Bloating – defined as a general swelling or feeling of tightness in the abdominal area – causes daily discomfort and misery to millions of people in the UK. In some cases bloating can be a symptom of an underlying health problem, but it is more often than not due to poor eating habits:
- Digestion starts in the mouth. It’s where food gets broken down, not just physically but also chemically (by the digestive enzymes found in saliva). Many of us eat our food far too quickly, meaning that food makes only a passing acquaintance with this vital first stage of digestion. If food isn’t adequately broken down this can cause problems further down the line, in the form of gas and bloating. Always take the time to chew eat bite properly, around 20-30 times. Try putting your knife and fork down between bites, to encourage you to really focus on each mouthful at a time.
- Your brain is about 10-20 minutes behind your stomach when it comes to registering fullness, so always wait 15 minutes before deciding whether to go back for seconds or a pudding. This will help to avoid you feeling uncomfortably full and bloating after each meal.
- When you’re eating, do nothing else but eat. Our blood can only be in one place at one time and when we eat the focus is needed in our digestive system. If we are doing something else (such as reading, walking, talking or watching TV), our blood will be diverted elsewhere in the body and taken from where it is needed in the digestive system. Make an effort to sit down at the table for at least a couple of meals each week. Eating without distractions can make a huge difference to your digestion and will help you to notice when you are satisfied.
© Sarah West Nutrition