How do you feel when you're bloated? Like there's a basketball sitting at the bottom of your stomach? Or like you're carrying a huge water balloon in your tummy? We all experience bloating at one point or another, and it's never a comfortable feeling. Knowing about some of the common causes of bloating can help you to reduce the amount of bloating you experience.
Of course, I'm just sharing some of the interesting facts I've learned about things that can make you bloated. For instance, I mention apples. But I'm by no means saying stop eating apples. After all, an apple a day keeps the doctor away ;). Still, it is good stuff to know, and you might find it useful when making certain decisions in the future.
Did you know that drinking through a straw can contribute to you feeling bloated? Well, although straws can be particularly useful with certain beverages, they actually cause you to suck up a lot of extra air, which can increase gas in your digestive tract. Drinking straight from the rim of the bottle can help you avoid the feeling of bloating.
Beans and lentils are superfoods - packed with tons of goodness, they are very nutritious and contain a high amount of protein. However beans and lentils belong to a group of short chain carbohydrates called FODMAPs (fermentable oligo-, di-, mono-saccharides and polyols) which are indigestible. Instead they are broken down by bacteria in a process that produces gas. This gives them their belly-bloating reputation.
Soaking the beans and lentils before you eat them can make them easier on your digestive system. Moreover, if you frequently experience such discomfort, you could add them to other foods rather than making them the main food on your plate.
Beano is an over-the-counter product that aids in digesting the carbohydrates in beans and other gas-producing vegetables.
Dairy Ease does a similar job for lactose, which makes dairy foods more digestible and again, lessens gas.
So we've talked about how you drink, but what are you drinking? Another thing that can make you feel bloated is consuming a lot of fizzy, carbonated drinks. When you consume sodas and carbonated water, it's like you're swallowing lots of tiny little bubbles. These bubbles essentially get trapped in your stomach. You know what that means - bloating.
Fun fact: Diet sodas are actually even worse that regular fizzy drinks when we're talking about bloating. They contain artificial sweeteners which lead to digestion issues. I've actually also written a post on How to Give Up Soda (and the huge benefits of doing so), if you'd like to cut it out completely.
Chewing gum is another thing than can cause you to swallow excess air. To refreshen up your breath after a meal, you could instead drink a cup of peppermint or chamomile tea. These are natural remedies for reducing gas and bloating.
In fact, peppermint tea has been used as a dietary supplement for thousands of years. It's a carminative - meaning that it helps move gas through the body as it accumulates. This promotes healthy bowel movements and helps banish bloating, cramping and stomach discomfort.
Apples are high in fibre, vitamin C, and antioxidants, making them a great healthy snack. However, their high fibre content can cause digestive issues. Fructose, found in apples, is another FODMAP. Cooked apples may be easier to digest than fresh ones.
Talking about fibre, did you know that increasing your fibre intake too quickly is another thing that can make you bloated? If you are not used to eating a lot of fibre, your body could find the change hard to digest, literally. Slowly building up to high fibre foods will help your body adjust better, so start with small portions first.
Although it might seem ironic to fill up on water when you feel bloated, it could be exactly what you need. Dehydration makes your body retain water - which can lead to bloating. Drinking water helps to reduce such water retention, speeds up digestion and can also counteract bloating that is caused by a high sodium intake (eating a lot of salty food also causes water conservation). Try to drink two litres of water everyday!
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