4 Weird Reasons For Belly Bloat And How To Stop It
Belly bloat. Ugh, it’s the worst. It’s uncomfortable, it’s unsightly and at times it’s difficult to understand. Sometimes it just sneaks up on you – you eat a light snack, a healthy meal or hit the gym but BAM! there it is, pooching out from your jeans like you just ate an extra large pizza. Why is that? Why is your stomach protruding like you hit up an all-you-can-eat-buffet when all you’ve done is chug some water and run at 5K? It’s so frustrating and so unfair. Your digestive system is a tricky thing and understanding why some foods digest easily while others ferment and cause gas and bloating is the foundation for remedying this problem.
Chugging Water (or any other beverage for that matter)
Staying hydrated is obviously of the utmost importance but it’s ideal to sip water throughout the day, rather than gulp it down all at once, particularly before a workout. Try to drink 16-24 oz of water an hour or two before you exercise to give your body adequate time to absorb and hydrate what it needs and disguard the rest. This should help eliminate bloating before workouts.
Eating Too Much Fiber
Just as with water, fiber is super important for a healthy GI tract. But fiber is tricky…if you’re not used to eating it, it can be really difficult to digest. Bacteria in our stomachs help digest our food – but if we don’t have enough good bacteria to digest the food it lingers longer giving it more time to slowly break down creating gas, bloating and discomfort. The bacteria in our stomach is determined by the foods we eat so rather than giving your diet a total makeover ease into the change by adding 5 grams of fruits and veggies each week to build up bacteria in your gut.
Many vitamins and supplements contain fillers like wheat and lactose, which can be a problem for some people. But more often it’s sugar alcohols like mannitol and xylitol which are the cause of bloating and discomfort. Try to find supplements with a short ingredient list without any fillers (key words to avoid: sugar alcohols, gluten, wheat germ, lactose, food glaze, food starch, hydrolyzed vegetable protein). And add a probiotic to your regiment to help build up the population of good bacteria in your gut to help with digestion.
A lot of protein bars contain whey-protein, milk-protein concentrate and soy-protein concentrate which can be difficult to digest and therefore can cause gas and bloating. Try protein bars made with rice or nut protein or whey-protein isolate (rather than concentrate) which have higher percentages of pure protein and less lactose than other forms.
As for food remedies there are two go-to foods to beat belly bloat. Bananas work wonders. When the body is low on potassium it retains sodium and holds onto water. Other high potassium foods include tomatoes, mushrooms and dark, leafy greens like Swiss chard and spinach. Yogurt is also an essential food for proper digestion. Yogurt is full of good bacteria that break down food and prevent it from fermenting in the stomach. Adding these flattening foods to your diet in conjunction with removing some of the bloat building foods you’re consuming should get you on your way to a slim, trim midsection in no time.