How to Reduce Belly Bloat and Keep It Off
Learn what to do when you are bloated and how to get rid of belly bloat fast.
Bloating is one of the most discomforting gastrointestinal symptoms, being often accompanied by excess gas and flatulence. Apart from the uncomfortable feeling of abdominal distension, you might also suffer because of the way it makes you look.
What makes your stomach bloat?
There are a lot of foods that can increase the risk for bloating, including legumes and beans, wheat, broccoli and cruciferous vegetables, onions, barley, rye, dairy products, apples and garlic. Carbonated beverages, alcohol and beer in particular complete the list.
Dehydration and hormonal imbalances are on the list of potential causes, as well as the reduced consumption of fiber and changes in the gut microbiome (bacterial overgrowth).
It is possible that bloating is a symptom of gastrointestinal disorders, such as celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome or colitis. It can be suggestive of an intestinal obstruction, infection or, in certain instances, cancer.
In many cases bloating is caused by unhealthy dietary habits. If you are looking to make a change for the better, you can begin by reducing your carb intake. This includes common foods, such as pasta and bread, but also carbonated beverages (rich in sugar).
Eating too many carbs can cause fermentation, inflammation and bloating. Pay attention to the carbs coming from vegetables, such as onions, cauliflower, mushrooms and soybeans. You can still consume certain carbs. The list includes potatoes, cucumbers, grapes, bell peppers, bananas, quinoa, rice, blueberries and dark leafy greens.
Simple vs. complex carbs
It is quite important to know the difference between simple and complex carbs. The simple ones are easily digested, being quickly transformed into sugar and causing the blood sugar levels to spike. Complex carbs, on the other hand, take longer to digest and they can cause discomfort when the necessary enzymes for their digestion are missing.
Consider taking digestive enzymes as this helps to digest vegetables containing complex carbs and reduce the risk of bloating. Smoothies or vegetable juices are more easily digested.
Avoid processed foods and artificial sweeteners as they can cause severe bloating.
You might prefer the bubbles in your water, but this is actually one of the main factors responsible for bloating. As soda and other carbonated beverages, sparkling water is rich in carbon dioxide.
The same goes for alcoholic beverages, which make matters worse by causing dehydration. Whether you drink beer or cocktails, the risk of bloating remains the same. The only thing you can do is drink plenty of water on the side, as this will help you stay hydrated.
When consumed in excess quantities, alcohol also damages the gut microbiome and increases the risk for gastrointestinal disorders. Moderation is the key, so be sure to remember that the next time you go out.
Drinking water is more than recommended in case you are predisposed to bloating. Not only it will keep you hydrated, but it will support proper food digestion and reduce the negative consequences of the carb intake.
While you might love the taste of cheese and other dairy products, you have to be aware of the fact that the majority of adults today suffer from lactose intolerance. The belly bloat can be a sign that you are intolerant as well, with your digestive system suffering from the intake of dairy.
The solution is to cut back on your dairy products, replacing them with healthier alternatives like, for example, almond milk.
In order to support the healthy gut microbiome and reduce upsetting symptoms, such as bloating, you can consider eating more foods that are rich in probiotics. The list includes bone broth, kombucha and kefir made from coconut milk. You can also consume Greek yoghurt but only in moderation and if you are not lactose intolerant. Probiotic supplements can do wonders, so do not avoid including them in your daily schedule.
First and foremost, sit down and have a proper meal. Avoid eating too quickly, as you will ingest a lot of air and bloating will follow. Do not eat while you are stressed, angry or anxious.
Refrain from emotional eating and find an alternative solution to the things you are going through. You can try meditation, yoga or talking to a specialist. Excess eating will not solve your problems and, apart from bloating, it will increase the risk for chronic conditions (obesity, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, etc.). Reduce your portion size and opt only for home-cooked meals prepared from fresh ingredients.
A medical specialist can determine whether the bloating is caused by a gastrointestinal disorder (celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, colitis, etc.). Apart from the physical examination, the doctor will recommend a number of tests and imaging studies – once the diagnosis is made, the doctor can advise on a suitable treatment and necessary dietary changes. In some situations, such as it often happens with diabetes patients, you might need a change in your medication. Keep in mind that other conditions, such as sleep apnea or chronic snoring, can cause similar symptoms.
By changing your diet, you can keep the risk of bloating to a minimum. You should also consider becoming more physically active, as leading a sedentary lifestyle can make such matters worse.