhealthy diet are usually the common reasons for bloating, even healthy people experience bloating and GI discomfort, myself included. Before losing 80 pounds, I never had distention, gas or bloating. Then I got healthy and everything changed. Welcome to the world of healthy! Here's you're hall pass to the bathroom and a bottle of diuretics.
So what gives? You're eating healthy and exercising yet you're sporting a very pregnant look. Read on for 10 Reasons Why You Are Bloated.
Seems obvious, but something as simple as drinking enough water can be the answer to why you're bloated. Drink enough water for your age, activity and where you live. Also, drink a glass of water prior to each meal.
The biggest culprit in my opinion. Sugar is hidden everywhere. In addition to being in fruits and vegetables, it's in almost every packaged food, dairy, meats and drinks in the form of many disguised sweeteners which can be 300 times sweeter than table sugar. Too much sugar causes inflammation hence, you're bloated. Stop eating sugar for a week. You'll be surprised.
A Low Fat Diet
Low fat foods have their fat replaced with sugar. So while you may think you're doing your body good by eating them, you're actually doing it more harm. Fat is one of three macronutrients that the body needs. Fat helps to absorb nutrients from foods otherwise it can steal minerals from bones. Eating a little healthy fat will keep your tummy slender. "Little" being the key word.
Lack of Omega-3's
Omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation (walnuts, hemp seeds, flaxseed oil, salmon). The key is getting enough because most people are deficient. They do need to be balanced with omega-6's. Many people overdose on omega-6's because they're readily available in our food supply. An official RDA ratio has not been set for omega-6 to omega-3 yet, but from what I've read 1:1 or 2:1 is a good ratio. When I'm bloated, a handful of walnuts goes a long way.
Not Enough Leafy Greens
Leafy greens are the magic de-bloating pill. While eating fruits and starchy vegetables are great, you need leafy greens to help digest them. Fruits and starches tend to be harder to digest and cause water retention. Leafy greens counteract this by providing the bulk that's needed to move things out of the body. Add 3 cups of leafy greens to your daily diet. It will do wonders for your bloated belly and health. Don't like greens? Add them to a smoothie!
Acidic pH Level
The body needs a certain pH level to survive. This means eating enough alkaline foods to balance acidic foods. Too much acidic could be why you're bloated. To determine your pH balance, you can use these at home test strips. If you're acidic, adding citrus to your water (citrus is alkaline in the body) along with drinking apple cider vinegar daily and eating more leafy greens will help to balance that. Reference the Alkaline-acid food chart to incorporate more alkaline foods in your diet.
Some medications kill good gut bacteria making it difficult to digest foods. Be aware of the side effects of your meds and take a quality probiotic to protect your gut. Dandelion root tea as well as alkalizing green powder are good detoxes that I use weekly.
Not Enough Gut Bacteria
Gut bacteria is very important to digestion and a number of factors cause it to get out of balance including eating certain too much sugar, processed foods, taking medications, stress and environmental pollutants. Consistent bloating can be a sign of leaky gut, small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) or food intolerances. Also low stomach acid or bile production can cause issues too. Taking a daily probiotic, eating prebiotic and probiotic foods, and eliminating dairy and gluten for awhile can restore gut health.
Food intolerances are not always something a person is born with. Many people develop food intolerances over the course of their lives and a bloating may be the only symptom. If bloating is consistently a problem, eliminate dairy, gluten, nuts and grains from your diet for 6 weeks. Then reintroduce a small amount of them, one at a time to find the culprit. A food allergy test may also be something to consider.
Probably the most well known contributor to health problems, yet the most under addressed. Chronic stress causes inflammation and a chain reaction of hormone imbalances leading to metabolic syndrome. This is what I was ultimately diagnosed with last year and I'm still recovering from it. Keeping your stress in check will keep you belly happy!
When it comes to bloating, there's no one simple or straight forward answer. Often a combination, of these issues need to be addressed. If there's one thing I recommend everyone try first, it's to cut out sugar. Most often this is the offender. We just don't realize it.