Stomach bloating is when your tummy feels stretched, puffy and uncomfortable, and fizzy drinks and cruciferous vegetables are often the culprits. It can also occur if you eat too much, and with Easter this weekend and plenty of chocolate going round, many people are sure to feel uncomfortably full after overindulging in the sweet treat. But an expert has warned if you feel bloated after an Easter egg binge, you shouldn’t assume you’ve simply eaten too much.
A chocolate-fuelled bout of bloating could be a sign of a more serious problem
A chocolate-fuelled bout of tummy cramps, or acne, brain fog and headaches, could be signs of a more serious problem.
Sarah Hughes, a nutritional therapist with food intolerance testing firm YorkTest Laboratories, says she experiences a surge of people seeking her advice after Easter and Christmas.
And she claims the food intolerances people often unknowingly suffer from can be brought to the surface by binging on milk chocolate, which contains large amounts of dairy.
Sarah, who is also a medical herbalist, said: “Following Easter and Christmas my clinic is busy with people feeling ‘not quite right’.
“Milk chocolate Easter eggs contain far more milk than many people realise.
“It’s the main ingredient, followed by sugar. Nuts and vegetable oils, such as palm oil, are often in them too.”
Sarah explained this is a problem for people suffering from an intolerance, many of whom remain in the dark about their sensitivity.
She added: “When food particles enter the bloodstream the immune system can sometimes identify them as ‘foreign’ and produces IgG antibodies to attack them.
“This is a food intolerance, which causes inflammation and can see people experience digestive upsets like bloating, belching, wind and abdominal cramps.”
Other symptoms of a food intolerance include skin outbreaks, fatigue and joint pain, headaches and migraines, as well as brain fog.
Sleep can also be affected and food intolerances may even contribute to anxiety and depression.
“If you feel your digestion isn’t working as it should, or you’re sluggish most of the time, you may have an intolerance to something you are eating,” Sarah explained.
“Through our tests we find that people can have an intolerance to milk amongst other food triggers, so it’s no wonder they feel rubbish after an Easter egg binge.”
Another recommendation which comes from Sarah this Easter is to opt for “quality not quantity”, and to opt for a minimum of 70 per cent cocoa to avoid overloading on sugar.
Sugar has also been known to trigger bloating.
She said: “You can still indulge and treat yourself. Keep your eye out for high-quality dark chocolate eggs.
“Depending on the percentage of cocoa used, they often contain no dairy products whatsoever.
“And there is much less sugar in dark chocolate so you can taste the bitterness of the cocoa beans.
“Raw cacao chocolate comes from the cocoa bean which contain the substance theobromine – Latin for ‘food of the gods’. Not only that but theobromine is high in antioxidants as well.
“And there are plenty of vegan Easter eggs on the market which won’t contain any dairy at all. But do check the ingredients as they can be high in sugar.”
Another common food intolerance is to gluten. There are five signs to look out for that could indicate you have an allergy to gluten.
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