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We've all done it, eaten too much and then having to navigate your body through the uncomfortable stomach pains of being bloated and/or too full to move. The holiday season is a pretty popular time to over-indulge in treats and foods we would not normally have sitting in front of us.
I wanted to take a moment and break down what bloating is, and how we can prevent it. Not only do we hate the way it looks (burrito baby-like) but it can be painful and exhausting.
Bloating is not fat that has accumulated around you midsection. It is a temporary condition of trapped air (gas) that creates a distention (big belly) in your abdomen, likely caused by the food you've recently eaten. This is important to note because it can be prevented quite easily and should not be confused with weight gain.
There are a few reasons gas gets trapped in your abdomen:
1. Food allergies or intolerances: The biggest culprit is dairy and gluten. There is gluten in pretty much every baked good or processed cracker, cookie or bread. It is an irritant that can hinder digestion and ferment in your gut, causing, you guessed it, excess trapped gas.
2. Sugars: Processed sugars are easily fermented in the gut and create inflammation that seriously inhibits the digestive cycle. Once ingested, your body has to expend extra energy to "take care" of the sugars and process them into waste. This is why you will get a sugar crash after eating it and feel lethargic.
3. Food that are difficult to digest: This varies for everybody, but some foods include: broccoli, corn, oats, pasteurized dairy and processed carbohydrates.
Now you know what is causing it, how do you stay away from it? You remain mindful and intentional about what you are eating. Is the food in front of you worth the pain and discomfort that it will cause later?
Here are a few tips to reduce bloating and make better choices:
- Don't drink carbonated beverages - most contain outrageous amounts of sugar, and the carbonation will also add to the trapped gasses in the stomach.
- Don't chew gum - it also has artificial sugars and causes you to swallow unnecessary air!
- Find a good probiotic- there are supplements on the market or naturally fermented foods like sauerkraut, kombucha and kimchi. Probiotics are the good bacteria in your gut that aids with digestion and helps to eliminate toxins that might irritate your bowels. I take a probiotic every day!
- Increase your hydration!! You should be drinking water to flush out the irritants in your food and help your organs do their jobs, which is to create energy and waste.
Prepare yourself when you know you might be faced with food choices that aren't healthy. You can quite easily identify foods that are not only unhealthy but will do damage in your gut.
Eleanor Duelley is a Stay-at-home mom of 3 children, a Military Veteran, Naval Aviator Spouse and Certified Holistic Health Coach. Throughout the last decade, she had struggled with the ups and downs of weight loss and living a healthy lifestyle until finding a her balance through whole-foods nutrition. She graduated from the prestigious Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York City to become an Online Holistic Health Coach and to support and share the amazing possibilities of health and wellness for women all over the world.