Are you trying everything to combat that uncomfortable bloating feeling? Every quick tip, juicing hack, new diet trend…but nothing seems to work? That’s because most of the time, there is a deeper-rooted issue at play, and uncovering that issue is the first step in finding true bloating relief.
Here are 5 reasons why you are always bloated even after seemingly trying everything!
1.) Food Sensitivities
A major reason you may be bloated is if you are battling with food sensitivities, especially those you may not be fully aware of! For example, foods like dairy products can cause gas, bloating, and pain for those who can’t easily digest lactose. Additionally, you may want to examine FODMAP’s in your diet. For some, high-FODMAP foods can cause stomach pain and bloating. (ex: Asparagus, cabbage, apples, excess fructose, etc.)
Try opting for a LOW FODMAP diet and keep track of the foods you consume by using a food diary, to better reveal what foods are causing discomfort.
2.) Stress Level
Yes, stress can cause bloating. Our digestive system & brain are closely connected, which scientists call the gut-brain axis or gut-brain connection. When you are stressed or anxious, your brain releases cortisol or the stress hormone, and it travels to your gut. When this happens, your gut microbiome becomes unbalanced and can also disrupt the gut lining, leading to leaky gut. And the reverse is especially true, too. When your gut is in distress, or if you are consistently eating unhealthy foods that cause inflammation, it produces more cortisol in your body.
For some, bloating can be a symptom of a more serious issue going on inside the body. Some conditions that can cause belly bloat are IBS and GERD. Both are a lot more common than you’d think, with research estimating that IBS affects between 25 and 45 million people in the United States, and GERD affects more than a third of U.S. adults.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a disorder characterized by abdominal pain or discomfort, and altered bowel habits, like chronic diarrhea/constipation. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) occurs when food can make its way back up from your stomach into either end of the esophagus
4.) Eating Habits
Proper eating habits are essential for digestion. Our bodies have circadian rhythms that affect our digestion, metabolism, and hormones. Eating at inconsistent times each day, for example, causes your stomach to overwork and not properly digest your food. Having your meals at around the same time each day will help regulate digestion and reduce bloating.
While eating, it is important to eat mindfully. This means minimizing distractions so you can focus on chewing your food properly and avoiding eating too fast. Eating too fast can bring about a whole array of problems, like swallowing too much air which causes gas & bloating.
As well, it takes time for your stomach to signal to your brain that you’re full, so eating too fast might make you eat more than you actually want to, causing discomfort and pain later on.
Additionally, if you are eating late at night/right before going to bed, your body will not metabolize & digest the meal as effectively as earlier in the day. Lying down in bed right after eating can cause problems such as bloating, acid reflux, and abdominal pain. Not to mention, your sleep can be negatively affected as your body is working hard to digest the last meal…which brings us to our final point.
If you are not getting quality sleep, this can largely affect your digestion and cause bloating. When you are not getting enough sleep, your gut can be prone to inflammation, which leads to bloating. Lack of sleep can also cause an imbalance in the body, affecting hormones, especially the stress hormone, cortisol. As we’ve mentioned, a rise in cortisol levels can seriously affect your gut health. Additionally, the digestive system relies on sleep to help regenerate and metabolize foods.