There is nothing quite as uncomfortable as your belly feeling increased pressure and looking swollen. Whether the cause is hormonal, excess gas, or due to overeating, bloating is the absolute worst. The term is also sometimes used interchangeably with water retention, particularly when you have your period. In essence, bloating is triggered by excessive amounts of solids, liquids, and gas in your digestive system (food baby, anyone?). But, good news is, there are surefire ways to prevent that stuffed feeling. Here are some food swaps you should add and subtract from your diet to beat the bloat.
1. Add: Fiber
Bloating’s ultimate food nemeses is fiber. Constipation is one of the most common causes of a bloated bellies, and it is extremely uncomfortable and frustrating. Having fiber first thing in the morning (breakfast cereal will do the trick!) ensures you get your daily dose of fiber and kickstarts the digestive system to get moving smoothly.
2. Subtract: Soda
Remember how bloating can be caused by excess gas? Well, drinking soda is pretty much putting gas into your stomach. Soda contains high levels of carbon dioxide, which can get trapped in the digestive system and cause extreme pressure. Stick to water instead.
3. Add: Yogurt
The active cultures, lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, are two of your main bodyguards (so to speak) when it comes to fighting bloating. These “good bacteria” keep things moving in your digestive tract and prevent tummy bloat. Best to consume plain, non-fat, or low-fat yogurt. But adding a bit of fresh fruit into the mix if you have a sweet tooth can’t hurt either.
4. Subtract: Sodium
Let’s face it—most of the good stuff (and by good, we mean yummy) contain tons of sodium. French fries, Chinese takeaway, potato chips, chicharron—salt is tedious to avoid. However, keep in mind that excess salt causes water retention, which leads to bloating. As oversized as this piece of advice is, keep drinking water to retain fluid balance in your system, and to help flush the salt out of your body.
5. Add: Eggs
Eggs are handy protein packs that are filled with essential amino acids to aid with muscle building and brain chemical maintenance. Adding to that, studies have shown that people who had eggs for breakfast versus carbs felt fuller throughout the day, thus preventing overeating, which then lessens chances of bloating.
6. Subtract: Beer.
It isn’t called a beer belly for nothing! Similar to soda, beer is a carbonated beverage made from wheat and barley, among others. The high gluten content of these ingredients can cause intense discomfort for people with gluten sensitivity, resulting in major digestive problems including bloating, diarrhea, and stomach aches.
7. Add: Fluids.
We know it sounds counterproductive, but, think of it as a sort of lubricant to support the other ways which you fight bloating. For instance, drinking water eases the fibres you consume smoothly into your digestive system to ease up constipation. Also, being dehydrated causes your body to retain water. So drink up to avoid dehydration and therefore prevent water retention.
8. Subtract: Gum.
Chewing gum can make you unintentionally swallow too much air. If you must munch, try sucking on a hard candy or a lollipop instead. Or reach for nuts or popcorn! They have less sugar and have much more substance than good ole gum.
9. Add: Supplements
10. Subtract: Beans
Beans are very nutritious legumes, but if eaten in excess or if not cooked right can cause unwanted intestinal gas. This is mainly because of oligosaccharide, a type of sugar that our bodies find difficult to digest. If you must absolutely have that burrito though (because who can resist a yummy burrito, right?) just have some peppermint tea or lemon water handy for quick relief.
Text by: Yasha Barretto
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