Feeling bloated is something virtually everyone has experienced in some way, shape, or form. But did you know that there are ways to eliminate that bloated, sluggish feeling for good? Eliminating belly bloat can be simple upon learning the causes, symptoms, and tips for banishing it for good.
The definition is simple: bloating is when your belly feels swollen after eating. When we get bloated, it is usually a sign of a digestion problem. There are several factors that can affect overall gut health, how we digest and metabolize food, and natural waste elimination. While a number of factors play into how bloating looks and feels, bloating typically causes discomfort and can make the stomach look bigger. A common misconception is that bloating is the same as ‘water weight’; while fluids don’t actually settle in the stomach, though water retention is common in other parts of the body such as the ankles and feet.
“A slower transit time means they do not move as quickly through your GI tract and therefore they begin to ferment…This gas builds up and puts pressure on your intestines causing cramping and can even start to push on your stomach and into your diaphragm,” says Sarah Greenfield, registered dietitian and face behind @FearlessFig on Instagram. “Other things that can contribute to bloating include medications, stress, sleep and hormone imbalance.”
Take a look at three ways to reduce and eliminate belly bloat:
Don’t Stuff Yourself
Research has shown that people who experience bloating don’t actually have an enlarged stomach or more abdominal pressure — the issue derives from eating too much at once. Small changes such as eating smaller meals throughout the day, and making a point to chew more thoroughly can also reduce bloating; one study showed that chewing food better helps to reduce the amount of air intake and helps a person to eat more slowly, both of which are related to bloating reduction. Try our Chipotle Pepper Boats for a smaller-portioned meal.
Try a Low FODMAP Diet
FODMAP stands for Fermentable, Oligo, Di-, Mono-saccharides And Polyols and by adhering to a low-FODMAP diet, you can see major reductions in bloating systems as studies have shown.
“Garlic and onions contain FODMAPS which feed bacteria in the intestines and can be a trigger for those who suffer from IBS or SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth),” says Greenfield. “Ideally there is a higher bacterial diversity in the intestines and foods can be broken down without any discomfort. However, certain bacterial strains feed on certain starches and produce gas as a byproduct.”
Probiotics can help to control the bacteria within the gut, and it’s easy to work a probiotic supplement into your day. Studies have shown that probiotic supplements can aid in not only reducing the productions of gas, but also bloating in people experiencing digestive problems. Foods rich in probiotics are great to work into your diet as well, says Greenfield. “Kraut, miso, coconut kefir are foods that are loaded with healthy bacteria that can help crowd out the harmful bacteria that cause bloating.”