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Common Culprits Behind Bloating And A Woman’s Pooch Belly

The presence of protruding stomach, also known as a “pooch belly” is a common complaint with women.

While there are several causes of pooch belly, a lot of women mistakenly believe it’s simply a matter of excess body fat. This isn’t entirely true as you’ll discover.

A pooch belly is a sign of inflammation and in-balance in the body. While inflammation can obviously trigger the increased storage of belly fat, a pooch belly may be the result of increased water retention and other factors.

In today’s post we’ll dig into what causes bloating and the resulting pooch belly.

More after the jump…

One of the main reasons women in particular are more prone to bloating and a pooch belly is due to the presence of hormones, especially during menstrual cycles.

Bloating is most often caused by excess water retention in the cells.  You’ll want to decrease caffeine, salt, alcohol, and sugar consumption in the days before beginning your menstrual cycle to help decrease the amount of water your body will store as it prepares to begin menstruating.

Research confirms that regular exercise is also a very effective means of helping to increase circulation, lymph flow, and balance fluid levels during menstruation (and all the time for that matter).

In addition to occurring during women’s cycles, water retention can also occur simply due to excessive sodium levels. When you consume too much sodium, the body works to balance things out by increasing intercellular water retention.

Remember those osmosis experiments in high school chemistry? You know the ones where they showed a normal (isotonic) cell, a shriveled (hypertonic) cell, and a bloated (hypotonic) cell.

This all has to do with electrolyte balances, primarily the balance of sodium to other electrolytes like potassium and magnesium. This is why you want to lay off those salty chips, pretzels, crackers, and processed foods.

When you do become bloated make sure to increase your water intake. A lot of women make the mistake of cutting back on water when they become bloated because they believe it will lead to further water retention.

The exact opposite is true. Drinking more water will help to flush out excess sodium and reduce bloating.

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Other factors that can cause bloating…

Consuming dairy products and raw cruciferous vegetables break down in the intestines differently than many other kinds of foods, often releasing gasses that can build up and expand in the abdominal cavity, thus creating the bloating.

Avoiding excess dairy or switching to almond milk as well as cooking cruciferous vegetables can help diminish the effects of these certain foods.

Just don’t just cut them out of your diet completely because certain dairy products like cottage cheese and yogurt along with cruciferous veggies are helpful in the diet.

Irritable bowel syndrome and not chewing your food slow enough (causing excess air to be swallowed with your food) can also increase the appearance of a distended stomach or pooch belly.

If you are feeling backed up in addition to bloated, increasing fiber in your diet with psyllium husk powder is a very beneficial strategy.

In fact, increasing fiber intake would be one the first things I’d recommend if you’re suffering from a pooch belly.

Remember, inflammation is commonly a primary root cause of the problem. You’ll want to increase consumption of whole, natural foods, while simultaneously decreasing processed and refined foods.

Excess sugar consumption is a main culprit because it leads to the overgrowth of candida in the gastrointestinal tract. Remember you have good and bad bacteria in the intestines.

The good guys (probiotics and digestive enzymes) help to keep the gastrointestinal tract functioning properly allowing for the assimilation of nutrients.

As candida yeast overtakes the gastrointestinal tract, a fungal environment results with the body secreting cortisol to deal with the resulting inflammation.

Small particles of undigested food can become lodged in the membranes of the gastrointestinal wall, thereby secreting toxins into the bloodstream. This entire cycle disrupts the body’s natural hormonal and fluid retention balances.

Here are the main things you can do to combat bloating and the presence of a pooch belly…

- Increase fiber content in your diet.

- Increase the consumption of whole, natural foods including leafy green vegetables and fruits.

- Decrease sugar intake and processed, refined foods.

- Exercise regularly to help regulate hormonal balances and electrolyte levels.

- Minimize or eliminate wheat gluten and other allergens/irritants to the gastrointestinal tract.

- Drink plenty of water, yes more water helps to naturally decrease intracellular water retention.

- Minimize or eliminate dairy products with the exception of hard cheeses, cottage cheese and natural yogurts.

- Take probiotic supplements to boost up levels of good bacteria and offset candida over-growth.

- Minimize or eliminate heavy starches in the diet which leads to excess sugar.

- Eliminate excess toxins in the body like nicotine, alcohol, etc.

The bottom line…

The above list will go a long way on helping you to minimize bloating and the appearance of a pooch belly. The big take-a-way is that bloating is a sign of internal imbalances. All the dieting in the world or time on a treadmill won’t necessarily fix these problems.

You’ve got to take a holistic approach at balancing out hormonal and electrolyte balances in your body. By working on your entire health and fitness you’ll naturally address the culprits behind bloating and inflammation.

Shane Doll is a certified personal trainer, fat loss expert, speaker, and founder of Shaping Concepts, a Mt. Pleasant based personal fitness training studio that specializes in Charleston weight loss programs for middle age adults seeking a body transformation.

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