You’ve been looking forward to this birthday treat since a month-it’s happening in your favorite eatery that offers a variety of cuisines and delicacies. Choosing a la carte items at such places is a challenge as you are tempted to choose many varieties but when you go for a buffet its beyond imagination. Overloaded with choices we fill our tummies with as much food as possible to satisfy our taste buds and have the money’s worth! Once back home, all the happiness vanishes and we feel miserable after the meal with all the fats, sugars, salt and carbs making fun of us. Our body feels heavy and the stomach makes its presence felt very much by causing discomfort. The same experience could be possible by eating a bagful of your favorite potato wafers sitting in front of the television or devouring creamy pasta at the café. ‘For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction’ so, it is indeed necessary that you need to face the consequences of eating too much food in the form of bloating.
Often you feel that your tummy has swollen and you even joke that it might burst anytime due to overindulgence in tasty food-that’s bloating and it can cause ample discomfort to your body. We all know that overeating is one major cause for this but there are also other reasons such as sleeping late, eating too much junk, drinking soda or eating too much salt that can lead to this discomfort.
Optimizing Sodium Intake to Avoid Gastrointestinal Complaints
Too much sodium intake leads to water retention in the body resulting in bloating. Our present lifestyle promotes the excess intake of sodium in the form of processed foods that are overloaded with sodium-there are even some foods that are not salty but are full of sodium. Bloating is one of the leading gastrointestinal complaints worldwide which could become worse when people follow a high-fibre diet. A build-up of excess gas in the gut is because of gas-producing gut bacteria breaking down fibre. But fibre is good for health and lowering fibre levels are not recommended. What’s possible is to decrease sodium intakes without compromising on fibre. We have moderate research on this and the study by Mueller et al. was the first to examine sodium as a cause of bloating in both, low-fibre and high-fibre diets.
A study published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology shows that high-fibre DASH diet increased bloating among study participants in comparison to a low-fibre control diet. Re-analysing data from a clinical trial conducted more than 2 decades ago it was evident that high sodium intake increased bloating among trial participants. The DASH diet was tested against a low-fibre control diet against three levels of sodium. DASH diet includes intake of fruits, vegetables and nuts-for more details about this diet please visit www.firsteatright.com. All the 412 participants in the trial had high BP at the start of the trial of which 36.7% of them suffered from bloating. After consuming the high-fibre DASH diet the risk of bloating increased by 41% compared to the low-fibre control diet-the effect was pronounced in men compared to women. Comparison of sodium intake between the two diets (highest level of sodium vs lowest) showed that high-sodium version of the diet increased risk of bloating by about 27% compared to the low-sodium version. This shows that reducing sodium consumption in foods might help people reduce bloating and also serve to be useful in maintaining a high-fibre diet.
Besides, too much sodium also leads to couple of other health problems such as hypertension but cutting down the consumption of salt completely is also not advisable as we need salt to maintain water balance in the body. Also, food doesn’t taste good and cannot be eaten without any salt. So, eliminate excess consumption and maintain moderate levels by choosing the right foods and exercising (sweat contains sodium and exercise brings upon sweat).
AVOID FRAUD. EAT SMART.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.