What’s the cause of a bloating belly?
Well, there isn’t just one cause for this condition. We all have different triggers, which can range from a hormone imbalance to constipation. It may be due to hunger, an allergy, stress, side effect of medication or an illness such as an ulcer or colitis, lack of exercise, missing meals, too much alcohol or too many refined sugary, processed foods.
So how can we better our bellies?
Firstly, and most importantly maintain a healthy balanced whole food diet of whole grain and unrefined carbohydrates. Your daily diet should include wholemeal bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, fresh or frozen vegetables, cereals such as Weetabix or porridge, fresh fish and fresh lean meat.
It is essential to include some fats in your diet such as oily fish. However, saturated fats found in cakes, biscuits and chocolate should be kept to a minimum. Wherever possible substitute foods for their low-fat option. Use skimmed milk or soya milk instead of semi-skimmed or full cream milk.
Do's & Don'ts
- Drink plenty of water.
- Keep dairy products to a minimum
- Cut down caffeine in tea and coffee; try herbal tea such as ginger or peppermint which eases nausea and helps trapped wind.
- Cut down on sparkling drinks and sugary fruit juices
- Reduce alcohol intake and avoid binge drinking
- Keep a food diary to identify any triggers of bloating. There could be something even in your healthy whole food diet that may bloat your stomach such as beans, raw vegetables, milk or too much yeast.
- Plan your diet for the day and get all the foods needed beforehand. It's important to eat at regular times throughout the day, so plan when you will eat. Also, plan how much you will have for each meal. Rather than eating three large meals a day, why not try eating 5-6 smaller meals throughout the day.
- Don’t eat too late at night; leave at least an hour gap between your last meal and going to bed.
- Eating too quickly can cause extra bloating, due to the extra air your taking in.
- Exercise regularly. Aim to do 30 minutes of vigorous exercise five times a week. Include planks during your workout and other stomach exercises.
- Yoga is a good form of exercise for the abdominal muscles and good generally for combating bloating bellies as it improves breathing techniques and reduces stress.