Battle That Bulge – How To Avoid Bloating
Bloating is a common problem for a lot of people. You know this all too well if you’ve ever had to unbutton your trousers or suck your belly in because of that unsightly bump — or food baby like we usually call our bellies when they are bloated. Once, before we embarked on our healthy lifestyle journey, a good friend jokingly asked if I was pregnant. Yep, it was that bad in the past!
Food babies or belly bloats are caused by a variety of reasons and actually all have an easy solution. Here’s how I manage to keep my belly flat and avoid the looks and embarrassing questions from others.
1. Chew Your Food Well
Eating too fast causes your stomach to work harder. Larger chunks of food require more gastric juices from your stomach so they could be digested. This, in turn, produces a lot of gas that causes bloating. In order to prevent this, pace yourself and make sure you chew your food well. Chewing helps in digesting your food, thus requiring less gastric acids to be secreted and less gas in your belly.
2. Avoid Fizzy Drinks
Another cause of gassiness is sodas. Carbonated drinks contain a lot of carbon dioxide that end up stuck in your stomach, hence causing you to bloat. Avoid these drinks and stick to water, fruit juices, or teas instead. Other activities that cause too much gas are gum chewing, drinking through a straw, and sucking on hard candy. Be wary of these habits to prevent gassiness and bloating
3. Eat Slowly
Having too much food in your belly will obviously cause your stomach to protrude. Avoid this by eating slowly. It takes the brain approximately 20 minutes to realize that the stomach is full, and eating too fast will lead to overeating. Eat your food slowly to give your brain time to process that it has had enough food. This will not only prevent bloating but also prevent you from consuming too many calories.
ALSO READ: How to Stop Eating When You’re Full
4. Be Wary of Foods That are Hard to Digest
Indigestion means that your body has a hard time breaking down the food in your stomach, causing a bloated belly. Overeating can cause indigestion that leads to bloating, but there are also other culprits.
Fatty foods require more effort to digest than proteins and carbohydrates. Legumes have oligosaccharides, a type of sugar that can only be broken down by intestinal bacteria. This makes it difficult to digest, and thus cause intestinal distress. Certain fruits and vegetables like cauliflower, apricot, and cabbage have starches that are also difficult to digest. Lactose-intolerant people should also avoid dairy products, because these cause gassiness, bloating, and discomfort in the stomach.
The bottom line is to be wary of foods that can cause your stomach to act up and eat them in moderation.
5. Increase the Fiber in Your Diet
Being constipated means having infrequent bowel movements and that your stomach has difficulty emptying itself, which leads to bloating. To resolve this, make sure that you have enough fiber in your diet, and increase your intake of fruits and vegetables. Fiber sweeps through the digestive system and moves food along.
However, fiber is indigestible and could cause bowel irritability. Avoid this by gradually increasing the amount of fiber in your diet and ensuring you drink enough water that will help fiber pass through your digestive tract.
ALSO READ: Recommended Daily Fiber Intake: The Lowdown
6. Drink up!
Drinking a lot of water may seem like the fastest way to enlarge your tummy, but in the long run, drinking too little water will actually cause you to bloat. If your body does not get enough water, it holds on to whatever water is available, and this water retention will lead to bloating. Prevent this by making sure you drink at least 1.5 to 2 liters of water every day. Staying hydrated also helps you flush out toxins from the body.
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