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:
1. Avoid carbonated beverages.
Instead drink plenty of flat water.
2. Avoid salty foods.
Excessive salt retains water.
3. 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.
4. Limit gas-producing foods.
This includes 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.
5. 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.
6. 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).
7. 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.
Here are a few low volume meal examples (with protein):
- 8 ounces of non-fat yogurt with 1 cup of fresh berries
- 4-egg white omelet with sautéed spinach and mushrooms
- 2 cups of vegetable salad topped with 5 grilled shrimp
- 4-ounce turkey or ham sandwich on whole wheat bread
- 1 apple with small handful of unsalted raw almonds
- 4-ounce turkey/lettuce rollups with 1 cup baby carrots
- 1 cup whole grain cereal with half cup skim milk and half of a banana
For more health and wellness advice, sign up for our One Small Thing newsletter!