In the summer, bloating often worsens because the heat causes blood vessels and capillaries to expand and dilate allowing more fluid to fill in the interstitial spaces between organs and tissues. Studies also show that chronic inflammation in the digestive tract is also proven to worsen in the summer. The end result is more puffiness and bloating in the summer months which is less than ideal when you want to look good on your holidays!
Most of us have found ourselves experiencing stomach bloating at some point. Bloating is often caused by water retention due to sodium and potassium imbalance, hormonal activity, indigestion, overeating, kidney function, gut inflammation or other heredity factors.
Thankfully, there are a number of ways that we can reduce the summer bloat through making small changes to what we eat and drink:
Be salt savvy
Fluctuations of hormone levels in the body can lead to water retention, which subsequently causes bloating. The main culprit for water retention however, is salt.
Too much salt can cause almost immediate water retention and bloating. Be aware of the amount of salt in your diet, especially from foods such as highly processed foods and salty snacks. Unless you have been doing lots of physical exercise, opt for foods that are naturally low in salt, such as vegetables, nuts, and seeds. Foods like bananas and leafy greens have even been known to help lower sodium levels in the body.
Drink more water
As much as it may seem counterintuitive, drinking water can actually help to reduce water retention and bloating. When the body is dehydrated, it holds on to more water to make up for the lack of water being consumed. Adults should try and drink about 2 litres of water each day. We suggest drinking pure water, herbal teas, or naturally sparkling water over fruit juice or sugary fizzy drinks (which often include hidden salt!) to keep the bloat at bay.
Be wary of intolerances
Food intolerances may be a lifelong grievance or something that only affects you during certain periods of your life, but they are usually always uncomfortable. Your body is constantly changing, and intolerances sometimes grow with us. Alongside a number of other symptoms, bloating is a common reaction to consuming a food or ingredient your body may be intolerant to.
Common food intolerances include:
- Casein (a protein found in milk)
If you experience bloating after eating, take note of any correlations between your bloating and consumption of sensitive food such as those listed above. You may need to consult with a doctor, or speak with a qualified nutritionist, under whose supervision you might be advised to keep a food diary to track foods that make you feel unwell.
Eat gut-friendly foods
Gas production in the body is natural during digestion, but too much is often caused by gut bacteria digesting the carbohydrates we eat in a process called fermentation. Too much fermentation is often due to there being too many carbohydrates that fail to be naturally absorbed earlier in the digestive process before reaching the gut bacteria, meaning more gas is being produced, causing us to bloat.
The gut does not like ultra high processed foods, these often lead to bloating and gas and can encourage growth of the wrong types of bacteria in the gut. Eating a wide range of foods high in dietary fibre, helps to keep our movements healthier, reduce inflammation in the gut, and therefore help to reduce bloating. Your gut loves edible plants and dietary fibre- different plant foods appeal to different gut bacteria, so the wider the variety of plant foods you eat, the happier and more diverse your gut will be. Sources of dietary fibre include beans, whole grains, brown rice, nuts, berries, wheat bran, and fruit and vegetable skins.
This summer, don’t let the summer bloat you down. With a selection of plans to choose from, our perfectly balanced meals, delivered direct to your door, are the perfect way to help you feel and look your best all summer long. Order your Balance Box today!