Is your waist size fluctuating every day? Maybe you’ve noticed that your perfect pair of jeans feels a bit tighter in the afternoon or in the evening. You’re wondering whether you’ve suddenly gained weight. What you’re experiencing is abdominal bloating.
To know how to prevent belly bloating, let’s take a look at what causes it.
Common Causes of Bloating
Swallowing gas and air
The most common causes of abdominal bloating are usually not serious. Swallowing gas and air can cause bloating. This happens when you eat or drink too quickly, chew gum, or eat food that can make you gassy like beans, dairy, fizzy drinks, and alcohol.
Bloating can be experienced by women during their child-bearing years. This usually happens two weeks after ovulation, when progesterone and estrogen levels change. High estrogen levels can cause gassiness.
Certain medical conditions
Some medical conditions can cause bloating. These include irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, food intolerances, acid reflux, giardiasis, and stomach flu. Serious conditions can cause serious bloating, especially when accompanied by other symptoms. Uterine cancer, colon cancer, liver disease, and pelvic inflammatory disease can cause bloating.
Too much fiber, sugar, and salt in one’s diet.
Excessive consumption of fiber, sugar, and salt can cause bloating. A sugar called raffinose that’s found in kale, cabbage, and broccoli causes gas as the body can’t digest it. Foods that are high in sodium can cause water retention, which can be stored around your belly.
How to Beat Bloating
1. Stay hydrated.
Drinking at eight glasses of water a day and eating water-dense fruits and veggies can help maintain a healthy digestive system. It keeps the food in your intestines moving and prevents constipation.
2. Increase physical activity.
Staying physically active helps you have regular bowel movement. If you’re feeling bloated because of constipation or gas, taking 10 to 15-minute walks can provide relief and help you release gas.
3. Eat slowly.
When you’re in a hurry and would rather eat in your car, there’s a tendency to swallow more air, which can lead to gas and bloating. Relish the food and chew it. Ideally, it should take around 20 to 30 minutes to finish a meal. The good thing about learning to slow down to eat is it also helps with weight loss. Also, it’s best to avoid big meals and spread 4-6 smaller meals each day.
4. Avoid foods that cause bloating and gas.
High-fiber foods can cause gas. Onions, cruciferous vegetables, dairy, apples, beer, garlic, and sugar alcohols can cause bloating.
This does not mean that you should avoid fiber all together. Increase fiber intake gradually. The recommended amount of fiber that should be consumed per day is 25 to 30 grams.
Try a low-FODMAP diet if you have irritable bowel syndrome. Here’s a quick list of foods to eat and avoid.
Reduce salt intake, which can cause water retention. Also, avoid carbonated drinks, beer, and sugar alcohols like sorbitol and xylitol.
5. Try probiotics.
Probiotics can help reduce bloating due to gas. It helps maintain gut bacteria balance and aids in digestion.
6. Get tested for food intolerance and allergies.
Food intolerances and allergies can cause digestive problems, many of which can lead to bloating. Lactose, a sugar found in milk, can be hard to digest for some people. It can produce uncomfortable symptoms like gas and bloating. Allergy to eggs can also cause these symptoms. See an allergist to get tested.
If the symptoms of bloating don’t go away, it is best to see a healthcare provider to rule out other more serious causes.