Reasons your tummy's bloated

Ellie Cobb
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Image: Getty

There is nothing more disheartening than starting the day feeling limber and lithe, and ending it feeling bloated and uncomfortable. Both men and women are prone to sudden weight gain in the tummy area, and for most, it's not due to a fast food frenzy.

Unfortunately there are a number of factors that can cause tummy bloat. To help you out, we've rounded up the most common and offer a few helpful tips so you can avoid loosening that belt buckle.

You gulp too much
Swallowing air is the most common reason for bloating and can leave even the most toned of tummies looking rotund. Gulping can leave air trapped in your stomach — this not only increases your waistline, but also mean's you are more likely to burp and pass wind as the air desperately tries to escape.

The habits guilty of increasing the amount of air in our stomach range from eating too quickly and without pausing; knocking back drinks; sipping through a straw; smoking; and relentlessly chewing gum. Crunching sweets can be particular problematic due to the fact many are packed with artificial sweeteners, such as sorbitol, that are known to cause bloating.

Do:

  • Take time to chew your meals properly without rushing
  • Freshen breath with a swill of mouthwash or use breath freshener instead of chewing gum
  • Quit smoking — every time you inhale, air is passed into your stomach.

You're uptight
Stress has a negative affect on your health in many ways but one that often comes as a surprise is that it causes your stomach to expand. Under periods of pressure the colon can experience spasms rather than behaving in its normal manner. And as we all know, feeling highly strung can lead to further inch gain, thanks to binging on high-energy foods that can be high in fat.

Do:

  • Yoga — a morning session will boost your blood circulation, kick start your organs and offer a feeling of mental calm
  • Breathe deeply, inhaling through the nose and out through the mouth. This will regulate uneven breathing patterns that often come with stress and also boosts oxygen circulation to your brain
  • Opt for wholegrain options where possible to aid digestion and prevent excessive trapped air.

VIEW GALLERY: Foods that beat tummy bloat

You're drinking too much soda
You may be unaware, but sugar can be difficult to digest properly. Those who are fructose-intolerant will notice that soon after drinking a fizzy drink, they may feel uncomfortable and bloated. This is also the case with fruits, in particular apples and bananas that are high in fructose.

Do:

  • Opt for water or herbal tea to keep hydrated
  • If you must drink soft drinks, give yourself a limit of one per day and stick to it
  • Eat fruit in small portions.
  • Opt for lower-sugar fruits, such as melon, peaches and apricots.

You're lazy
Not only will skipping that gym class effect your fitness levels, it will encourage the body to absorb gas . If this wasn't enough, in the short-term, the bloating will slow down digestion too.

Do:

  • Walk to work in the morning — early morning exercise will help your body get rid excess air that can accumulate overnight through snoring
  • Help beat constipation with a 30-minute session of aerobic exercise — this will help move food through the digestive tract more rapidly
  • Eat a high protein meal after exercise, which will minimise swelling and trapped air.

You love gassy foods
Certain foods are not as well absorbed by the human digestive system as others. We’ve listed some of the most guilty culprits below. but remember they are all healthy choices and should be part of a balanced diet — only be aware of them if have a tight outfit to squeeze into.

  • broccoli;
  • cabbage;
  • brussels sprouts;
  • beans and legumes;
  • cauliflower;
  • onions;
  • prunes;
  • dark beer;
  • fried and fatty foods;
  • milk and other dairy products;
  • eggs.

Related video: finding a flatter tummy


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