Bloat Busters: Exposing Health Trends and Foods That Could Be Making You Bloated
In our quest for better health and vitality, we've witnessed the rise of health trends and the influx of healthy foods promising a one-way ticket to wellness. We eagerly embrace these trends, believing they hold the key to a blooming, vibrant life.
But what if I told you that some of these seemingly virtuous choices are secretly wreaking havoc on your digestive system, leaving you bloated and uncomfortable?
In this eye-opening blog post, we'll unveil the hidden culprits lurking in health trends and healthy foods that are actually making you bloated. Brace yourself for a revealing journey into the realm of gut-wrenching truths!
#1. HIIT Workouts
In the pursuit of better fitness and health, many people have turned to High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workouts. However, it's crucial to understand that these workouts can have unintended consequences, one of which is bloating.
HIIT workouts can increase stress and inflammation levels in the body, disrupting the delicate balance of our digestive system. The intense nature of these workouts triggers the release of stress hormones like cortisol, which can impair digestion and lead to bloating. Additionally, the inflammatory response stimulated by HIIT workouts can further exacerbate digestive issues. Women, in particular, may experience hormone imbalances as a result of the stress placed on their bodies during HIIT sessions, potentially leading to bloating and discomfort.
If you struggle with bloating, try swapping your HIIT workouts for lower-impact options like restorative yoga, pilates, light weight training or even walking.
#2. Greens Powders
Greens powders have gained popularity as a convenient means of boosting our daily nutrient intake. These powders typically contain a blend of dried fruits, vegetables, and herbs, promising a concentrated source of vitamins and minerals. However, it's important to be aware that certain ingredients found in greens powders can contribute to bloating and gas. For instance, the high fibre content of these powders, while beneficial for digestion in moderate amounts, can cause discomfort and bloating when consumed in excess. Additionally, some greens powders may contain inulin, a type of soluble fibre known for its prebiotic properties. While beneficial for gut health in small doses, excessive intake of inulin can lead to extreme digestive distress. Moreover, cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and kale, commonly found in greens powders, contain compounds that can be difficult to digest, leading to bloating for some individuals. Some greens powders also contain probiotics, which can add fuel to the fire if you have a digestive imbalance like SIBO (Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth).
If you choose to incorporate greens powders into your diet, start with a small amount and gradually increase your intake while paying attention to how your body responds, in order to avoid potential digestive issues.
#3. Cold Smoothies
Smoothies have long been hailed as a nutritious and refreshing way to incorporate fruits and vegetables into our diets. However, the temperature at which we consume them can play a role in the occurrence of bloating and discomfort. Drinking cold smoothies can potentially contribute to bloating due to their impact on the digestive process. Cold foods, including chilled smoothies, can slow down the digestion and absorption of nutrients, which can lead to the accumulation of gas in the digestive system. This can result in bloating and discomfort for some individuals. To mitigate this effect, consider consuming your smoothies at room temperature or slightly warmer. Alternatively, you can add a small amount of warm water to your cold smoothie to help facilitate digestion.
Smoothies are also often packed with difficult-to-digest fibrous foods, like raw fruits and veggies (ahem, kale smoothies!). If your digestive system is anything but optimal, you may struggle to break down these fibres - especially the raw kale! For this reason I often advise my clients to lightly steam or blanch their fruits and vegetables before tossing them into a smoothie (or steam and then freeze them for convenience purposes).
By making these adjustments, you can enjoy the nutritional benefits of smoothies while minimizing the likelihood of bloating and digestive discomfort.
#4. Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting has gained significant popularity as an approach to weight loss and improved metabolic health. However, it's important to recognize that intermittent fasting can also contribute to bloating and digestive issues, particularly for women. The prolonged periods of fasting can have a direct impact on the digestive process, slowing it down and potentially leading to bloating and gas. When we fast, the body produces less stomach acid and digestive enzymes, which are crucial for breaking down food effectively. As a result, undigested food can linger in the digestive tract, leading to fermentation and gas production.
Furthermore, women's hormonal fluctuations throughout the menstrual cycle can exacerbate the effects of intermittent fasting on digestive health. Hormonal changes can affect gut motility, enzyme production, and the overall balance of the gut microbiome, making women more susceptible to bloating and digestive discomfort during fasting periods. It's important for women to be mindful of their unique hormonal fluctuations and consider adapting their intermittent fasting approach accordingly.