Everyday bloat is downright uncomfortable! It’s commonly caused by water retention or gas — a build up of air in the intestines and stomach, which gives you the feeling your abdomen is distended.
If your condition is chronic, speak with your doctor to make sure it’s not a serious gastrointestinal concern, such as celiac disease (gluten intolerance), Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. Other less serious issues to investigate include lactose intolerance, constipation, and/or irritable bowel syndrome.
But if you’re certain it’s everyday bloat, the following seven tips can help you feel significantly better:
- Avoid carbonated beverages — instead drink plenty of flat water.
- Avoid salty foods, since excessive salt retains water.
- Limit sugar alcohols. Sorbitol and maltitol, frequently found in sugar-free foods and sugarless gum, can exacerbate gas and discomfort in people who are super sensitive.
- Limit gas-producing foods, specifically broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, beans and cabbage. When you do eat them, try taking “Beano” — an over-the-counter supplement which can help your body digest them.
- Don’t overdo the amount of fiber in your diet. Fiber is incredibly important, but too much can exacerbate bloat in people who are sensitive. Thus, be sure to increase the amount in your diet gradually and drink plenty of water to help wash it down.
- Avoid large meals which are heavy in carbohydrate and fat. Instead spread low-volume meals throughout the day (and eat every four to five hours).
- Be sure to incorporate some type of protein with each meal and snack. Protein can act like a natural diuretic and help your body get rid of extra water.
Low volume meal examples (with protein):
- 8 ounces of nonfat yogurt with one cup fresh berries
- 4-egg white omelet with sautéed spinach and mushrooms
- 2 cups of vegetable salad topped with five grilled shrimp
- 4-ounce turkey or ham sandwich on whole wheat bread
- One apple with small handful unsalted raw almonds
- 4-ounce turkey/lettuce rollups with one cup baby carrots
- One cup whole grain cereal with half cup skim milk and ½ banana
Joy Bauer is the author of “Food Cures.”
For more information on healthy eating, check out Joy’s Web site at www.joybauernutrition.com.
© 2013 NBCNews.com Reprints