Why am I so Bloated? 12 Reasons Why and How to Get Relief
Ever finished an amazing holiday meal only to look down and see that yourstomach has doubled in size? You’re not alone – it happens to all of us at some point. The cause? Bloating – the inevitable bulgingbelly that appears after a meal, during yourperiod or because of digestive conditions like celiac disease or irritable bowel syndrome. Bloating can be caused by a number of things including thefoods you eat, although that’s not the only reason. Whatever the cause, we all know it can be uncomfortable (not to mention unattractive)! But not to worry, we’re here to help you get somerelief (and just in time before you overindulge at all those holiday parties)! Read on to discover the 12 most commoncausesof bloating and how you can reducethat bulging bellywith our helpfulbloating remedies.
1. You’re eating too much
This can be a tough one to overcome, especially during the holiday season where overindulgence is all too common. But overeating is one of the main reasons why you might have an overinflated belly. It might seem like common sense, but the more food you eat, the more bloated you’re going to feel.
How to reduce the bloat: Moderation is key. A few treats here and there won’t hurt you, but make sure you’re not overindulging all the time. Make sure you’re plate isn’t too full and that you’re limiting the amount of cookies and cakes you eat after dinner. But let’s get real, isn’t the holiday season all about overindulgence anyways? :)
2. You need to slow it down
If you find yourself wolfing down your food because your busy day leaves you no time to eat, then be warned: not only are you wolfing down your food, you’re also gulping down gas-producing air, which can cause your belly to swell. And that’s not the only thing. If you’re eating too fast and not taking the time to chew properly, you’re also leaving large pieces of undigested food in your belly, not to mention the fact that you aren’t paying attention to how much food you’re really taking in.
How to reduce the bloat: As difficult as it may be try to take time out of your day, at least 20 minutes, to sit down for your meal and practice mindful eating. Plus it takes 20 minutes for your brain to register that your stomach is full, which will help you pay attention to how much you’re really taking in.
3. You’re eating too much salt
As delicious as those salty potato chips may be, try staying away from foods rich in sodium. Eating too much salt causes your body to retain water which can then lead to a bloated belly.
How to reduce the bloat:Lay off the foods high in salt and keep hydrated! The more water you have in your system, the less water your body will retain. Try substituting spices, herbs and salt-free blends for lots of flavor in your food instead of lots of salt.
4. You love your raw cruciferous greens
If you love to eat cruciferous greens like kale, brussel sprouts and broccoli raw, then you might want to reconsider. These greens contain a hefty amount of hard to break down fiber and indigestible sugar called raffinose which can cause gas and puffiness when consumed raw.
How to reduce the bloat: This one might seem obvious, but cutting down on raw kale and other cruciferous vegetables will definitely help reduce the bloat. If you really don’t want to give up your favorite vegetables, then try steaming or roasting them instead. Doing so softens the fiber and decreases the amount of vegetable you consume. You’ll still get all the nutrients you need without all the gas and puffiness.
If you’re feeling especially bloated after a big meal, try to avoid these additional foods to keep your digestive system humming along.
5. You’re constipated
It goes without saying – constipation and bloating go hand in hand. Constipation causes your stool to remain in the intestines, leaving you with stomach pain, discomfort, gas & of course, bloating. It’s ultimately caused by a diet low in fiber, not drinking enough water, not getting enough exercise/movement and stress.
How to reduce the bloat: Try to eat a balanced, healthy diet with plenty of fiber and make sure you stay hydrated. Along with a healthy diet, make sure you’re getting plenty of exercise too – at least 3 times a week.
6. You’re always drinking through a straw
Sure, a straw might make your beverage more fun or even easier to drink but it’s also forcing you to take in a lot more air than you need. And it doesn’t matter how slowly or deeply you sip; either way you’re taking in air and it’s next to impossible to avoid. So try to avoid using a straw whenever possible and sip your drink from the rim of the glass instead.
How to reduce the bloat: Avoid using a straw whenever you can and try drinking a smoothie that will help you get rid of the bloat like this one:
7. You’re eating too many diet or low-calorie products
Many diet or low-calorie foods are chock full of artificial sugars like aspartame and sucralose. While you might think you’re doing something good for your body, you’re actually increasing your chances of bloating. That’s because these artificial sugars aren’t easily digested (or even at all) and end up hanging out in your stomach for a lot longer than they should.
How to reduce the bloat: Try using stevia instead. This no-calorie sugar alternative is 200 times sweeter than sugar and the FDA says there are more than 90 studies supporting its safety.
8. You’re having a hard time giving up your soda fix
Those tiny little bubbles you love so much in your soda are actually causing your belly to swell more than you’d like! If diet soda is your fix of choice, then you’ll definitely want to put down that soda glass. Diet soda is worse than regular soda due to the fact that it also contains artificial sweeteners.
How to reduce the bloat: If you really can’t live without your soda fix then try to at least cut down on the carbonation by leaving it open for a few hours before you drink it. Adding ice cubes will also help to reduce the carbonation (and the inevitable belly bloat).
9. You need more cardio in your life
Being more physically active can help give your digestive system a boost. Regular cardio exercise like running, spinning or aerobics can actually help to activate your sweat glands and release any extra fluids your body is retaining. An added bonus? Working out can also be a huge stress reliever – it can help relieve everyday stresses and prevent you from excess emotional eating.
How to reduce the bloat: Try to get at least 15-20 minutes of exercise a day, even if it’s just for a quick walk around the neighborhood after dinner. Doing so can really help your digestion and ease bloating.
MORE CARDIO TIPS:10 Running Tips for Beginners to Lose Weight
10. You’re always chewing gum or sucking on candy
Constantly chewing a piece of gum or sucking on a candy can help you from overeating as it occupies your mouth, but it can also cause you to take in too much air (just like using a straw). This, in turn, can lead to belly bloat and excess gas in your stomach.
How to reduce the bloat: Try taking frequent sips of water instead of chewing gum or sucking candy. Plus drinking water gives you the added benefit of keeping your GI tract moving along smoothly and also helps to get rid of excess air filling up your belly.
11. You’re eating dinner too late
Eating a regular sized meal within an hour or two of bedtime will only lead to excess belly bloat in the morning. Lying down spoils your digestion so lying down too soon hinders your body’s ability to break down the food.
How to reduce the bloat: Try eating your dinner at least three to four hours before you go to bed. Keep your body moving before bedtime to help keep your digestive system going. If your schedule just doesn’t allow for an early dinner, then keep your meal small and drink some peppermint tea to help keep the bloating down.
12. You’re ignoring your food allergy symptoms
You may be eating foods that are giving you excessive bloating without even knowing it. If you have a wheat allergy, your body has a hard time digesting gluten which can lead to excessive bloating. The same goes for those who can’t digest the enzyme lactose in milk, which can lead to bloating and discomfort.
How to reduce the bloat: Visit your doctor to see if you can get tested for allergies. You may have allergies or food intolerances that are causing you to feel bloated.
With the holiday season in full swing, we’re all eating more, going out more and stressing more than usual. And the unfortunate downside to all of this? A bloatedstomachmore often than not. So keep thesebloating remedies and causesin mind this holiday season andget rid ofthat bulgingbelly for good.
To help you getrelieffrom bloating, try to make sure you’re exercising at least 2-3 times per week. Your colon doesn’t like to be stationary all day long. Keeping your body active will help keep your digestive system moving and reduce any excess bloating you may have. Exercising more often means you should also make sure you’re wearing ahigh impactsports bra that will keep you supported and comfortable, especially if you havelarge breasts. That’s whereShefit's Ultimate Sports Bra for small tatas to big busts comes in. This customizable high impact sports bra is designed forbig bustsand will support you from every angle with its patented Zip, Cinch and Lift technology. Oh and did we mention it looks good too? Because really, who doesn’t love somecute activewear!
Photo credit: Bigstock, Pixabay, Google, Flickr
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