7 Reasons You’re Bloated All the Time & How to Beat ItArticle posted in: Diet & Nutrition
When you’re bloated, you’re uncomfortable—not to mention annoyed. Just exactly how are you supposed to squeeze into those skinny jeans?! Bloating happens to the best of us, but you can avoid it by following a few preventative measures.
Don’t worry—there are simple steps that can be taken in order to beat that bloat. In fact, these steps can be done all in a singular day’s time. Chances are, a lot of these suggestions are already on your to-do list, and you just need the motivation to start practicing them!
Here are seven reasons why you’re bloated all of the time and how to beat it:
1. Stop Drinking Soda.
When air gets trapped in your GI tract, you get bloated. This can happen when you drink from a straw, chew gum or suck on hard candy. According to a 2011 study in the Gastroenterology & Hepatology: The Independent Peer Reviewed Journal, it’s especially likely to happen when you drink carbonated beverages.
Think about it—Fizzy drinks deposit millions of pockets of carbon gas right into your stomach and digestive tract, blowing you up like a balloon. Plus, you also tend to swallow excess air when drinking soda. A simple beverage swap can really help here. Water is best, but something like green tea is okay, too. Try to stay away from the use of artificial sweeteners as they, too, cause you to become bloated.
2. Lay off the Salt.
Your body tends to hold onto fluids when you eat foods high in sodium, according to the Cleveland Clinic. So drop the salt shaker! The next time you grab your favorite food off the grocery store shelf, read the nutrition label. Salt hides in many foods—particularly processed choices. Even “healthy” foods like soups, olives, deli meats and salad dressings can be surprisingly high in sodium and cause you to become bloated. Seek out lower-sodium alternatives whenever possible and try seasoning home-cooked food with herbs, spices, and lemon or lime juice.
3. Eat More Fiber.
While it’s true that some fibrous foods like brussels sprouts, cabbage and beans can cause bloating and gas, fiber helps reduce bloating overall because it keeps your digestive tract moving, according to Hepato-gastroenterology. The best way to avoid fiber overload is to introduce the aforementioned foods slowly and to drink plenty of water (as always!). Fiber absorbs water, so the more you drink, the more you’ll help things along. If you just can’t be friends with broccoli or Brussels sprouts, don’t worry! You can get fiber from lots of other sources.
4. Avoid High Fructose Corn Syrup.
This sneaky sweetener can be added to yogurt, bread, condiments, salad dressings and even fruit juice. It’s typically the sweetener of choice in soda, snack foods and frozen meals—even when those foods don’t taste that sweet. High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) can cause gas, bloating and even abdominal pain because the body can’t absorb it quickly enough, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
While it’s nearly impossible to avoid eating foods with HFCS altogether, you can check the label of your favorite foods before you make the purchase. Try grabbing more organic products or products that use the LEAST amount of ingredients possible!
5. Lose the Lactose.
Most people are born with the ability to digest lactose, yet approximately 75% of the world’s population loses that ability at some point during their lives, according to a 2013 study from the European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences.
The next time you drink a glass of milk or have a bowl of ice cream (you may not notice as much discomfort with yogurt or cheese), pay attention to how your body reacts. If bloating follows or your digestive tract rebels in another way, you could have lost your ability to process lactose. Probiotics can be helpful in dealing with minor symptoms, or consider lactose-free dairy alternatives if you’re not ready to completely give up the idea of dairy!
Exercise can help you lose weight, improve your mood and energy levels, and reduce the risk of many health problems and concerns. But, did you know exercise can also reduce the symptoms of gas and bloating? That’s what patients reported in a 2006 study published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology.
Even maintaining a good posture helped reduce gas and bloating, according to a 2013 study published in Gut Journal. That’s because the body’s transit of gas moves faster when we sit upright, rather than when we are slouching or in “poor posture” positions.
Bottom line: You’ve got yet another reason why exercise can change your life for the better—so get moving! Whether it’s a walk after work, 30 minutes at the gym or a weekend hike, your body will thank you in so many ways.
7. Don’t Overeat.
Just picture your belly after Thanksgiving dinner. Not. Pretty. You ate too much, which causes bloating; you probably ate too quickly, which also causes bloating; lastly, you ate a LOT of carbs, which—you guessed it—causes bloating. Carbs are stored in the muscles as glycogen. Glycogen attracts water, so large portions of carb-heavy foods cause you to retain fluid, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
To help avoid overeating, make a conscious effort to slow down during every meal and snack, chewing food thoroughly. Pay attention to when you feel full. You can also try eating smaller, more frequent meals during the day.