Feeling sluggish and lethargic at work because of your bloated belly? Find out the common reasons why you’re always feeling this way.
Although bloating rarely poses any serious health threat, we can all agree on one thing: it sucks. Feeling bloated and all heavy and sluggish, even though you last ate a couple of hours ago can be really uncomfortable. Not to mention the fear that you may not be able to button up your jeans or the struggle to conceal the bulging food baby. If you experience bloating frequently, here are the reasons why.
1. You’re eating too quickly
This is something you might not realise you have been doing. When you eat too quickly, your body doesn’t have the time to track your consumption and send the appropriate signals to your brain, causing you to eat more than necessary. It often also means you are not chewing your food properly making it harder for your body to break down the food. Wolfing down your food also causes you to gulp down large quantities of air to cause bloating.
2. You’re overeating
This is one of the most common causes behind bloating. Your stomach has a volume of around one litre, four at a stretch. If you are eating way more than your stomach can handle, your body struggles to digest it. Exercise portion control and eat slowly to prevent overeating.
3. You’re eating irregularly
Going long hours without eating is a big no-no and will cause your digestive system and metabolism to crash. You may think you are cutting down on the cals by skipping breakfast, but that heavy lunch you are having to curb your hunger pangs is likely to cause bloating. The sudden large intake of food causes a surge in blood sugar and insulin levels to leave you feeling stuffed. You will be experiencing discomfort and sluggishness worse than a food coma, and that cup of joe to perk yourself up will only aggravate the bloating.
4. You’re suffering from food intolerance
Many people suffer from lactose intolerance where their bodies are unable to break down the natural sugar lactose found in dairy. Even if you are not lactose intolerant, you may suffer from issues like bloating if you overconsume dairy products and your small intestine is unable to produce enough enzymes to digest lactose. Other common food intolerances include nuts and gluten. It may take a bit of trial and error to figure out what foods doesn’t work for your system, but you should experience less bloating when you eliminate the culprit.
5. You aren’t drinking enough water
This may seem counterintuitive but drinking lots of water can actually prevent you from feeling all puffed up. Dehydration causes your body to retain water causing you to feel heavy and puffy. So drink up but avoid artificially sweetened or carbonated drinks that will worsen the bloating.
6. You’re eating gassy foods
If you are trying to break the bloat, it’s best to steer clear of foods that cause gassiness. This includes raw cruciferous veggies like broccoli and cauliflower as they contain short-chain carbohydrates and sugar alcohol that cause bloating. Fruits like watermelon are also high in fructose and will result in gassiness or even diarrhea.
7. You’re experiencing hormonal changes
It’s common to experience bloating, fluid retention and constipation before and during your menstrual cycle. This is due to the rise in oestrogen levels and thickening of your uterine lining. It may get worse when you start to menstruate and more fluids and blood build up. Rest assured, your bloating issues will subside towards the end of your period when your body has expelled all the excess fluid and blood. While you can’t do much about your hormones, you can consume probiotic-rich foods like yogurt or kombucha to optimise your digestive system and ease the bloating.
8. You’re choosing hard-to-digest food combinations
We are well aware that sugary foods and carbonated drinks can lead to bloating. But did you know that there are some food combinations that can have a similar effect? Dairy and starch together are the biggest culprits behind bloating. Think margherita pizzas – the cheesy and doughy combination is bad news for your digestive system.