Bloated all the time?
While bloating may be common, it is never enjoyable. Bloating happens when your gastrointestinal tract is filled with air or gas, and can make you feel overly stuffed. Not only can it be uncomfortable, but you may notice physical signs as well, including a swollen or misshapen belly.
The good news? According to Abby Langer, a registered dietitian, not all bloating is bad. “Bloating itself is normal after eating,” she says, noting that it simply means your gut and intestinal bacteria are feasting. “But if it’s accompanied by gas, cramps or gastrointestinal symptoms, then it becomes problematic.” Your stomach should not feel hard, and you should not be experiencing severe pain.
If you find yourself bloated all the time, the five factors below may be to blame.
You ate capsicum or broccoli
If you’re bloated all the time, it might be down to that heaping pile of veggies you had for dinner. Capsicum, broccoli, legumes and other cruciferous vegetables are rich in fibre and low in kilojoules, but they’re also big-time gas-producers.
That doesn’t mean you should leave the veggies off your plate. “You may want to eat fewer at one time – but definitely don’t stop eating them,” says Langer. “Because, again, bloating can be a good sign that the bugs in our gut are having a party.”
You can kerb the worst of your veggie bloating by drinking between six to eight 250mL glasses of water throughout the day and cutting down on any added salt, which causes water retention and will only add to the bloating.
Your skim latte
You don’t need to give up your morning coffee, but if you’re prone to ordering the “skim” version of drinks, or use sugar alcohol-based alternative coffee sweeteners like mannitol or sorbitol, this may be the reason you’re bloated all the time.
“Sugar alcohols are very popular in the low-carb community,” Langer says. Unfortunately, sugar alcohols like xylitol, lactitol and isomalt also cause bloating – and may be the reason that you’re starting off mornings filled with air or gas.
If you’re insistent on a lower-kilojoule take on coffee, you can always try drinking your coffee black – so long as you’re not typically sensitive to caffeine, of course. (In some studies, drinking coffee has been linked to gastrointestinal issues like bloating. Try keeping a journal of how you feel after your morning cup to see if it’s the culprit.) Switching to tea is also on option, since it’s usually less acidic than coffee and has tons of health benefits.