Let us have a slight throwback, shall we? Remember the end of year family gatherings that we all enthusiastically awaited for? The long windy road trips that mostly left our stomachs grumbling and our throats thirsty. Upon arrival, we were warmly welcomed with cucu’s favourite meal, chapati, served with mukimo, fried rice and an assortment of stew. As we all know, Christmas was nothing without crates of soda free flowing into the evening. We thank the heavens for our mums as they always had a pack of Eno waiting for our cries of bloated stomachs.
Years later, we still suffer from this monster that is bloated stomachs. It is usually uncomfortable and sometimes intensely painful and within a short time, makes your tummy appear bigger and we don’t want people congratulating you for no apparent reason, do we? Here are some simple steps to help you prevent a bloated stomach.
1. Eat smaller portions at regular intervals
Overeating is the most common cause of bloated stomachs. It is possible to avoid this by ensuring you eat several smaller meals a day thus guaranteeing the digestive system consistent movement.
2. Increasing your fibre intake
Fibre is known to prevent constipation and bloating. The recommended daily intake is 38g for men and 25g for women. A really small percentage actually fulfils this recommendation. It is wise to note that over-consumption of fibre may quickly lead to excess gas therefore bloating. Introducing fibre gradually, beginning with small ounces of fibre and slowly increasing the intake is the secret.
3. Avoid carbonated drinks
Next time you walk into a supermarket, you might want to think twice before grabbing that plastic soda. Fizzy carbonated drinks especially sodas contain a lot of gas that eventually builds up in the stomach. Sugars and artificial sweetener also cause bloating and may lead to a lot of discomfort. Drinking water constantly is a way to prevent this.
4. Rule out food allergies
Lactose intolerance is among the leading cause of bloating. Other food allergies such as protein allergies may also be the reason why your tummy is always upset. You may heavily benefit by lowering the consumption of foods you suspect may be causing havoc. The best solution, however, is to seek medical care from a certified doctor. Guaranteed diagnosis prevents one from unnecessarily cutting down healthy foods from their diet.
5. Cut down on sodium
Highly processed foods are usually high in sodium and low in fibre. Sodium is very notorious when it comes to causing bloating. It is recommended to get into the habit of reading food labels, especially with canned, processed and frozen foods. Lowering the amount of salt intake is also crucial to preventing a bloated tummy.
6. Go easy on the beans
In high school, most teachers preferred to miss classes on days when beans were served for lunch. We all know why; they are infamous for causing accumulation of gas in the stomach. Despite them being a rich source of fibre, they cause major discomfort to people with irritable bowels. Soaking beans in water overnight before cooking them comes a long way.
The following tips may be of help when suffering from bloating
1. Drink a lot of water.
2. Eat fruits with the skin.
3. Stock on water-based fruits like watermelon.
4. Add ginger to your salads and make ginger concoctions.
5. Snack on almonds and other unsalted nuts.
6. Take gas relief capsules.
7. Eat a lot of potassium- mangoes, bananas and spinach are good sources of potassium.
A bloated stomach is always bad news. Be very specific about your diet especially if you have a sensitive irritable tummy.