Beat the bloat

The feeling of discomfort, expansion, carrying extra weight around is frustrating. Let’s assess a few habits that may be playing culprit.

We all know the feeling that comes with being bloated! We blame overeating and probably not eating sometimes. However, there’s more that we should know.

Salty much: Consuming salt in excess, especially when coupled with low water consumption or less mineral intake leads to water being taken out from the cells and being deposited into the spaces between cells. This gives the appearance of being puffy.

Fool us not, sweeteners: Remember binging on sugar-free candies and feeling like a balloon right after, wondering what’s the point of the sugar-free status. Chemicals in artificial sweeteners don’t get absorbed in the small intestine and end up in the colon, where they’re fermented by bacteria. Next time, read those labels carefully – often-heard-of maltitol, xylitol, sorbitol and mannitol may not be the friends we believed them to be.

Say no to sports drinks: The way you choose to rehydrate yourself after a workout may be causing your belly to bloat. Sports drinks are loaded with sugar and sweeteners. If you’re looking for hydration, water and a banana should be your go-to duo. Unflavored coconut water also does wonders.

Chew some more: We seldom paid heed when our mothers asked us to chew our food slowly. There was a reason to it. Chewing helps in pre-digesting the food by mechanically breaking it down. It then becomes easier for the saliva to break it down further via enzymes. So you can imagine when you gulp food down in a hurry, your stomach as well as the small intestine need to do extra work. Bloating is unavoidable then!

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Catch a wink: Did you know our central nervous system has two branches, namely, “fight and flight” and “rest and digest”. When we don’t get enough sleep or are overworked, the prior begins to dominate and the smooth functioning of the gut gets affected, causing bloating.

Know the “sensitivity”: Many of us walk around, eating anything that catches our interest without realizing that we may be allergic to some of it. Slow down as you eat to let your body and mind process it, take a step back to think what makes you uncomfortable.

Bloating is an indicator of trouble in paradise. It’s obvious something is not right. You know your body best. Try to assess what works and what doesn’t work for you. Remember to move and stay fit.

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