Feeling bloated? How coronavirus isolation can impact digestion

Click to play video: 'How self-isolation can impact your digestion' How self-isolation can impact your digestion
Wellness expert Kyle Buchanan answers some of your diet and digestion questions as many of us start to feel the impact of isolation – Apr 9, 2020

It’s been weeks of a new reality for many Canadians as cases of the novel coronavirus continue to grow, and more and more people are staying home.

Whether this means working from home, self-isolating after travel or just generally spending more time indoors to flatten the curve, our day-to-day routines have completely changed. For many, this means their diet as well.

READ MORE: If we’re six feet apart, can we still hang out during the coronavirus outbreak?

In a recent segment for Global News’ The Morning Show, Toronto wellness expert Kyle Buchanan told hosts bloating and other digestive issues are becoming more common during the pandemic.

“A major contributor is stress,” he said. “We’re in a stressful time right now and stress really impairs our digestive system.”

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He adds that people don’t produce as many digestive enzymes when they are stressed.

READ MORE: What is a ventilator, and why do some coronavirus patients need one?

“Make sure you are in a relaxed state every time you eat, whether it’s a snack or meal,” he said. “Take three deep breathes before you eat, making your exhales longer than your inhales.”

Click to play video: 'Mindfulness may help many chronic digestion issues' Mindfulness may help many chronic digestion issues
Mindfulness may help many chronic digestion issues – Feb 28, 2017

He also recommends drinking ginger tea in the morning and drinking it throughout the day, which can help with post-meal bloat.

Another issue with breaking your routine is snacking at random times of the day, Buchanan added. This can also impact digestion.

He says we should always ask ourselves, “Am I really hungry, thirsty, or am I just bored?”

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READ MORE: No, warm water won’t ‘kill’ coronavirus — Busting immune-boosting myths of the pandemic

Bloating isn’t always a result of eating one type of food, Abby Langer, a Toronto-based dietitian, said in a previous Global News report.

“What many people don’t realize is when you’re increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables, switching from a diet that’s full of junk food to eating whole foods, you’ll also increase your intake of fibre and that will bloat you,” she said.

READ MORE: Flour maker says rising pandemic demand is double their usual holiday peak

Bloating can also be caused by alcohol, PMS or being constipated.

“Massaging your abdomen can help ease the bloating from constipation,” she said.

Watch the full clip on how physical distancing can impact your digestion in the video above.

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.

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Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

— with files from Global News’ Marilisa Racco. 

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