Surprising Reasons for Belly Bloat

Did you know that stomach bloat can be triggered by anything from reheating pasta to fluctuating hormones? Let's learn what is behind that fluctuating waistband and bloated feeling - and what can you do about it.

If you feel uncomfortable after eating potatoes, rice or pasta in a restaurant it turns out you may have more to blame than the bread basket.

These foods are often re-heated and this changes the molecular structure, turning it into a "resistant starch." This can't be digested in the small intestine and hence passes into the large intestine. The bacteria that helps break it down produces gas, hence bloating.

What can you do about it? Try to eat freshly cooked food as much as possible. Processed foods such as ready-made meals have more resistant starch.

FLUCTUATING HORMONES Also, during ovulation the ovaries produce more progesterone and it causes muscles in the abdomen to relax. The muscles in the bowel also relax, meaning they are less efficient at moving food along. This can cause constipation, triggering further bloating.

What can you do? Increase fiber intake during those times.

When you chew gum you swallow more air, which increases the risk of bloating. Ingredients found in sugar-free gum (and incidentally in sugar-free drinks) are worse because they contain ingredients such as sorbitol and xylitol which are fermented by bacteria in the belly and may also cause bloating.

There is a clear connection between the stomach and the brain. Stress can make any digestive symptoms worse.

When stressed and anxious we swallow more air. Excessive emotional stress also results in an increase in hydrochloric acid in the intestinal tract and stomach. This increase in stomach acid can cause gas in the intestine to build up and lead to bloating.

What can you do? Laugh more. Laughing can reduce your stomach acid and gas. Laughing is also a great stress reliever that helps you to re-frame problems and exercise your internal muscles.