Bloating is so much more than a protruding stomach. It can be painful and debilitating, but you don’t have to suffer in silence.
An alarming 90 per cent of women admit to suffering from digestive discomfort, without complaint, as they believe their bloating or gas will simply go away.
“Bloating is often accompanied by pain, gas, gut gurgles and explosive bowel movements or painful constipation,” explains nutritionist Michele Chevalley Hedge. “All of these are terribly embarrassing, often affecting our productivity, energy, self-esteem and can really affect our libido.”
Why do women often ignore bloating?
“Digestive issues can be come from many different sources and often people are too time poor or confused about making positive changes,” Michele says.
But what a lot of people don’t know, is that a simple solution for bloating lies within changing your eating habits.
“Women think they have to make big, uncomfortable changes that require hours of planning, but it’s simply not true,” Michele states.
While most of us know that probiotics can ease digestive discomfort, it’s not always easy to know how to include them in your diet.
“Become a label reader, as more and more food suppliers are creating healthier options and they are listening to what consumers want,” she says.
Changing what we eat
Michele explains that as we get older, things like metabolism and enzyme activity slows down naturally.
“It means that everything we once had in our 20s and 30s becomes slightly slower,” she tells. “We should always be aware of what we eat and how we eat, move, sleep and manage stress, but it becomes even more important as we age.”
If you experience bloating and discomfort, Michele says that you should be consuming real, whole foods that are naturally high in fibre and antioxidants.
She also suggests focusing on having enough good gut bacteria and incorporating probiotics rich food like kimchi, kefir, yoghurt, pickles and sauerkraut.
“One thing to be aware of is that not all yoghurts are created equal. Choose an option like Activia which has an exclusive probiotic strain – Bifidus ActiRegularis – with proven digestive benefits,” Michele suggests.
Another thing to keep in mind is to minimise bad gut bacteria by avoiding high-sugar or added-sugar foods like lollies, packaged, biscuits, cakes.
Michele also suggests it's worth looking into testing for any food intolerances or allergies if problems persist.
It’s all about the gut
“We are only just at the beginning of discovering many ways a healthy gut can impact our lives, but we already know a lot about the how gut bacteria can influence our immune systems and now, in more recent news, our mental wellbeing,” Michele explains.
So next time you’re suffering with uncomfortable cramps, try introducing some probiotic-friendly foods and ditching processed snacks to see if it makes a difference for you.