There is nothing worse than that gassy, puffy feeling you get from belly bloat. Not only is it uncomfortable, but it can make your tummy look like you’ve swallowed a balloon.
Want to get rid of it forever?
There are loads of reasons why your belly might be bloating. Here are a few:
- Poor diet
- Food sensitivities
- Bacterial overgrowth
- Too little fiber
Bloating can also be caused by more serious health problems like a bowel obstruction, infection, gastrointestinal disorders like IBS, colitis, celiac disease, or even cancer, but in most cases, it’s because of how your body digests what you put into it.
So, what can you do about it?
How to Reduce Belly Bloat and Keep It Off
Cut Out the Carbs
If you love sugary sodas, pasta, and bread, then I have bad news for you; if you want a nice flat tummy and a gas-free existence, you’re going to have to give up a few things.
Sugar ferments in the gut, which causes inflammation and candida overgrowth, which contributes to that bloated feeling you get after you’ve had a carb overload. This can cause your poop to become trapped in the digestive system and when air flows around it…well, you know the rest.
There are also lots of vegetables that are loaded with carbs which make them difficult to digest, like soybeans, cauliflower, mushrooms, garlic, and onions. A good rule of thumb when figuring out what carbs you can eat to help ease bloating is following an IBS diet.
So why would carbs from vegetables give you so much trouble?
Carbs are a raw material that our body uses to make energy. There are two kinds of carbs; simple and complex.
Simple carbs break down really fast into sugar, while complex carbs like to take their time. This is why you get a “sugar high” after eating candy or drinking an energy drink.
The carbs in some vegetables are complex, and many of us have difficulty digesting them because we don’t make the enzyme we need to break them down properly in the body.
If you love broccoli or spinach and can’t live without it, then take a digestive enzyme before you eat it. It can help the stomach break down the carbs for digestion.
You can also make a smoothie or juice vegetables that are difficult to digest.
Processed food can also have added sugar. They try to trick you with names like sucrose, fructose, dextrose, and maltose, but it’s all still going to give you a bloated belly.
Artificial sweeteners are even worse, so avoid them like the plague.
Watch What You Drink
What you drink can cause just as much bloating as what you eat.
Sodas, sparkling water, and other fizzy drinks introduce carbon dioxide into the stomach, which makes you burp. If there is too much of it in the stomach, it sends it down to the digestive system and becomes gas.
Not only is beer carbonated, but it’s alcohol, which can also cause a bloated belly. Alcohol slows the digestive process and causes dehydration, which makes you retain water.
It also messes with the good bacteria in your gut and causes damage to the digestive tract.
If you really need to get your drink on, at least keep yourself hydrated. Have a glass of water in between cocktails.
You should also be drinking a lot of water in general because it helps you digest food and can reduce the effects of carb-induced bloating.
Hold the Cheese, Please
I know, I know. Cheese is incredibly delicious. I won’t deny it.
It’s also loaded with calcium and other good stuff, but lactose intolerance is a real thing and is more widespread now than it used to be.
Lactose is a naturally occurring sugar found in dairy foods like yogurt, milk, and cheese. If you have belly bloat, it might be because you are lactose sensitive.
The digestive system doesn’t absorb lactose properly in people who are sensitive, so it becomes fermented by bacteria. The result is belly bloat and gas.
Try eliminating dairy for a few days and see if your belly bloat goes away. It’s a common cause and one that’s easy to fix.
You can replace creamer or milk with almond milk, but beware; it often has a thickening agent called carrageenan, which is made from seaweed that can cause inflammation in the gut.
Add Good Bacteria to Your Belly
Probiotics are friendly bacteria that will kill the bad gut bugs that cause all the belly trouble. There are numerous studies that show slimmer people tend to have less unhealthy bacteria in their digestive systems.
You can take a probiotic supplement if you have trouble getting probiotic-rich foods into your diet like coconut milk kefir, bone broth, and kombucha.
Greek yogurt is also loaded with probiotics, but if you are lactose intolerant, you might want to skip it.
Replace Bad Habits with Good Ones
What you put in your body isn’t the only cause of belly bloat. Some of your habits might be to blame for your pooch.
Eating too quickly can make your belly swell up with too much air, believe it or not. It causes you to swallow air, which distends the belly. Drinking through a straw and chewing gum do the same thing.
Take at least 30 minutes to eat a full meal. You can use gut health as an excuse to have a long lunch at work.
Being stressed out all the time is another habit you may want to break because it increases the level of hormones in your body that can irritate your digestive system and cause bloating.
CHILL OUT A BIT! If you’re constantly stressed or have anxiety, start a meditation practice. You deserve to feel peaceful.
Speaking of stress, it can cause other bad habits like smoking and overeating.
Smoking slows down the contraction of your intestinal muscles and causes liver problems and GERD. If you smoke, it could be what’s causing your belly.
Overeating is one of the most common causes of belly bloat.
When you eat too much, your stomach secretes acid and enzymes that will break the food down so that it fits into the smaller intestines. The more food you eat, the longer it takes to digest, which can cause bloating.
Try eating smaller portions and more often.
If None of This Applies, You Might Need a Check-Up
Okay, you’ve made it this far, but if none of these things work for you, maybe it’s time to see a doctor. There are many common health issues that can cause a paunch and are treatable.
Gluten intolerance and Celiac disease are becoming increasingly common conditions. Celiac disease is an autoimmune issue that causes the immune system to attack the intestines when gluten is eaten.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a disorder that causes chronic diarrhea, gas, bloating, abdominal pain, and constipation.
If you have diabetes and can’t get rid of your belly, it’s probably the medication that you’re taking for it. They are often coated with synthetic sugars that cause digestive problems.
If your belly bloat is from an adverse reaction to your medication, talk to your doctor and see about alternative treatment options.
If you only experience bloat in the morning, it could be from sleep apnea or snoring. It’s the same thing as swallowing air when you eat too fast or sipping a drink through a straw.