That puffy, swelling in your tummy that comes from bloating isn’t just uncomfortable, it can make squeezing into tight pants or a body-hugging bandage dress that much harder. Especially if you’re not expecting to have that added fullness. So if you’re wondering what causes the bloat and how to stop it, look no further.
First, it’s important to know some of the common causes of bloating:
- Overeating and eating too fast: It takes up to 20 minutes for satiety signals to reach your brain and ease your appetite, keeping you from eating too much.
- Eating rich, fatty food: It actually takes fat longer to digest than protein or carbohydrates, causing your stomach to feel full for longer periods of time.
- Food sensitivity: “An individual can have a sensitivity to any food—even a healthy one—which can lead to bloating,” says nutritionist and Clean Plates founder Jared Koch.
If you’re unsure if you’re sensitive to certain foods, Koch says to first make sure you’re consuming enough water. After all, it helps flush waste out your digestive system and can help clear constipation. If you aren’t getting enough, he says, “You can consume water by drinking it directly, as well as from fruits and vegetables.” Just keep in mind that the fiber in the fruits and vegetables (as well as in whole grains, beans and lentils) help clean out your system but can cause gas, so slowly incorporate them into your diet to allow your body to adjust.
Next, move to eliminating foods that are known to cause bloating. Dairy is a big factor because most people are actually lactose intolerant, while fructose, a form of sugar, can ferment in the gastrointestinal tract, causing gas and bloating. Caffeine can also cause bloating because it can irritate the digestive system and exacerbate symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Another culprit is artificial sweetener like sorbitol that can’t be digested.
Other ways to eliminate bloating include:
- Drinking fennel and peppermint tea, as well as putting a drop of peppermint oil in your water on a daily basis.
- Taking a high quality probiotic or eating naturally fermented foods that contain healthy bacteria for your gut.
Of course, you could always just pull on some sweats and endure the discomfort on the couch…but there’s never any fun in that.
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