Why am I Always Bloated in the Afternoon?November 2019
It is not uncommon for me to hear clients say by the afternoon they’re bloated. They wake up with a flat stomach in the morning, then by 3pm their pants are tight and uncomfortable. If this also describes you, read on!
Is bloating normal?
Well it depends. The way our large intestine and microbiome function, it is actually common and a little bit of bloating can be normal. Our gut bacteria feed on the food we eat, but in this process they also produce gases. These gases are a natural by-product of digestion, but they also cause the bloating.
If you’re producing so much gas that you are uncomfortable or in pain, then your bloating is a problem.
If, when relieving yourself of these gases (I’m talking farting people), you’re clearing the room, also a problem.
Often these problems occur due to a lack of diversity or domination of a particular bacterial strain.
A little bit of bloating, depending on the type of fibre you have eaten is normal. But this bloating should not cause you to look “swollen” or “pregnant” in the lower abdomen. Everyone produces gas, but it should be easily passed with minimal to no smell.
What to do if you’re bloated?
If you’re feeling bloated every day, it should be no surprise I say you need to look at your diet. I know shocking for a nutritionist to say! If you’ve been living the “highly refined life” and recently switched to eating more fruits and vegetables, your microbiome is going to all out of sorts. It won’t be used to his much fibre and will potentially respond with excess gas.
It is important to ensure you’re drinking plenty of water to keep your bowels moving and avoid constipation. Constipation can lead to a build up of gas, because it is blocked from exiting the body.
Note down any foods you may adversely respond to. For example, once you start taking notice of the foods you eat you may find that eating bread gives you bad bloating. This doesn’t mean bread is the devil and everyone should avoid it, it simply means that it could be a trigger food for you. Take some time to work out your trigger foods and avoid them in the short term to see if you have any improvement.
Cooked foods are gentler on digestion. Some people find raw foods cause a lot of bloating for them. The reason for this is it takes a lot for the body to digest, the slowed digestion allows more time for the bacteria to do their work. Cooking foods starts to break down the food you’re going to eat, which means it will be easier for your body to digest.
Do supplements help?
Of course as a nutritionist there are many more things we can do specifically to help treat your bloating, including supplements. But a more tailored approach requires a consultation.
Painful or uncomfortable bloating is not something you should live with, it is an issue that can be treated and improved.
Until next time… x
Written by Jessica Worth, Nutritionist, Sydney, Northern Beaches, Mona Vale