What is Bloating?

This is something that has been around for a while but hasn’t been highlighted truly. Some acknowledge bloating while others simply ignore. However, research is still very much underway as to how we can predict this behaviour in our body. Bloating is something which is temporary and does go away with time. Probably the reason why this is not a hot topic at the gym or among the trainers and fitness enthusiasts. But slowly and gradually, the topic of bloating is picking up the pace and people are getting more and more into it. So, why does it happen, what is bloating anyway? This post will be just a basic overview of bloating, the causes and how it can be dealt with. Let’s get right into it.

What is Bloating?

We will avoid using the scientific terms so that it is easier to understand. Bloating in simple words is the swelling up of your body. It may be due to a variety of factors but is mainly due to fluids such as water and gas. Bloating can be broadly classified or identified mainly in two areas of your body:

  1. Facial Bloat
  2. Abdominal Bloat

This swelling up of the body should not be mistaken for being fat. This swelling as I mentioned at the start is temporary whereas when you talk about fat, it’s permanent. How often it is that when you take a photograph and you say “My face looks so swelled up, I look so fat”, even if that is not the case in real life. Or when you just wake up and your face looks all fluffed? Or when you have a rich meal, and your stomach is on the verge of exploding. This is bloating. So the next time something like this happens, now you know what it is. Let’s take a look at some of the main causes of bloating and understand the concept behind it.

Causes Of Bloating

  1. Too much Sodium: It may be because your body is holding up water. See, salt which we consume in our daily food contains sodium, especially the table salt that is most widely used, contains sodium in high quantity. Sodium is osmotic in nature, hence it draws in water especially in your abdominal area. Soon after you consume a high sodium diet, it may be the case that you stay bloated for the next few hours.
  2. Dehydration: When you are not having enough water for your kidneys to flush out, your kidneys start saving water, hence water retention. This is one of the main causes of facial bloating we experience at the start of our day just because our body is dehydrated overnight. That is why it is advised to drink lots of water first thing in the morning.
  3. Indigestion/Gas: There are many foods that when consumed, are hard on the stomach to digest and leave you feeling heavy and may cause indigestion as well. Such foods are difficult to break down and in turn produces Hydrogen and Methane, which we call gas. This gas accumulates and hence results in swelling up of your tummy. Therefore, bloating can also be largely associated with indigestion and acidity.

Remedies To Avoid Bloating

Honestly, there is no such one for all remedy to cure or avoid bloating completely. Every individual’s body reacts to water retention and different foods in different ways hence there is no one solution. However, there are a few precautions that you can take in order to minimize the effect:

  • Reduce Lettuce, Cabbage, Beans & Brocolli – These foods contains a high amount on Raffinose. This raffinose, when broken down by our body, produces gas. This gas leaves you bloated and feeling heavy.
  • Low Sodium Diet: Less Sodium, less water retention, less bloating.
  • Drink lots of water and keep yourself hydrated
  • Increase your fibre intake: Fibre consumed in appropriate quantities will help keep your gut healthy and will aid bowel movements.
  • Probiotic foods such as Greek yoghurt can be used to aid digestion.

Remember to not get so worked about bloating since it is temporary and happens to everyone, whether you are a premium athlete or just a beginner. So, don’t get too panicky about it. Just keep your gut healthy and you are good to go. But still, from a health & fitness standpoint, we must be aware of the processes taking place inside our body. So, this was a basic introduction to bloating and how it works. Stay fit, stay healthy!

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