The emotions of shock, confusion, and frustration arise when your favorite jeans no longer fit because of an expanded waistline. Belly fat gives your clothes a shelf life and will eventually catch up with you. This guide will help make sense of the multi-factorial phenomena of bloating.
1. Gut Bacterial Balance
Did you know that obese and lean people have a different makeup of gut bacteria, which influences inflammation? Obese individuals carry more of the bad bacteria, and those who are lean carry more of the good bacteria. In a study, researchers transferred stool containing either good or bad bacteria from human adult female twins to rats. The lean or obese outcome of the rats matched that of the gut bacteria type of the donors. Antibiotics kill good gut bacteria, but probiotics found in yogurt and sauerkraut can restore them.
Dr. Susan Evans explains on Dr. Oz’s blog that parasites in your intestines produce bloating, gas, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Parasites enter the gut through drinking impure water, eating poorly washed produce, eating raw foods like sushi, and eating leftovers. A medical stool study can detect the presence of parasites. Remedies to rid the gut of parasites include consuming ginger and trying herbal detox colon cleanses.
3. Low-Carbohydrate Diet
The stress hormone cortisol increases with low-carbohydrate diets, causing belly bulge, according to studies. Duke University researchers found that 68 percent of participants on a low-carbohydrate diet experienced constipation. Fiber-rich foods that are often absent in low-carbohydrate diets are necessary for regularity and the elimination of belly-fat. Some argue that it is difficult to digest complex carbohydrates, and high-fiber foods such as beans trigger gas buildup. Natalie Allen recommends eating fiber daily with water to help the body to adapt to it and eliminate abdominal discomfort.
Yeast makes dough rise in the oven by feeding off its refined sugars and releasing carbon dioxide gas. Imagine how the yeast found in alcoholic beverages, feeds off sugar, releases gas, multiplies, and expands the belly.
5. Air Bubbles/Trapped Wind
The habits of eating fast, drinking through a straw, drinking carbonated drinks, and chewing gum increase air in the stomach. Air bubbles that are not released through belching, hiccups, or passing gas become trapped, leading to bloating. Natalie Allen, R.D. professor of Biomedical Sciences at Missouri State University recommends eating for 20 minutes to prevent air bubbles.
Movement is necessary to stimulate the movement of bowel contents and build and maintain muscle that burns fat. A study by the Journal of Endocrinological Investigation revealed that low-intensity exercise lowers cortisol levels, resulting in a flatter tummy. Examples of low-intensity exercise include walking and stretching/yoga.
Cortisol is produced by the adrenal glands in response to emotional, mental, and physical stress. During stressful events, it is deposited in the fat cells of the stomach. Meditation, journaling, crafts, and other therapeutic activities relieve stress.
Mothers are prone to belly bulge due to a decrease in the elasticity of abdominal skin post-pregnancy. An over-production of the estrogen hormone during pregnancy increases fat accumulation in the stomach that may not completely disappear.
A slowing of the metabolism occurs naturally after the age of 30, causing more fat to collect around the waist. Moving more and eating less is the best remedy.
10. Hormones/Monthly Cycle
A hormonal release causes an increase in fluid around the abdomen a week before a woman’s menstruation. When no pregnancy occurs, excess fluid is released through urine, and the belly becomes flatter.
11. Eating Pattern
The frequency and cut off of your meals strongly affect belly bulge. A 2-week Canadian study by the Department of Nutritional Sciences tested participants, who spaced their meals three hours apart. They experienced a greater than 17-percent reduction of the cortisol belly-fat triggering hormone. Eating 3 hours before bedtime gives the digestive system a rest from breaking down foods, providing it with more energy for detoxing or eliminating.
12. Lack of Sleep
Sleep deprivation makes you bloated because it modifies the hormone that suppresses appetite, which leads to excessive cravings and overeating.
The next time you ask, “Why am I so bloated,” you have 12 factors to analyze along with their remedies.