Get Rid Of Belly Bloat – 5 Easy Tips
5 Tips to Help You Get Rid Of Belly Bloat
You know the feeling. That “bloated” full, gassy feeling in your abdomen that makes your stomach sensitive and swollen. It’s not usually a sign of anything serious, but it’s really uncomfortable, it’s a buzz kill, and it zaps your energy.
I’m going to share the most common triggers of the “bloat” and give you a game plan to avoid it altogether.
Be sure to leave your questions and what has worked for you in the comments below. I want to hear from you!
Cause #1: Swallowed Air And Overeating
Believe it or not, we swallow a lot of air. And that air ends up getting trapped in our digestive system and can give us that bloated feeling. We swallow air when we chew gum, drink carbonated beverages, suck on hard candy, drink through a straw, talk while we eat, and smoke cigarettes (if the fear of cancer doesn’t get you to stop, maybe the fear of the bloat will J).
We can also swallow lots of air when we eat too quickly. And big chunks of poorly chewed food end up in our stomachs, leaving us uncomfortable and making digestion more difficult.
Overeating also taxes our digestive system—even if we overeat with healthy food! So whether we’re swallowing too much air or ate too much, we’re going to get that bloated, crummy feeling.
It’s really that simple, we just have to remember to do it. Also, having small meals more frequently throughout the day (rather than stuffing yourself because you’re starving) can help digestion tremendously. Enjoy small snacks between meals of easy-to-digest lighter foods, such as a piece of fruit, hummus and carrot chips, or a protein bar. I recommend USANA’s MySmartFoods Protein Bars, personally Dark Chocolate is my favorite. They satisfy your hunger without the empty carbohydrates of most guilty pleasures.
Cause #2: Adding Certain (Healthy) Foods Too Quickly Into Your Diet
Certain foods can be especially hard to digest when they’re first introduced into your diet. Your inner digestive ecosystem needs time to adjust to the changes being introduced.
The main food culprits that trigger gas and bloating include: cruciferous vegetables, onions, and legumes (you know the magical fruit).
The natural sugars in these foods are difficult for your body to break down when they’re first added to your diet. Once your inner ecosystem is healthy and adapted to the new diet, they are much easier to digest.
To counteract the effect of the onions and cruciferous veggies, you might want to try preparing your vegetables by baking, simmering, sautéing or lightly steaming them to make them more digestible.
You can also ease into things by starting with a 1/2-cup serving every 1-2 days for a week so that your body can get used to them. Add an additional 1/2-cup serving daily for another week to help your body acclimate and create the enzymes we need to digest them.
Try digestive enzymes: If you’re experiencing bloating at any time, you may need a digestive enzyme booster. Some people make too few of the important digestive enzymes, which can easily lead to chronic bloating. But even for the rest of us, digestive enzymes can really help prevent bloating, especially when adopting new, healthy diet changes. I recommend USANA’s Digestive Enzyme which supplies a wide range of supplemental enzymes that support the breakdown of dietary carbohydrates, fat, protein, lactose, and cellulose. It also contains artichoke extract, which helps relieve occasional stomach upset, especially after a large meal.
Take probiotics daily: Bloating and gas can be a sign of too much bad bacteria and not enough good bacteria. Eating fermented foods, such as tempeh, kombucha, sauerkraut and kimchee, can help your gut stay happy and healthy. But if you don’t eat these foods on a daily basis -and most of us don’t- try takingprobiotics. I do every day – it’s easy! I take USANA’s Probiotics. These beneficial microbes are shelf stable and survive the stomach acid so that all of them make it into your gut and will get to work on digesting the culprits that cause of gas.
Cause #3: Bad food choices.
You already know this. Eating fatty, fried and heavy foods makes us stay uncomfortably full longer. Plus, it produces extra gas as your digestive system breaks down these types of foods. Excessive dairy products can be a source of excessive gas, due to poor digestion of the milk sugar lactose even among people who are lactose tolerant. So you may want to “cut the cheese” and other dairy from your diet.
Artificial sweetners (sugar alcohols) such as sorbitol, xylitol and maltitol, are found in sugar-free or “no sugar added” foods and are also problematic. Our bodies can’t digest them, but the bacteria in our gut ferments them causing a great deal of gas.
Eat whole foods more often and sweeten your foods naturally. Focus on whole plant foods like whole grains, veggies, fruits, nuts and seeds, since they’re lighter and easier to digest. Have little snacks throughout the day to get used to this shift. And ease fiber in slowly. Lastly, avoid artificially sweetened foods, and instead sweeten foods with a little maple syrup, honey, stevia or dates.
Cause #4: Too much fiber, too fast.
Even though fiber is super important for your health, jumping into a high-fiber diet (30+ grams daily) when your system is used to a low-fiber Standard American diet (15 grams or less) may not be overly pleasant and will probably result in a lot of bloat.
Add high-fiber foods in slowly. Adding high-fiber foods at a rate of 5-10 additional grams of fiber daily for one week at a time should help you avoid any increased gas or bloating. So add a piece of fruit, 1 cup of raw veggies, ½ c cooked veggies, or 1/2 cup of beans or lentils. Or if you’re having difficulty making the switch to enough whole foods, you can easily add fiber with USANA’s MySmartFoods Fibergy Plus. It’s a flavorless blend of soluble and insoluble fiber that’s easy to blend into whatever you’re having:
Bust A Move! Exercise promotes healthy digestion and releases trapped gas. Even a 15-minute walk can help relieve the bloat. Also, if you sit at your desk a lot, consider getting the free StandUp app. It will remind you to stand up and stretch at predetermined intervals that you set. I use this when I sit down at the computer.
Cause #5: Eating foods that trigger food sensitivities.
A lot of us are unaware of our food sensitivities or intolerances. Figuring this out can go a long, long way in determining what can help you eliminate bloat and other digestive problems. The five most common foods that account for about 75% of all food allergies include: wheat (gluten), corn, soy, dairy, and eggs. Besides the bloat, other common symptoms of food sensitivities are dark circles under the eyes, and tiredness/mental fogginess – you know, the food coma after eating. You should feel clear and energized after eating.
Start an elimination diet to determine which ones you’re affected by. Eliminate all suspect foods for 14-21 days and then adding them in one at a time will help you to pinpoint which foods are the culprits. It will also help you figure out which ones you can safely eat.
Do away with dairy: The milk sugar, lactose, is a common culprit in gassiness. Avoid or minimize dairy foods and incorporate the unsweetened, non-dairy milks made from almonds, coconut, or rice. If you haven’t tried them, they are really good!
So you want to get rid of that uncomfortable bloated feeling?
Check out the list above and admit to yourself what eating habits of yours could be improved. Then take a look at the solutions for relief and see how many you can integrate regularly into your diet and lifestyle. The more you can implement, the quicker you’re going to reduce or eliminate bloating. Keep in mind that the most time-consuming tip is probably identifying food sensitivities, so just make sure you’ve blocked out 3-4 weeks of time to tackle that one.
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Let me hear from you
What culprits leave you feeling bloated and what do you do about it? Let me know in the comments below.