Belly bloat SOS
De-puff that pouch before summer hits with these handy tips
This WTF scenario is actually pretty common and can truly suck in the summer, when bloat makes your highwaisted shorts and skimpy swimsuits feel like medieval torture devices.
Here’s what gives: A large highfat meal can indeed lead to the proverbial foodbaby feeling – but that’s not the only reason for a bulging belly. Most often, the true culprit is gas, says Sonya Angelone, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. This is especially likely if you’re eating fibrerich foods (read: kale, beans, fruit). ‘Almost any highfibre food, even in a reasonable portion, can make you feel bloated,’ explains Angelone.
That’s because your stomach’s digestive enzymes have to work extra hard to digest this goodforyou food. 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 Angelone. 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 gascausing behaviour.
Skip straws, gum and cigarettes (come on, girl). All three are surefire ways to introduce excess air into your digestive system, says gastroenterologist and assistant professor of medicine, Dr Sophie Balzora.
LAY OFF ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS
They may contain less calories than real sugar, but in fact, fake sugars such as aspartame and sucralose are bloatcausing, says Robin Foroutan, a registered dietitian nutritionist. Our body can’t digest them like real sugar, so they end up in your gut, producing gas.
DON’T EAT AND DRINK
True, downing H2O while dining can keep you from overeating – but gulping it also dilutes the allimportant stomach acid that breaks down food, says Foroutan. 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 180ml of water while you eat (then have as much as you want 30 minutes postmeal).
COOK YOUR VEGGIES
Especially if they’re the cruciferous kind (broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts), which have tons of fibre and are harder for your body to process.
SWAP IN SOME SMOOTHIES
Since they’re blended, shakes are less challenging for your tum. Use almond milk in lieu of dairy (lactose is bloating for many people) and protein powder made from peas or rice. Try adding pineapple, which contains natural digestive enzymes.
NOSH STINKY FOODS
‘Nourishing your good gut bacteria by feeding them probioticrich foods helps fight the inf lammation that stresses your digestive system and causes bloat,’ says health coach Robyn Youkilis. ‘Adding fermented foods like yoghurt and kimchi to every meal will help you break down nutrients.’
YOU KNOW WHAT BLOWS? A BALLOONING BELLY