When your stomach feels stretched, tight or uncomfortable, your first thought is to examine what you’ve eaten that day. Bloating can certainly be caused by eating foods high in sodium, fat or sugar, but other common culprits unrelated to your diet could just as easily be your problem. Learn what could be causing your bloated belly and how you can shrink things back to normal!
We get it: you can’t eliminate this problem, but sitting all day causes your bowels and gas to become blocked. Thankfully, the cure for this is simple; take frequent breaks—even five minutes 3 times a day—while you’re at work to stretch and move. If you can convince your boss you need a treadmill desk (known to increase productivity!), that’d be a win-win.
When you aren’t drinking enough water, your body retains more fluid to balance the salt and water levels in your system. You can guess the first step to getting rid of this kind of bloat: drink at least 64 ounces of water per day. If you’re already hitting this goal, commit to ditching sodas and (too much) coffee which can contribute to dehydration.
Your medicine may be killing ‘bad’ bacteria in your body, but it also destroys good bacteria needed for a healthy gut. The solution? Studies show that doctors are more likely to prescribe an antibiotic to a patient who is interested in taking one, so make sure that the medicine is actually necessary before accepting the medication. Your infection may just as easily cure with a natural remedy; just explore your options!
(Photo: Food 52)
Regardless of what you eat, how you consume food has an impact on the look and feel of your midsection. “Digestion starts in the mouth, not in the stomach,” nutritionist Rania Batayneh told Daily Burn. She says chewing each bite not only breaks the food down for digestion, the food is also broken down by saliva and enzymes in the mouth. When you skip this step, your gut has to work harder! Practice slower, mindful eating in a distraction-free place to beat the bloat.
If you wake up feeling bloated and full, your problem may be sleep related. Snoring causes your body to take excess air into your GI tract and to your small intestine. Lying down only amplifies the likelihood of storing too much air, leading to that morning bloat. If you know you snore in your sleep, talk to your doctor or find a sleep specialist to explore ways you can sleep soundly!
As if you aren’t familiar with the harsh side effects of stress, your bloated belly may be a symptom of your anxiety, too. When you’re stressed out, your hormone levels spike and your GI tract becomes irritated, leading to digestive difficulties. Other less-than-swell stress-induced actions could also compound your bloat (read: distracted or binge eating, skipping workouts, etc.). Give meditation or yoga a try as a mindful, natural form of coping with your busy brain.
Of all the factors that contribute to estrogen dominance (which is linked to bloating), gastroenterologist Dr. Robynne Chutkan told Well+Good that artificial hormones like those in birth control pills are primarily the cause. She suggests opting for alternative contraceptives and steering clear of xenoestrogens, commonly found in conventionally-raised meat and produce and household cleaning supplies.
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