3 Surprising Causes of Bloating
According to a report produced by Core, the UK’s only charity to fund research into gut, liver, intestinal and bowel illnesses, bloating is more likely to affect women than men (62% vs 41%) with over 60% of 18–34-year-old and over 50% of 34–44-year-olds regularly experiencing it. Here are three surprising causes of bloating.
It might sound a little counterintuitive but not drinking enough water can lead to bloating. When you don’t consume enough fluids or you’re eating too much salty food that dehydrates you, your body intuitively tries to retain as much water as it can. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day is the best way of avoiding excess water retention and uncomfortable bloating, as well as preventing constipation.
Many of us don’t reach the recommended daily quota of 30g fibre, a fact that can lead to serious bloating. That’s because not enough fibre means that waste moves through your digestive system more slowly, causing you to bloat and feel uncomfortable. Too little fibre can also exacerbate inflammation in the body, which can cause bloating. If you eat plenty of fibre but still experience bloating, it could be that you’re actually eating too much for your body to handle efficiently. If too much fibre is consumed, the gastrointestinal tract can’t break it all down leaving the bacteria in the colon to digest in and create gas by-products which causes you to feel bloated. For a good balance try and aim for the 30g RDA which is includes your five servings of fruit and vegetables a day, wholegrains with each meal and plenty of fibre-rich snacks during the day such as nuts and seeds.
Stress affects everyone differently and although for some people it speeds up the digestive system, causing diarrhoea, for others it can slow it right down, causing bloating, pain and constipation. That’s because when we experience a stress response, our parasympathetic nervous system kicks in. Also known as the ‘rest and digest’ phase, it presses pause on any non-essential functions in the body, like digestion, as it prepares to get ready for flight or fight. Trying to avoid stress as much as you can is essential, as is learning to understand your personal triggers and scheduling in periods of rest and relaxation.