Top Tips to Avoid Bloating After Eating
Feel bloated after eating? You’re in the right place. Here are a few tips you can follow to beat bloating for good.
Common Bloating Symptoms and Triggers
Often after having a meal, you feel like your pants are about to explode (not fun at all!) and your stomach feels like twice its normal size. To put the icing on the cake, you have cramps, gas, and…belching. These are all bloating symptoms.
How to avoid it? Well, if you rule out any underlying health conditions that may cause bloating (PMS, IBS [irritable bowel syndrome], disorders of the intestinal tract, etc.), you can actually tip the scales in your favor by excluding from your diet any foods that are bloating triggers.
Foods to Avoid
The most common causes of bloating are carb-rich foods because they cause gas. These include apples, beans, vegetables from the cruciferous family (e.g.: broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage), dairy products, lettuce, onions, peaches, and pears. Now, don’t eliminate these foods from your diet completely - they also abound in nutrients that your body needs. However, if you reduce the amount you eat of any of these, or if you eat only one at a time, the chances that you feel bloated after finishing your meal will be lower.
Keep Your Fiber Intake in Check
Another healthy food that can cause issues when it comes to bloating is whole grains. Despite their health benefits compared to their refined counterparts, they can actually cause bloating due to their fiber-high content. It is true that fiber is at the core of a heart-healthy diet, but if you are one of those people who experience bloating after eating, then it’s best to gradually increase your whole grain intake when switching from white grains and see how your body reacts. With a gradual increase in whole grains, you can build your body’s tolerance and reduce your risk of bloating after a meal.
Cut Back on Salt
Adults under the age of 51 should not consume more than 2,300 mg of sodium (about a teaspoon of salt) daily, while adults aged 51 + should consume less than 1,500 mg daily, experts say.
Eating too much salt not only increases the risk of a number of long-term conditions, among which high blood pressure is probably one of the most common, but it can also lead to water retention, which triggers bloating.
How to avoid sodium and still enjoy tasty food? Simple, use herbs instead and cut back on the amount of processed and packaged foods! Herbs will enhance the flavor of what you eat without sacrificing your heart health. Try slicing old bread in thin pieces and sprinkle with an herb and garlic blend. Bake in the oven at 350° until golden for some heart-healthy, crispy “chips!”
Say ‘No’ to Fat
As you probably know by now, high-fat foods take longer to digest. The fat travels slowly through the intestines, which can back up your digestion and cause bloating. This also explains why you’re having difficulty buttoning your pants after a rich, fat meal. If you usually feel bloated after fat-rich meals, reduce the amount of fat that you eat to a minimum. Choose grains instead!
Stay Away From Carbonated Drinks
Tasty as they may be, carbonated drinks are the major bloating triggers in the beverage world. The more soda or carbonated water you drink, the more chances are that their carbon dioxide will build up in your body. This quickly leads to bloating especially if you down your drink quickly. To enjoy a nice, refreshing drink without the bloating effect, you can always opt for plain water with a slice of lemon for the flavor.
Eat slowly; don’t inhale food in a rush! Either because we are in a constant race against time, or because we’re too hungry and obviously enjoy our food (way too much), we tend to scarf down large bites. This is not in the least beneficial to our health because when we do this we also swallow air, which causes gas retention in our bowels. Gas in turn leads to bloating. You can bust the bloat by eating slowly. Plus, taking your time eating can also help reduce the overall food intake, triggering satiety sooner. So, if you also want to lose weight this is the way to go!
Take a Walk
There’s no doubt about the benefits of physical exercise on your health. Apart from the feel-good effect it has on your psyche, working out can also minimize the gas buildup, which accounts for bloating. A short walk after a meal can also ward off bloating (if you feel like it).
Try an Anti-Gas Supplement
Gas-busting supplements like a-galactosidase tablets are also a great alternative to prevent gas buildup and bloating. These kinds of supplements are also effective against belching and embarrassing flatulence. However, it’s best you seek medical advice before starting to take them. You can take these tablets daily, depending on the brand and/or as advised by doctor. Another alternative can be Senna leaf or another cleansing herb. Often steeped and taken as tea, these supplements can help clear the colon and reduce belly bloating.
Eliminating constipation is key! How? Very easy, eat more fruits and veggies! Fruits and veggies are a great source of fiber, along with nuts, seeds, and healthy grains (aim for 25 grams daily for women, and 38 grams daily, if you’re a man). Fluids and exercise can also help beat constipation for good and increase your digestion and metabolism.
Don’t Chew Too Much Gum
Chewing gum, especially after lunch on a busy weekday at work, can help you ward off the usual afternoon slump and stay focused. However, don’t overdo a good thing. While chewing gum, you can also swallow air, which also leads to gas buildup in your system, leading to bloating. You can chew on a hard fruit or veggie (plum or carrot) or a fiber bar (provided that you don’t exceed the recommended intake that day).
When Dietary Changes Are Not Enough
If bloating doesn’t seem to give you a break, then it’s probably time you paid a visit to your doctor to determine the real reason. Particularly if you experience severe cramps and/or abnormal bowel movement, the possible underlying problems could be:
Celiac disease (gluten intolerance)