The Big, Bad Bloat
Have you ever begun to put on a pair of pants, and instead, quickly opted for leggings and a big shirt? Feeling bloated (belly bloat), is something, unfortunately, we all know and bemoan.
There are a few main reasons why our bodies decide to jut out around the beltline so unappealingly. Luckily, by making a few changes, you can squelch the puff and continue to aim for that flat tummy.
One cause for belly bloat is wolfing down your meal like you’re a contestant returning from a month-long stint on Survivor. Digestion begins in your mouth. Chewing more can decrease your odds of gassing up.
You’re Stressing’ Me Out!
Stress makes gas, too. Abnormal levels of bacteria in the small intestine, as well as an imbalance of microorganisms can be to blame as well. As we’ve heard, taking a probiotic supplement or eating foods like yogurt help to replace the good bacteria, in hopes of rebalancing our gastrointestinal microbiome.
Food allergies are another cause for physical distress along with the “bowl-full-of-jelly” appearance. And alas, a key source for distended tummy must be FODMAP. Those with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) know what the acronym stands for.
FODMAP—Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, And Polyols. I can hear you yelling at this page. “That didn’t help!” OK, I’ll try to make this simpler. Basically, those unpronounceable words are terms for short-chain carbohydrates.
Short-chain carbs do not completely absorb in the small intestines. In fact, they are osmotic, which means they actually pull water into the tract. This action causes fermentation. Yes. Those un-fully-digested foods begin to rot in your intestinal tract from the gut bacteria going at it. Yuk! …Burp.
Don’t Be A (Carb) Hater
Let’s be clear. Not all carbohydrates are FODMAP. In order to assist with de-bloating, you may fare successfully by cutting down greatly on FODMAP, even if you aren’t afflicted with IBS. Here’s an idea of foods that are poorly absorbed, especially when eaten in excess:
- Fruits such as: apples, apricots, blackberries, canned fruit, guava, mango, papaya, peaches, pears, plums, prunes, and watermelon. This list also includes honey, and artificial sweeteners like sorbitol or xylitol, which are used in gum, candy, and some toothpaste.
- Dairy, milk chocolate, cream cheese, ice cream, sour cream and other soft cheeses
- Vegetables such as: artichokes, broccoli, cauliflower, eggplant, lentils, mushrooms, and snap peas
- Grains —when wheat, barley, or rye are the main ingredient.
- Beans, soybeans; cashews and pistachios.
Now that you know what the effect of those foods could possibly have, you many want to try a Low-FODMAP diet (for a few weeks) to help reduce your bloat. Read labels when you shop. If a high FODMAP is at the end of the ingredients list, it’s probably fine for you. You’re going to be looking at the main, essential contents of your items.
- Veggies: sprouts, bamboo shoots, bell peppers, bok choy, carrots, cucumbers, green beans, kale, lettuce, pumpkin, potatoes, radishes, seaweed, spinach, squash, tomatoes, water chestnuts, and zucchini
- Fruits: bananas, blueberries, cantaloupe, cranberries, grapes, honeydew, kiwis, lemons, limes, pineapples, raspberries, strawberries, and tangerines
- Breads, cereals, pastas, and chips made with gluten free/spelt grains (corn, oats, potato, quinoa, brown rice), oatmeal, and oat bran
- Dairy alternatives: almond, coconut, and rice milk
- Nuts: walnuts, macadamia, peanuts, and pecans
- Proteins: Tofu, eggs, and fish
Drink tons of water: It may feel counterproductive, but you want to flush out lingering toxins. And stay away from carbonated beverages. Watch out for too much sodium, too. Foods high in potassium, such as yogurt, raisins, and bananas will assist in flushing out that extra salt in your system.
After a few low FODMAP weeks, try re-inserting a few high FODMAPs back into your diet (in small amounts), one at a time. (This can be a productive way to test for any food allergy, too.). Overall, focus on smaller portions, mixing cooked and raw veggies in each meal, and you’ll reap rewards. Queen of Flatulence? More like Queen of Flat Tummy!
For more tips about improving your health and wellness, check out GetThrive.com today!