Everything You Need to Know About Bloat

Bloat. A word that defines the sound “ugh” better than anything else, and yet still is one of the most common side effects of digesting certain foods. As it turns out, bloat is very closely related to the state of your microbiome, as are many other wellness concerns.


Your microbiome is the large group of bacteria living in your gut. It dictates everything beginning with your immune system, to your hormones, how well you sleep, your mood and your digestion. 95% of your serotonin is made in your gut, not your brain contrary to popular belief.


The one thing that your gut bacteria eat in order to perform at the top of their game and be their healthiest is good plant fiber. You have to be consuming good plant fiber in order to feed these bacteria so they can produce essential vitamins, minerals and enzymes. Some of these essential vitamins are not even absorbed from the food you’re eating, as you are getting them instead from the microbes themselves that are producing them after eating your food.


You treat your microbiome well, and it will treat you well.


But first, let’s talk about bloat.


Is it actually bloat, or are you digesting normally?


Swelling in your stomach will generally ebb and flow as your digestion simply does its job. So it’s important to be able to differentiate normal post-eating bloat, and excessive bloat that translates that there might be an imbalance in your gut.


You have to keep in mind that a flat stomach should never be the aim, because that in itself is a delusion and an unrealistic expectation that can be more harmful than not. In the last few years, bloat has become a main topic of conversation all too frequently among members of our generation whom have had access to the Internet from a very young age. And we all know how closely related the Internet and stigmas are. What you might confuse with bloating is the natural consequence of processing foods in the belly: a mild enlargement due to the presence gasses and liquids.


After you eat, your stomach breaks down foods into much smaller pieces before they travel down to the small intestine where most of the digestion process occurs. Foods that contain carbohydrates and fiber may cause the discharge of gas, which makes your stomach expand, also known as bloating. But none of that is worrisome because after some time passes along with gas, it ultimately subsides.


The culprit in all this is weight stigma. If thinness wasn’t so interchangeably linked with beauty, it becomes unlikely that some mild ballooning in the belly area would seem worthy of a “fix”.


Nevertheless, here’s how to reduce it.


If your bloat is excessive, it’s usually as a result of an imbalance in your gut as mentioned before. These bacteria are your best partners to keep you from feeling like a balloon. Normally, the first factor that compromises them is diet, and it is the also the thing you can control the most for effective results. A plant-filled diet rich in gut-friendly ingredients can help a lot. Some examples of those are leafy greens, artichokes and almonds. Another food category that is considered extremely gut-friendly is probiotics like pickled vegetables, yoghurt, sourdough and olive oil.


It’s important to note that stress is also a make or break factor that can cause this imbalance. It is known to slow down digestion for some people, and cause constipation. In this case, you might consider going for a walk, doing some yoga poses, using essential oils like peppermint and lavender, or even taking a long and relaxing bath. Honestly, all of those sound like a great time to us.