This WTF scenario is actually pretty common and can truly suck in the summer, when bloat makes your high-waisted shorts and skimpy swimsuits feel like medieval torture devices.
Here’s what gives: a large, high-fat meal can indeed lead to the proverbial food-baby feeling—but that’s not the only reason for a distended belly. Most often, the true culprit is gas, says Sonya Angelone, RDN, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in the US. This is especially likely if you’re eating fibre-rich foods (read: kale, beans, fruit). “Almost any high-fibre food, even in a reasonable portion, can make you feel bloated,” explains Sonya.
That’s because your stomach’s digestive enzymes have to work extra hard to digest this good-for-you fare. And sometimes, your gut can’t completely finish the job, leaving little remnants of your lunch salad to slip into your intestines. This is where things get really gassy. “When bacteria in your large intestine feed on your lunch leftovers, this causes gas,” explains Sonya. The whole process can leave you feeling like an overly inflated air mattress.
Obviously, the answer is not to skip nutritious meals. Instead, follow these simple rules to quickly nix other surprising, gas-causing behaviour.
1. Stop Sucking
Skip straws, gum, and cigs (come on, girl). All three are surefire ways to introduce excess air into your digestive system, says gastroenterologist Sophie Balzora, MD, an assistant professor of medicine at NYU School of Medicine.
2. Lay Off Artificial Sweeteners
Fake sugars such as aspartame and sucralose are bloat-causing, says Robin Foroutan, a registered dietitian nutritionist in New York City. Your body can’t digest them like real sugar, so they end up in your gut, making gas.
3. Don’t Eat and Drink
True, downing H2O while -dining can keep you from overeating—but gulping it also dilutes the all-important -stomach acid that breaks down food, says Robin. When this process is compromised, some of the stuff you eat doesn’t get digested and is shuttled into your intestines, where...yep, bloat. Aim to drink no more than 750ml of water while you eat (then take in as much as you want 30 minutes post-meal).
4.Cook Your Veggies
Especially if they’re the -cruciferous kind (broccoli, -cauliflower, brussels sprouts), which have a tonne of fibre and are harder for your body to process. In general, steaming, roasting, or grilling them will initiate fibre breakdown.
5.Swap In Some Smoothies
Since they’re already blended, shakes—even those made with veggies—are less challenging for your tum. Try using -almond or hemp milk in lieu of dairy (lactose is bloating for many people) and an easy-on-your-system protein powder made from peas or rice. You could also toss in some pine-apple or papaya, which contains -natural digestive enzymes.
6.Nosh Stinky Foods
“Nourishing your good gut bacteria by feeding them -probiotic-rich foods helps fight the inflammation that stresses your digestive system and causes bloat,” says NYC health coach Robyn Youkilis, author of Thin From Within. “Adding -fermented foods like sauerkraut to every meal will help you break down nutrients more easily.” Other options: kombucha, yoghurt, and kimchi.
A persistent distended stomach, especially with abdominal pain, vomiting, or rectal or -vaginal bleeding, can be a sign of issues like inflammatory bowel disease, ulcers, or a bowel -obstruction, says Sophie Balzora, MD. In rare cases, it may even signal cancer, so see a doc ASAP.
To deflate in 24 hours, try this:
1. Brew Some Tea
Specifically, dandelion or caffeinated green or black tea. They act as a mild diuretic that flushes excess water out of your system to help you de-puff.
2. Pop an OTC Gas Remedy
These meds’ main ingredient, simethicone, breaks gas bubbles in your gut into smaller -bubbles, -allowing them to dissolve.
3. Bounce Around
The impact from moves like jumping jacks and -jogging can push gas through your bowels pretty quickly, which will give -gravity a key assist, says Sonya.