5 Foods That Minimize Bloating and Flatten Your Stomach
One in 10 Americans say they suffer from bloating regularly, even when they haven’t eaten a large meal. In some cases, bloating can become severe enough that it causes distention, or a perceptible swelling of the abdomen. Bloating and gas are usually tied to what and how you eat, so a few simple changes may help.
Here are three common causes of bloating, and how you can avoid them.
- Overeating is probably the most common cause of bloating. Smaller portions should ease the pain.
- Eating rich and fatty food can make you feel uncomfortably stuffed. Fat takes longer to digest than protein or carbohydrates, so it keeps the stomach full longer. Avoid bloating by limiting fats in your everyday diet.
- Eating too fast adds to the risk of bloating after a meal. The remedy is simple -? eat more slowly. Satiety signals can take up to 20 minutes to reach the brain and dampen appetite. Many weight loss experts believe that eating slowly helps prevent overeating.
Food Choices To Minimize And Flatten
Rice (fully digested carbohydrates): Some foods, especially certain carbohydrates, are either indigestible or only partially digested in the gut. These foods can cause gas buildup and therefore bloating. According to American College of Gastroenterology, rice and rice flour make a good substitute for starches such as wheat, oats, corn and potatoes. Rice is fully digested in the small intestines, giving it the least potential to form gases in the gut.
Banana (potassium): Bloating is not always gas-related. High sodium intake could be the culprit. Hiding in most of today’s processed foods and restaurant items, sodium attracts and retains water in the body. Potassium on the other hand, can help counter sodium’s role. Maintaining your overall potassium-sodium level is important for water balance. If your bloat is a result of yesterday’s salty dinner, try adding sliced banana to your morning oatmeal for some balance.
Yogurt (probiotics): The basics of beating the bloat with yogurt is to first make sure you’re choosing a yogurt that has active cultures. Regularly consuming yogurt with active cultures increases lactobacillus and bifidobacterium-the “good” bacteria-in the digestive tract, which facilitate efficient digestion and prevention of belly bloat. The best source is plain, non-fat or low-fat yogurt. If you need a bit of sweetness, mix in fresh fruit at home rather than grabbing flavored yogurts.
Herbal tea (antispasmodic): Researchers from the University’s Nerve-Gut Research Laboratory found that peppermint activates an “anti-pain” channel in the gut that soothes inflammation. For quick relief, sip a peppermint tea to help relax the digestive tract and return to normal peristalsis, aka muscle contractions.
Cucumber (natural diuretic): If you’re already bloated, cucumbers can make a great tummy-flattening snack. The high water and low fiber content of these tasty vegetables can cause increased urination, which in turn, makes you feel slimmer.
Difficult-to-digest foods can cause gassiness and bloating. These are some familiar culprits.
- Beans and lentils contain indigestible sugars called oligosaccharides. These sugars must be broken down by bacteria in the intestines.
- Fruits and vegetables such as Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, prunes, apricots. These contain sugars and starches that may cause gassiness and bloating.
- Sweeteners can also cause gas and bloating. Sorbitol, an artificial sweetener, can’t be digested. Fructose, a natural sugar added to many processed foods, is difficult for many people to digest. To avoid bloating, be aware of these sweeteners in the foods you eat and limit the amount you consume.
- Dairy products can be a source of intestinal distress and bloating if you have trouble digesting lactose, or milk sugar.
- Whole grains, recommended for their many health benefits, can sometimes cause bloating and gas problems. One reason whole grains are so healthy is their high fiber content. But fiber is an indigestible carbohydrate. Abruptly increasing the amount of fiber you eat can cause gas, bloating, and constipation. Nutritionists recommend slowly increasing the fiber in your diet to allow your body time to adjust. At the same time, drink plenty of water with high-fiber foods.
Occasional bloating is normal, but if it occurs chronically, bloating can be a symptom of a more serious health problem. If your problem is chronic, or if you are experiencing a severe increase in gassiness or distention, you should talk to your health care practitioner right away.