Ahh bloating. When you put your clothes on in the morning and by lunchtime look four months pregnant and need to discreetly undo your trousers.
There’s little worse than that awful, swollen feeling lots us get. Bloating can leave many women feeling like we neither look, nor feel our best and really affecting our confidence. In fact, a recent survey by Alflorex suggested that up to 69 % of women felt overweight due to bloating triggered by IBS.
As we age we can particularly prone to bloating for many reasons. Our digestive rates increasing our likelihood of reactions to gut-challenging foods. Our hormonal fluctuations can trigger bloating especially we take in a lot of sodium.
You may have noticed this increase around the peri-menopause (it’s also when the dreaded ‘middle-aged spread’ starts sadly). Our oestrogen levels are increasingly erratic now and we can be prone to holding water and gases, creating that ‘swollen’ look we seek to avoid.
These oestrogen levels also control the bile our stomach creates which sounds gross but without it we become quite constipated and leads to bloating. It also creates delightful gases making us flatulent. And who said that ageing wasn’t fun!
Bloating can also be the result of food intolerances, insulin resistance and HRT. In very rare instances it can be the sign of something more serious so if you’re noticing significant bloating every day, always see your doctor for advice.
Quit smoking. It goes without saying really but if you’re still using Nicotine you really must stop.
Chew gum or drink diet fizzy drinks – you swallow air into your digestive tract and feel gassy
Eat Carbs. Your bowel will thank you – it’s become increasingly trendy in recent years to cut carbs from your diet but women 50+ need 21 grams of fibre a day. Get these from plant sources to keep your digestion healthy.
Move. You need to move little and often to keep bloating under control. Yoga is particularly effective to help the body’s natural rhythms remain in balance.
Eat 5 small meals a day to keep your metabolism from slowing down. You will be less hungry and it will help you to lose menopause related weight gain. You need less calories after 50 so try to keep the indulgences down – it’ll help your waistline as well as your bloating
Eat too much Salt. Reduce your daily intake of salt by avoiding processed or convenience foods. Do not add extra salt to your food. If you season your food at the start with lots of herbs and spices, you rarely need lots of salt at the end.
Eat more Peanut and Almond butter, almond milk, grapes, bananas, eggs, fruit juices, yogurt, hard cheese, watercress, cucumber, watermelon.
Cut back on these foods. Broccoli, cauliflower, soft cheese, oats, onions, potatoes, pears, legumes, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, beans, peas, carbonated drinks, processed foods, and anything cooked in lots of oil, Pizza (sorry)
Drink more. You need at least 6/8 glass each day to flush out excess water and toxins. Drinking a large glass of water can quickly relieve gas pain. If you really hate water you can also get your rehydration from juices, and teas, such as ginger are absolute wonders for bloating and sore tummies. Finally, we know it’s boring but lay off the caffeine and alcohol, at least a bit.