Not sure if you've been there, but I feel like at a certain age belly bloat is assumed to just "come with the territory."
Much like heartburn and insomnia, belly bloat are age-related...but they aren't?
Keep reading to discover four ways to beat belly bloat (that aren't supplement lists!)
1. Check in with your sleep.
***not to be confused with "you have to get more sleep"***
In today's day and age, a lot is demanded of you as a human. You need to work, you need to have a social life, you need to have a personal life, you need to have downtime, you need to prioritize financial health- the list is continuous!
Sleep is the one recovery period where things quieten down, and sleep has an impact on some of the hormones associated with digestion and appetite control: leptin. When your body is satiated after a meal, leptin is released from adipose tissue (fat stores) in the body and it then circulates to your brain to signal "I'm full, thanks for the yummy food!"
When you're tired, you're experiencing disrupted sleep (shift workers and new parents- I see you), or the quality/ quantity of the sleep you ARE getting isn't enough, this can impact leptin and its optimal function. This can lead to you eating more food to get more energy (it's natural, hormones in your body are asking for more energy from somewhere), eating more sugar (because your body is looking for energy), and possibly eating food that irritates your stomach (because you are SO desperate for that energy).
Don't fret. Check in with yourself though!
Maybe you can't change the quantity of hours that you sleep- can you change the quality? Minimize your screen time earlier in the evenings to ensure your brain has time to wind down?
Maybe you can't change the quality of the sleep that you are getting- can you change the number of hours you dedicate to resting in your day?
2. Keep a Food & Symptom Diary.
***not to be confused with "keep a strict food diary"***
One of the tools that I use frequently with clients in my nutritional therapy clinic is a food, mood, and symptom diary. With life on the go, high performers don't have the time to think about what food will make you feel at your best. You could be eating things that don't agree with you without even realizing- this happens so often in clients who are coming to me with low energy, stomach discomfort, and lower quality of life.
In being so busy, whether it be physically traveling or juggling multiple roles within your life (parent, partner, manager, etc), food choices are the first thing to be thrown away. It's survival of the fittest, after all.
Keeping a food, mood, and symptom diary is SUCH a simple way to see if what you're eating is working for you or not. Here's what a sample FMS diary can look like:
Breakfast: sourdough toast, two eggs, avocado, and cheese (9am)- feeling good!
Lunch: brown bread, smoked salmon, vegetable soup (1pm)- feeling kind of full, want something sweet
Snack: two chocolate digestives, one banana, cup of tea (4pm)- feeling tired, and gassy
Dinner: pasta, tomato sauce, diced chicken, green peas, carrots, onion, and parmesan cheese (7pm)- still feeling gassy, and bloated
After keeping an FMS diary for one to two weeks, you can go back and review your entries and see what common symptoms/ feelings are showing up, and after which particular meals. In the case of above, as a gut health practitioner I would suggest that gluten and gluten- containing ingredients perhaps don't agree with my client. I would then suggest eliminating "the suspect" for two weeks and see if symptoms improve. It can be really insightful!
P.s.- if you're struggling with gut health, uncomfortable bloating and pain, and discomfort in wearing your favourite outfits, I can't recommend Empowered Nutrition enough.
3. Support Your Gut Biodiversity.
***not to be confused with "purchase a probiotic immediately"***
I love supporting the "good guys" in our gut because they provide a HOST of benefits elsewhere in the body.
Your brain benefits from a well supported gut because it promotes serotonin production and circulation within the body- thus resulting in better mood health.
Your immunity benefits from a well supported gut because it promotes a higher population of beneficial bacteria that act as a defense system against pathogens (infections, colds, flus, you name it).
Your belly benefits from a diverse gut population because they help to break down foods in the large intestine, streamlining digestion and allowing for better bowel movements.
You can support your gut biodiversity by incorporating a probiotic supplement into your daily routine. If you're not sure what to look for in a probiotic, you can sign up for email updates and download the free guide on How To Pick a Probiotic, Without Going Broke here!
If probiotics aren't an option for you, you can still support your gut health through fermented foods such as:
miso soup/ miso paste
plain, unflavored yogurt
Consuming these foods on a daily basis is a GREAT way to get started on supporting gut biodiversity, even if you're busy deciding which probiotic might be best for you.
4. Commit To a Regular Exercise Routine.
***not to be confused with "immediately sign up for HIIT classes"***
If you're a frequent visitor to my blog (first of all, thank you for your support it means the world to me), you know I am a big fan of exercising regularly.
It boosts self confidence. It prevents injury and tension. It promotes cardiovascular health and skeletal tissue maintenance which benefits health markers overall.
Exercise also promotes lymphatic circulation which helps to circulate the excess "gunk" through and away from our body through detoxification pathways like the skin and sweat glands.
Now, before you think "omg, I've got gunk in me," please know this: your body naturally produces by-products as a result of digestion and heating/ cooling the body.
By regularly stimulating blood flow and elevating your heart rate, you can improve circulation around digestion, lymph, and cardiovascular systems that decreases bloating around the entire body (not just digestion!)
If you're now thinking "great, what exercise does she mean?" I invite you to check out these posts on exercise:
So there ya have it- four ways to beat belly bloat!