Your digestive system gets to work the minute you sense food. Yep—that tasty spread that you see and smell will set off the enzymes and hormones in your body that you need to break down the upcoming meal. It’s your body’s way of preparing to eat.
But certain habits can sabotage our digestive system and lead to a big, bloated belly. Whether or not you’re into a Buddha belly bulge, bloating can be extremely uncomfortable. Even more, it’s a sign that your digestion (a.k.a. your body’s ability to break down and absorb the important nutrients you’re eating) is struggling.
So, how do we get rid of bloating? Let’s look at 5 possible sources of all that swelling and how you can beat bloating once and for all.
If you’re suffering from a swollen stomach, first identify the cause of your bloating. Bloating can be a confusing symptom that randomly attacks at the worst times—of course your belly is ballooning the first day you wear that new form-fitting dress!
These main bloat culprits can clear up the confusion and help you identify what’s happening in your own body:
Overeating, especially when it comes to unhealthy foods, can take a toll on your digestive system. Too much food at once can cause gas and bloating—pretty embarrassing when you’re out for dinner with friends.
Scarfing down your food might be the culprit behind your bloat as well. When you eat too fast, not only are you swallowing more air, but you’re also chewing less. This means you’re asking your intestines to do the work your teeth are supposed to do!
If food is not chewed properly, larger particles of food enter the digestive tract, causing digestive problems like gas, bloating, constipation, and even food reactions, headaches, and lower energy levels.
Don’t worry—I’m not about to ban your margaritas. What I will suggest is that you swap the way you sip those beverages. On average, we swallow about 2 quarts of air a day just while eating and drinking! We burp about half of that air, but the rest travels through our digestive systems.
Drinking carbonated beverages and sipping through a straw causes us to swallow even more air throughout the day and experience even more bloating.
Blocked up? Constipation can contribute to bloating and abdominal pain. The longer your stool stays in your colon, the more time bacteria have to ferment what’s there. This fermentation results in more gas and bloating.
Many medicines and supplements can cause gas and bloat. These include:
Some of these medications slow down the movement of stool through your intestines. This gives your bowel more time to remove the water from your stool, making it hard, dry, and difficult to pass.
Certain foods are difficult to digest for some people. These include dairy products, gluten, cruciferous veggies, and apples. Lactose and gluten intolerances are quite common, especially among people with autoimmune diseases. Cruciferous veggies contain a complex sugar called raffinose that humans can’t break down. You may notice feeling an extra bout of bloat after eating these foods, and you’re not alone.
Once you’ve identified the cause of your bloating, it’s time to make some changes. Try out these 5 tips to lower your bloat for good.
If you tend to eat larger portions and are experiencing discomfort and bloating after a meal, drink a large glass of water 20 minutes before eating. This will help you stay hydrated, feel full and satiated sooner, and eat a smaller portion without feeling deprived.
Chewing your food properly is essential for adequate digestion. Chewing breaks larger food particles into small fragments that your body easily can digest. Eating slowly and chewing properly triggers your body to produce more digestive enzymes and hydrochloric acid in your stomach—both of which are needed to break down the food you’re eating.
Cut back on bloating, burping, and breaking wind with a few simple swaps. Drink directly from your glass or water bottle instead of through a straw. Skip the carbonated beverages as much as possible to cut down on swallowing more air.
Healthy and regular bowel movements help to keep your insides clean of toxins and waste that can accumulate and increase bloating. Try out these tips to help you have better bowel movements daily:
If you think that your medicine or supplements are increasing your gas, burping, or bloating, talk with your doctor. Explain your symptoms and ask if there’s a better option that won’t cause as much digestive discomfort.
If certain foods, like dairy, gluten, or certain fruits and veggies, irritate your digestion, make adjustments to your diet. Produce that’s harder to digest—like cruciferous veggies—is easier on your stomach when cooked.
Swap your dairy and gluten products for dairy and gluten-free alternatives, like almond milk, ghee, rice, and oats. Try removing these inflammatory foods for 4 to 6 weeks. If your symptoms improve, slowly add the foods back in one at a time and see which ones you can tolerate and which cause your digestive issues to return.
De-bloating is just one of the many health and fitness results my clients experience after joining LEAN. If you’re ready to ditch the bloat, lose excess weight, build strength, boost your energy levels, enjoy deeper sleep, and glow with overall health, you’re the perfect match for LEAN!