Belly bloat SOS

De-puff that pouch be­fore sum­mer hits with these handy tips

Cosmopolitan (Australia) - - Contents -

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.

STOP SUCK­ING

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

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