You’d love to have a flat belly for the party tonight, but thanks to one too many sodas or that basket of chips, zipping your pants is a real struggle and your stomach looks like you have swallowed a balloon and we aren’t talking about the extra pounds of stomach fat here — we’re talking about the temporary abdominal distention that plagues most everyone from time to time —bloating .
“Bloating” is not the same as water retention, although the two terms can be used interchangeably, bloating usually is as a result of excess gas production, and/or disturbances in the movement of the muscles of the digestive system. The most common causes of bloating include:
- Certain foods and beverages – for example, gas-producing foods like beans, broccoli, cabbage, sprouts, cauliflower or fizzy drinks
- Changes in your diet – for example, if you are travelling or on holiday
- Swallowing air – for example, if you talk while eating
- Medication such as aspirin, antacids, corticosteroids, stool bulking agents, anti-diarrhea medicines, opioid painkillers
- Food supplements such as multivitamins and iron
- Food intolerances such as lactose intolerance.
Thanks to science and some home remedies, it’s a condition that can be easily avoided and here’s how.
Avoid Eating Too Much at a Time and Too Quickly
Food is meant to be eaten slowly so every distinct taste is meant to be enjoyed. Eating quickly and not chewing your food well can cause air swallowing that leads to bloating. If you’re eating big meals and tend to feel uncomfortable afterward, then try smaller portions.
Gas produced by the bacteria in the intestine is a major contributor to bloating. There are many different types of bacteria that reside there, and they can vary between individuals. Loading up on probiotics can help improve the bacterial environment in the gut, which can help reduce symptoms of gas and bloating.
Avoid Swallowing Air and Gases
Chewing gum, taking fizzy drinks, drinking through a straw, and eating while talking or while in a hurry, can also lead to increased amounts of swallowed air. Fizzy drinks contain carbon dioxide, a gas that can be released from the liquid after it reaches your stomach. Also, try not to talk and eat at the same time to avoid taking in more air.
Take a Lot of Water
Aside from hydrating you, drinking H20 throughout the day can prevent constipation. People often feel bloated when they’re constipated, and water keeps things moving. To give yourself a metabolism boost while you’re at it, down a 16-ounce glass a half-hour before you eat, as research shows those who did, lost weight faster than their less-hydrated counterparts.
Avoid Foods High in Sodium
Experts cite salt as being one of the most common causes of bloating because when you eat too much of it, it causes fluid buildup that increases your blood volume, makes your heart work harder and gives you that totally uncomfortable feeling.
Eat Fruits With the Skin
Whole fruits like apples and pears are great for beating bloat. Just don’t strip off the skin, as that’s where the largest amounts of fiber reside. Fiber helps reduce bloating by preventing constipation and keeping things moving through the digestive system.