No one likes to feel bloated – ESPECIALLY when slipping on a bathing suit – and with pool party season upon us, you might be thinking, “How can I flatten my stomach and beat belly bloat so I can look and feel my best.”
Well here’s the deal; there is both good news and bad news about bloating.
First, the good news: often times we confuse bloating with fat, but that’s not the case! Bloating is the byproduct of gas and water retention which can add inches and puffiness to our body. So when you reduce bloating, you will naturally look thinner and feel healthier!
Now for the bad news: bloating is really a health issue and unfortunately, there is no ‘one size fits all’ fix that will eliminate bloating for everyone. If chronic bloating is an issue, you will need to do some work to determine what triggers your bloated tummy. Bloating can be a reflection of the health of your gut and if you experience constant bloating, your gut is trying to tell you it’s not happy and needs some TLC! So make it your job to figure out what’s activating your bloat.
What May Trigger Bloating
Food Sensitivity – Dairy, gluten and soy are top offenders for gas and bloating in people who are sensitive. An elimination diet can be done to test for food allergies/sensitivities.
Eating Too Fast/ Not Properly Chewing Your Food – Easier said than done I know, but you must thoroughly chew your food to break it down into smaller parts for easier digestion. Also, your saliva coats your food with enzymes that will help the process. In addition, by chewing your food you’ll naturally eat slower and be less likely to swallow air
Artificial Sweeteners – Artificial sweeteners are just that ‘artificial’ and are therefore foreign substances in the body that can lead to inflammation and bloating. Sugar alcohol (which is a kind of alcohol prepared from sugar) may also cause bloating and gas, so be on the lookout for protein bars that advertise 0 grams of sugar as these sneaky bars are usually full of sugar alcohols that can make you bloat.
A Diet Extremely High In Fiber – Fiber is your friend and an essential part of a healthy diet, but if you starting adding too much fiber too fast, a common side effect is gas and bloating. Be careful of beans, lentils and vegetables like broccoli and cabbage. Moral of the story is to increase fiber slowly to your diet.
Chugging Water During Meals – So think of it like this; you don’t want to flood your digestive track while you’re eating as your body will be forced to work much harder to break down food. Doing this can dilute digestive enzymes needed to digest food.
Fizzy Drinks – I am especially talking about soda – carbonated air bubbles travel to the stomach and release carbon dioxide in digestive track. Plus, sodas contain artificial sweeteners and that spells double trouble!
Chewing Gum – Yes, simply chewing gum can lead to swallowing excess air which can trigger a ballooned stomach!
High Sodium Foods – We all associate salt with bloating, and processed and packaged foods may contain tons of hidden salt, i.e. ketchup or canned soup! Read labels. Also, restaurants tend to over salt their dishes, so ask for sauces or dressings on the side.
Overeating – If you can stop eating when you’re about 75% full, it will allow your body to properly digest foods you eat and prevent bloating. Remember thoroughly chewing your food will naturally have you eating less.
Over Stressing – This is the biggest one and some may argue hardest to manage, but stress wreaks havoc on your digestive track. Find ways to de-stress that work for you – meditation, exercise, reading or whatever works for you!
Foods To Banish Bloat
If chronic bloating is an issue for you, I recommend keeping a food journal and in addition to recording everything you eat, write down when you are feeling bloated. You may be able to begin to link bloating triggers! Also, for more info or questions about bloating, you can always contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Lindsay’s Flat Belly Smoothie Recipe
Ingredients: 1/2 c. frozen pineapple, 1 c. kale, 1/2 frozen banana, 1/2 c. blueberries, thumb size chunk of ginger + 3/4 c. coconut water
About The Author:
Lindsay Hunt is a Certified Health Coach in Scottsdale, AZ. She is dedicated in helping people make healthy lifestyle changes that produce real and lasting results. You can work with Lindsay from anywhere as she offers virtual health coaching programs. For more information check out her website, www.walkonthehealthyside.com or you can follow her on facebook.com/lindsayehunt.