Many women struggle with bloating. For some of us it is a constant battle that we deal with all the time. For some of us, it is only the week during and possibly the week before our period that we can’t button-up our pants! Let’s see if we can uncover the root cause of that uncomfortable distention (and possibly gas) so that you can fit into your clothes ALL month long!
CAUSES OF BLOATING:
Some of the main causes of bloating include:
If you have swollen fingers or ankles or your clothes seem tight all of a sudden, you may be retaining fluids. Often fluid retention is due to dehydration or a mineral imbalance. Notice how much fluid you consume each day. Also be aware of whether these fluids are diuretics, such as caffeine, which only exacerbate dehydration. If you’re not eating enough land and sea veggies, or craving salty snacks, you may have an electrolyte imbalance that is contributing to your bloat.
Inflammation, whether it is due to cramping during menstruation, food intolerances, injury or stress, will bring extra fluids and blood to the area of inflammation. If you struggle mainly with premenstrual bloating, you might notice that it is relieved (at least somewhat) by menstrual bleeding.
Gas, feeling tired after eating, hearburn and irregular bowel movements are all signs of poor digestion. Indigestion can create constipation as well as an imbalance in your gut flora (also known as dysbiosis), which can both contribute to that bloated feeling. To make matters worse, the hormonal fluctuations that accompany our period make us more prone to constipation! Like we needed that!
A rise in estrogen can contribute to bloating, as can the hormone shift that accompanies menopause.
SO WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT IT?
- Drink plenty of WATER to avoid dehydration and keep the colon functioning well
- Consume foods high in minerals, particularly magnesium and potassium in whole, natural foods. Most of us consume excessive amounts of sodium (which contributes to bloating) in processed foods and insufficient postassium from FRESH FRUITS AND VEGETABLES.
- During an episode of bloating, try consuming diuretic foods. These include CELERY, ASPARAGUS, CUCUMBER, ALFALFA, and PLANTAIN
- Anti-Inflammatory foods such as FISH AND THEIR OILS and FLAX SEEDS AND THEIR OILS can be very helpful in reducing bloat caused by inflammation. Avoiding inflammatory foods such as sugar, processed foods, red meat and dairy will go a long way in relieving your symptoms.
- Rebalance your hormones by ensuring that your liver and colon are functioning optimally. LEAFY GREENS, lofs of cleansing vegetables, and sufficient fiber from WHOLE GRAINS, LEGUMES and produce are all important.
- Avoid foods that cause gas. Wheat, corn, improperly prepared legumes and cruciferous veggies can cause gas in some people. Try soaking your whole grains and legumes overnight prior to cooking to reduce this effect. You can quickly learn how to soak and sprout whole grains and legumes in my 2-part short video series, Part 1 and Part 2
- It is crucial to determine if food intolerances are contributing to your bloat. Wheat and dairy are big culprits of food sensitivities that create bloating.
- Improve your digestion overall with GINGER, DANDELION, PEPPERMINT, CHAMOMILE and FENNEL TEAS
- Ensure you are moving around and engaging in exercise on a regular basis. This will improve your digestion and support your colon and liver function.