Bloating is very common and can be caused after consuming certain foods and drinks, or by swallowing air when we eat. It can also be a result of digestion issues like constipation, food intolerance, coeliac disease, and irritable bowel syndrome.
The good news is that we can avoid or ease bloating and relevant symptoms by changing certain eating and lifestyle habits.
- Not eating too much at a time as being too full can make your tummy feel uncomfortable.
- Chewing your food more. This can make it easier for you to break down food and make it go through your body more easily. Chewing more means you don’t swallow so much air. Also, it makes you eat more slower which can stop you from eating too much in one go.
- Eating 5-6 smaller meals/ snacks per day, so you don’t get too full at any one time.
- Try not to miss any meals or eat late at night.
- Eating less fat. Fatty foods can take longer to go through your body and means your stomach is full for longer, and this can cause bloating. Ways to have less fat include:
- eating less fried or creamy foods.
- taking fat that you can see off meat before you cook it.
- grill or oven bake foods rather than frying them.
- Hot drinks can help food to go through your body more easily, but drinks such as too much coffee can make bloating and stomach problems worse. Try to only have 2-3 cups a day of drinks with caffeine in them. Instead try mint or fruit teas or decaffeinated tea and coffees.
- Cutting down on what alcohol you have as this can also make stomach problems worse.
- Certain foods can make you have more wind (gas). If this wind stays in your stomach (and it doesn’t pass through your body and come out as wind) it can make you feel uncomfortable and bloated. There are some foods which might give you more wind, so try to cut down on foods such as:
- beans and pulses;
- vegetables such as brussels sprouts, cauliflower, garlic, onions, cabbage, leeks, mushrooms;
- fruit such as apples, cherries;
- some artificial sweeteners such as xylitol, sorbitol and mannitol which are commonly added to sugar-free products like fruit squashes, mints or chewing gum. If you cut down these foods, but it doesn’t help your bloating, you can start eating them again.
- Eating more soluble fibre. You could eat more oats or oat bran (such as oat-based breakfast cereal or porridge) or try adding linseeds or flaxseeds (starting with ½ tablespoon a day and building to 1 tablespoon twice a day as required). Make sure you drink an additional 200ml water with each tablespoon of seeds that you add so that you don’t get constipated.
- Add pro and prebiotics to your diet plan
- Foods rich in Probiotics: yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, tempeh, kimchi, miso, kombucha, pickles, traditional buttermilk, natto, some types of cheese
- Foods rich in Prebiotics:
- In some people, stress slows down how food goes through your body, which can cause bloating, pain and constipation or it can cause an upset stomach and diarrhoea. Stress can make you not feel like eating, or it can make you gulp air. It can be difficult to avoid all stress but having ways to help you manage the stress can be useful. For example, when you are tense, practise slow breathing or mindfulness exercises. If you are feeling very anxious, stressed, or unhappy then it may help to try and calm yourself before eating. Try to keep mealtimes happy and relaxed and put off any difficult conversations until after a meal.
- Wear clothes that are not too tight around your waist, as these can increase the pressure on your stomach and make it harder for wind to pass along normally.
- Having a warm bath, and spend time soaking, and relaxing. The heat of the bath can help a sore tummy. Doing this and finding other ways to relax can help you feel less stressed, and this helps your stomach.
- Consider counselling to talk about the things that you are finding difficult or stressful. There may be things about your critical illness that you are upset about and need support with.
- Exercise and massage.
Physical health that depends to our diet, exercise, and sleep, are closely related and affected by our mental health wellbeing.
Each May that is observed as the Mental Health Awareness Month, is an opportunity to refocus on self-care, improve our relationships with others, adopt healthier eating and exercise habits, improve our sleep hygiene and seek for professional support if need.
Take the first step and Download our Mental Health Calendar - May 2023 to find 31 ways to a Healthier You.
If you’re visiting the Hellenic Maritime Forum and are intrigued by what OneCare Solutions can do for the mental health and well-being of your crew, do reach out to Managing Director Marinos Kokkinis at our booth!
One of the most effective ways to improve our well-being status is by changing our eating habits as nutrition has a significant effect on our physical and mental well-being.
There are many diet models for an individual to choose from, the decision however, should be taken considering current health status and goals aim to achieve with the guidance and supervision of a registered nutritionist.
Despite the type of diet, you will choose to follow, switching to sustainable eating habits is essential as what we eat, and how that food is produced, affects our health and the environment.
- More than one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions caused by human activity can be attributed to the way we produce, process, and package food.
- 19 percent of global food system greenhouse gas emissions are caused by transportation. This is up to seven times higher than previously estimated, and far exceeds the transport emissions of other commodities.
In 2018 Joseph Poore and Thomas Nemecek published their results from the largest meta-analysis study on global food systems using data from more than 38,000 commercial farms in 119 countries.
Figure #1 helps us to understand from which supply chain stages and the amount of greenhouse gas emissions produced from different food items.
This extends from land use changes on the left, through to transport and packaging on the right.
The most important finding from this study is the massive differences in the GHG emissions of different foods.
- a kilogram of beef emits 60 kilograms of greenhouse gases (CO2-equivalents) while peas emit only 1 kilogram per kg.
Overall, animal-based foods tend to have a higher footprint than plant-based (Figure 2). Lamb and cheese both emit more than 20 kilograms of CO2-equivalents per kilogram. Poultry and pork have lower footprints but are still higher than most plant-based foods, at 6 and 7 kg CO2-equivalents, respectively. For most foods – and particularly the largest emitters – most GHG emissions result from land use change (shown in green), and from processes at the farm stage (brown). Combined, land use and farm-stage emissions account for more than 80% of the footprint for most foods.
Tips to a sustainable diet:
- Reduce meat and have some meat-free days every week.
A healthy balanced diet plan recommends reducing red meat, and now there’s another reason to treat it more as a condiment than a main dish. Meat production is a substantial contributor to greenhouse gas emissions – beef production especially – and the environmental burden deepens, as raising and transporting livestock also requires more food, water, land, and energy than plants.
To eat for our own health as well as that of the planet, we should consider picking non-meat proteins such as nuts and legumes.
- Eat more plant foods.
Vegetables, grains, lentils, and fruits are part of an optimal diet while aiding the planet to heal faster.
Plant-based eating reduces freshwater withdrawals and deforestation —a win-win for both our personal health and the environment.
- Cut down your food waste.
When you throw away food, you’re also wasting the energy, land, water, and fertilizer that was used to produce, package, and transport it.
- Buy only what you need.
- Store food wisely.
- Understand food expiration dates.
- Use leftovers.
- Try local and seasonal food items.
Foods that are in season and are from local markets have very low food-related emissions.
- EU Seasonal Food Directory: https://www.eufic.org/en/explore-seasonal-fruit-and-vegetables-in-europe
- US Seasonal Food Directory: https://www.seasonalfoodguide.org/
- Australian Seasonal Food Directory: http://seasonalfoodguide.com/
- Eat mindfully.
One of the simplest things you can do to eat more sustainably is to practice mindful eating.
Focusing on what you’re eating allows you to reflect on where your food came from and how it is nourishing your body. Additionally, by tuning in to your hunger signals you may learn that you don’t need as much food as you thought and resize your meals accordingly.
By paying more attention to how we eat and thinking about all the factors related to each of our meals, we may alter our food consumption to only what our body needs avoiding extra calories and reducing food waste, as well as becoming encouraged to seek out more sustainable food sources.
- Mengyu Li, Nanfei Jia, Manfred Lenzen, Arunima Malik, Liyuan Wei, Yutong Jin, David Raubenheimer. Global food-miles account for nearly 20% of total food-systems emissions. Nature Food, 2022; DOI: 10.1038/s43016-022-00531-w.
- Poore, J., & Nemecek, T. (2018). Reducing food’s environmental impacts through producers and consumers. Note: Greenhouse gases are weighted by their global warming potential value (GWP100). GWP100 measures the relative warming impact of one molecule of greenhouse gas, relative to carbon dioxide, over 100 years. OurWorldInData.org/environmental-impacts-of-food.
- Hannah Ritchie and Max Roser (2022) - "Environmental Impacts of Food Production".
Published online at OurWorldInData.org. Retrieved from: https://ourworldindata.org/environmental-impacts-of-food
- British Dietetic Association (2022) How to start a sustainable diet.