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Is Your Swollen Stomach Belly Fat Or Bloating? 4 Questions To Find The Answer

Is Your Swollen Stomach Belly Fat Or Bloating? 4 Questions To Find The Answer

For those of you who have ever suffered from a swollen stomach, you will be aware that this can be an uncomfortable and emotionally distressing experience. What you may not know is the root cause of this. While many believe that it occurs as the result of excess belly fat, it may actually be the manifestation of bloating.

It is important to distinguish between these two issues, as both have entirely different triggers and are indicative of potentially diverse health problems. A lack of knowledge and understanding may also cause you to use the wrong approach to deal with the problem, which could exacerbate the issue and the symptoms you are forced to manage.

How Can you Tell the Difference Between Belly Fat and Bloating?

When presented with a swollen stomach, the first step is to monitor your symptoms to determine what is the most likely cause. This can enable you to make an informed decision on how you deal with the problem, ensuring that you pursue suitable courses of treatment that deliver the desired result.

With this in mind, here are four important considerations when attempting to distinguish between belly fat and bloating:

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1. Is the Swelling Localized or Widespread?

To begin with, examine your stomach visually. Is the swelling localised, or can you identify bulges in other places on your body? If you answer yes to the former, you are most likely suffering from bloating that has targeted the stomach and the abdominal regions. If you notice additional bulges elsewhere and particularly on the thighs, hips and buttocks, however, you are probably carrying excess fat.

2. Is Your Swollen Stomach Firm or Spongy?

At this point, take the time to press your stomach and focus specifically on the most pronounced areas of swelling. As a general rule, stomach fat will feel spongy and malleable when pressure is applied, whereas bloating usually makes your abdomen appear tight and noticeably firm. As a result of this, anyone who can grasp more than an inch of your stomach, it is probably carrying excess fat.

3. Is the Swelling Constant or Intermittent?

The duration of your swelling is also a key indicator of the root cause, as fat cells build up over time and are likely to remain constantly. In contrast, bloating occurs in intermittent periods, meaning that the shape of your stomach may fluctuate throughout the course of each day.

4. Is the Swelling Painful?

On a final note, it is important to check whether or not the swelling is accompanied by pain. After all, bloating is almost always a painful experience to some degree or another, whereas excess fat is not known to cause any physical discomfort. The presence of excess gas is also a symptom of bloating, particularly if it coincides with the expansion of your stomach.

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How Can you Deal with a Bloated Stomach?

Establishing your precise symptoms should offer a clear indication into the root cause of your swollen stomach, and at this stage, you can begin to plot a clear course of action. This is crucial, as the failure to distinguish between fat and a bloated stomach causes many to categorise swelling as a trivial and unimportant problem that only impacts on their physical appearance.

This is a significant oversight, as a bloated stomach may also be indicative of a serious health concern known as dysbiosis. This refers to an imbalance that exists between good and bad bacteria within your stomach, where unhealthy and unnatural organisms such as yeast and protozoa become prominent in the intestines and alter the bodies fundamental nutrition patterns.

This imbalance, which hinders the growth of the 400 organisms that are naturally found in the stomach, can cause a multitude of health complaints in addition to bloating (including indigestion, diarrhoea, nausea, iron deficiency, stomach infestations, fatigue and even skin conditions).

So if you have determined that your stomach is bloated rather than covered in excess fat, here are some initial steps you can take to manage this problem:

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1. Stay Hydrated At All Times

Let’s start with the basics, as when you are not drinking enough fluids, your body automatically retains water to prevent dehydration. So, by maximising your fluid intake and drinking at least six, eight-ounce glasses of liquid each day, you can remain hydrated and prevent the retention of water. Just be selective about the drinks that you consume, with the best bet being to focus on water and avoid sugary or artificially flavoured drinks.

2. Consume Largely High-Protein Meals

Similarly, high-protein meals can also reduce water retention and alleviate the symptoms of bloating. This is because such diets promote the elimination of fluids through urine, helping tissues to dry out over time. This is particularly effective for women, who are most likely to suffer from water retention and subsequent bloating.

3. Reduce your Carbohydrate Intake

In case you weren’t aware, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) remains the most common digestive disorder in the world, affecting an estimated 14% of the global population (most of whom are undiagnosed). Bloating is a common symptom of this ailment, but even if you are not suffering from IBS, this conditions may offer an insight into the root cause of your problem.

More specifically, indigestible carbohydrates known as FODMAPS are known to drastically increase stomach bloating and exacerbate the symptoms of IBS, so reducing or at least modifying your carb intake can lead to a dramatic improvement in your condition over time.

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What if You are Suffering from Belly Fat?

For those of you who find that they are simply carrying excess belly fat, here are some tips and techniques that can help you to trim this and restore a healthier physical form:

1. Avoid Refined Sugar and Simple Carbs

Interestingly, those carrying excess belly fat should also look to manage their carbohydrate intake carefully. Avoiding ‘simple’ carbs that are loaded with fat is a good starting point, as it eliminating the type of refined sugar found in chocolate, sweets and so-called energy drinks.

2. Create a Protein and Fibre Rich Body

The cultivation of a protein and fibre rich body can also help to reduce stomach fat over time. Protein is known to reduce unhealthy food cravings by 60%, for example, while also boosting metabolism by between 80 and 100 calories. A diet containing soluble and viscous fibres also triggers a slower and more effective digestion process, making you feel fuller for longer and maintaining a reduced, natural appetite.

Just remember that fibres are similar to carbohydrates in terms of their complexity, so you will need to determine which ingredients are the most conducive to fat and weight loss.

3. Combine Diet with Exercise

When looking to trim body fat, exercise is a key consideration. This should be aligned with diet to achieve the optimal results, although it is important to strike the ideal balance between cardiovascular and muscle work-outs. Performing abdominal exercises alone is not enough to reduce belly fat, as you must engage in high-intensity activity to burn the fat and reduce the circumference of your weight.

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Last Updated on March 25, 2020

How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

When it comes to living long, genes aren’t everything. Research has revealed a number of simple lifestyle changes you can make that could help to extend your life, and some of them may surprise you.

So, how to live longer? Here are 21 ways to help you live a long life

1. Exercise

It’s no secret that physical activity is good for you. Exercise helps you maintain a healthy body weight and lowers your blood pressure, both of which contribute to heart health and a reduced risk of heart disease–the top worldwide cause of death.

2. Drink in Moderation

I know you’re probably picturing a glass of red wine right now, but recent research suggests that indulging in one to three glasses of any type of alcohol every day may help to increase longevity.[1] Studies have found that heavy drinkers as well as abstainers seem to have a higher risk of early mortality than moderate drinkers.

3. Reduce Stress in Your Life

Stress causes your body to release a hormone called cortisol. At high levels, this hormone can increase blood pressure and cause storage of abdominal fat, both of which can lead to an increased risk of heart disease.

4. Watch Less Television

A 2008 study found that people who watch six hours of television per day will likely die an average of 4.8 years earlier than those who don’t.[2] It also found that, after the age of 25, every hour of television watched decreases life expectancy by 22 minutes.

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Television promotes inactivity and disengagement from the world, both of which can shorten your lifespan.

5. Eat Less Red Meat

Red meat consumption is linked to an increased risk of heart disease and cancer.[3] Swapping out your steaks for healthy proteins, like fish, may help to increase longevity.

If you can’t stand the idea of a steak-free life, reducing your consumption to less than two to three servings a week can still incur health benefits.

6. Don’t Smoke

This isn’t exactly a revelation. As you probably well know, smoking significantly increases your risk of cancer.

7. Socialize

Studies suggest that having social relationships promotes longevity.[4] Although scientists are unsure of the reasons behind this, they speculate that socializing leads to increased self esteem as well as peer pressure to maintain health.

8. Eat Foods Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids decrease the risk of heart disease[5] and perhaps even Alzheimer’s disease.[6] Salmon and walnuts are two of the best sources of Omega-3s.

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9. Be Optimistic

Studies suggest that optimists are at a lower risk for heart disease and, generally, live longer than pessimists.[7] Researchers speculate that optimists have a healthier approach to life in general–exercising more, socializing, and actively seeking out medical advice. Thus, their risk of early mortality is lower.

10. Own a Pet

Having a furry-friend leads to decreased stress, increased immunity, and a lessened risk of heart disease.[8] Depending on the type of pet, they can also motivate you to be more active.

11. Drink Coffee

Studies have found a link between coffee consumption and longer life.[9] Although the reasons for this aren’t entirely clear, coffee’s high levels of antioxidants may play a role. Remember, though, drowning your cup of joe in sugar and whipped cream could counter whatever health benefits it may hold.

12. Eat Less

Japan has the longest average lifespan in the world, and the longest lived of the Japanese–the natives of the Ryukyu Islands–stop eating when they’re 80% full. Limiting your calorie intake means lower overall stress on the body.

13. Meditate

Meditation leads to stress reduction and lowered blood pressure.[10] Research suggests that it could also increase the activity of an enzyme associated with longevity.[11]

Taking as little as 15 minutes a day to find your zen can have significant health benefits, and may even extend your life.

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How to meditate? Here’re 8 Meditation Techniques for Complete Beginners

14. Maintain a Healthy Weight

Being overweight puts stress on your cardiovascular system, increasing your risk of heart disease.[12] It may also increase the risk of cancer.[13] Maintaining a healthy weight is important for heart health and living a long and healthy life.

15. Laugh Often

Laughter reduces the levels of stress hormones, like cortisol, in your body. High levels of these hormones can weaken your immune system.

16. Don’t Spend Too Much Time in the Sun

Too much time in the sun can lead to an increased risk of skin cancer. However, sun exposure is an excellent way to increase levels of vitamin D, so soaking up a few rays–perhaps for around 15 minutes a day–can be healthy. The key is moderation.

17. Cook Your Own Food

When you eat at restaurants, you surrender control over your diet. Even salads tend to have a large number of additives, from sugar to saturated fats. Eating at home will enable you to monitor your food intake and ensure a healthy diet.

Take a look at these 14 Healthy Easy Recipes for People on the Go and start to cook your own food.

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18. Eat Mushrooms

Mushrooms are a central ingredient in Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s GOMBS disease fighting diet. They boost the immune system and may even reduce the risk of cancer.[14]

19. Floss

Flossing helps to stave off gum disease, which is linked to an increased risk of cancer.[15]

20. Eat Foods Rich in Antioxidants

Antioxidants fight against the harmful effects of free-radicals, toxins which can cause cell damage and an increased risk of disease when they accumulate in the body. Berries, green tea and broccoli are three excellent sources of antioxidants.

Find out more antiosidants-rich foods here: 13 Delicious Antioxidant Foods That Are Great for Your Health

21. Have Sex

Getting down and dirty two to three times a week can have significant health benefits. Sex burns calories, decreases stress, improves sleep, and may even protect against heart disease.[16] It’s an easy and effective way to get exercise–so love long and prosper!

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Featured photo credit: Sweethearts/Patrick via flickr.com

Reference

[1] Wiley Online Library: Late‐Life Alcohol Consumption and 20‐Year Mortality
[2] BMJ Journals: Television viewing time and reduced life expectancy: a life table analysis
[3] Arch Intern Med.: Red Meat Consumption and Mortality
[4] PLOS Medicine: Social Relationships and Mortality Risk: A Meta-analytic Review
[5] JAMA: Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acid Intake and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in Women
[6] NCBI: Effects of Omega‐3 Fatty Acids on Cognitive Function with Aging, Dementia, and Neurological Diseases: Summary
[7] Mayo Clinic Proc: Prediction of all-cause mortality by the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory Optimism-Pessimism Scale scores: study of a college sample during a 40-year follow-up period.
[8] Med Hypotheses.: Pet ownership protects against the risks and consequences of coronary heart disease.
[9] The New England Journal of Medicine: Association of Coffee Drinking with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality
[10] American Journal of Hypertension: Blood Pressure Response to Transcendental Meditation: A Meta-analysis
[11] Science Direct: Intensive meditation training, immune cell telomerase activity, and psychological mediators
[12] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
[13] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
[14] African Journal of Biotechnology: Anti-cancer effect of polysaccharides isolated from higher basidiomycetes mushrooms
[15] Science Direct: Periodontal disease, tooth loss, and cancer risk in male health professionals: a prospective cohort study
[16] AHA Journals: Sexual Activity and Cardiovascular Disease

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