bloated

Have you been feeling bloated lately? Has lately been more like every day and not just once in awhile? That invisible donut around your midsection or that belly full of air feeling is more than just uncomfortable. Feeling bloated all the time can make you lethargic, off balance, and make you hate all of your pants that don’t stretch. Bloating doesn’t have to be a part of life, there are ways to banish bloat for good! Feel better with a flatter belly with these tips.

11. Slow Down

eat slow

Scarfing down meals can leave you feeling uncomfortable and bloated. This is because you are not only swallowing your food but swallowing air as well. Eating fast means that you are not properly chewing your food, so larger pieces are ingested and they take longer to be digested. Another perk of mindful eating is being aware of how much you are consuming. Not only will you avoid consuming excess calories, you can also skip that after meal-bloated feeling. Your brain takes 20 minutes to register a full stomach. So take your time and really enjoy your food.

10. Sandwiches

sandwiches

There are so many great things to say about sandwiches it’s hard to know where to start. They’re quick, easy, portable, and delicious. Bread and rolls are ranked as the number 1 source of sodium in the American diet. A typical sandwich can have up to 20% of your daily sodium intake. Deli meat was ranked as number 2 in sodium and cheese was nearby. All three of these items: bread, cheese, and deli meat are the main staples of any delicious sandwich. Opt for a salad or protein smoothie instead.

9. Raw Kale

raw kale

The kale craze continues on and for good reason. This superstar, leafy green is packed with vitamins, nutrients, and fiber to keep you feeling full and staying healthy. Unfortunately, kale is a cruciferous vegetable, which contains hard to break down fibers along with an indigestible sugar known as, raffinose. Brussels sprouts and broccoli are also well-known offenders of bloat and puffiness. Steaming or cooking the kale before eating can help reduce that bloated feeling without losing all the nutrients and vitamins. Steaming or cooking helps soften the fibers that make it hard to digest.

8. Drinking Through a Straw

straw

Drinking through a straw may help you ingest your beverage in a timely and efficient manner. However, drinking through a straw force you to not only suck in the liquid but excess air as well. Even if you sip slowly, the excess air trapped in the top of the straw will be ingested, making it impossible to truly avoid swallowing extra air. Instead of sipping through a straw, drinking from the rim of a glass can prevent the ingestion of excess air. Even though it’s not as fun or easy, it’s worth it to drink from the glass than feel uncomfortable.

7. Packaged Foods

packaged foods

Related: Top 20 Unhealthiest Foods on the Planet

Processed foods should be avoided for many reasons, but for the sake of this argument, they should be avoided because of their sodium content. Loved for their convenience, processed foods have taken over the shelves of grocery stores and home pantries everywhere. The high sodium content has been directly linked to high blood pressure, heart disease, and other cardiovascular health issues. A bloated belly is a direct result of too much sodium. Instead of grabbing a bag of chips with your lunch, grab an apple, orange or banana. Your body will thank you.

6. Low-Calorie Products

low calorie products

Just because something says “diet” doesn’t mean it’s actually good for you. The artificial sweeteners used in “zero-calorie” foods and beverages are nearly impossible for your body to fully digest. This means that the artificial sweetener lingers in your gut long after you’ve finished your soda or “guilt-free” sweet treat. Look for the ingredient aspartame or sucralose before buying that “diet”, “sugar-free”, or “guilt-free”, beverage or treat. Eliminating these from your diet will bring you instant and long-term relief. Swap that afternoon diet cola for water and choose whole fruits and vegetables instead of “diet” items.

5. Carbonated Beverages

carbonated beverages

Sugary sodas should be avoided completely for many reasons, but bloating can happen from carbonated beverages even if it’s just club soda. Those fun, little bubbles cause swelling inside the stomach. Diet sodas are even worse for belly bloat as your body cannot digest the artificial sweetener in the beverage. For those who cannot live a life without bubbles, fret not. To limit the amount of carbonation ingested, leave the beverage open for a few hours before drinking. Pouring overeating ice helps reduce carbonation as well.

Related: One Bowl of Rice is Equivalent to Two Cans of Soda

4. Beans

beans

Beans, beans, the musical fruit the more you eat…A silly childhood rhyme still rings true for many who struggle to enjoy eating beans. An excellent source of protein and fiber, beans are pretty great and definitely delicious. Unfortunately, their high carbohydrate content is what causes gas and bloat after consumption. Beans don’t have to get the boot forever as they add so much nutritional value to dishes. Before eating beans, try an over the counter anti-gas tablet to avoid the bloating and gas everyone hates.

3. Candy and Gum

gum

Some people just need something to keep their mouths busy. While some people talk, others choose to chew or suck on candy and gum. This is a common method for those looking to lose weight or quit smoking, but can also be the reason why you feel bloated. Eating candy or chewing gum can result in excess air being swallowed. Swap out this sweet treat for something much better for you like water. Water will keep you hydrated, banish bloat, and keep you regular. Dehydration is often the number 1 reason for fatigue.

Related: Love Chewing Gum? Here’s Why You Should Stop

2. Eating Before Bed

eating before bed

There are a number of reasons why eating before bed isn’t great for your health. Nightmares and heartburn have been some of the aftereffects caused by eating too close to bedtime. It can also cause next day bloating as well. This is because your body slows down while you sleep, making proper digestion nearly impossible. When you cannot avoid eating before bedtime, try to remain upright and moving before sleeping. Also avoid eating heavy, hard to digest items like red meat or large meals. Keep it light and munch on fruit or yogurt.

Related: The Best and Worst Foods to Eat Before Bedtime

1. Food Allergies

food allergies

Sometimes bloating is more than just an indicator that you ate too much too fast. Bloating is a common symptom and indicator of a food allergy. Those who are sensitive to gluten and wheat are prone to uncomfortable and even painful bloating. To determine if your bloating is food allergy related, keep note of when it occurs and what was eaten. This can help you and your doctor determine the best course of action to help relieve your bloating symptoms. Bloating does happen, but it should not be a frequent factor in your life.

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