Having trouble zipping up last season’s skinny jeans?
If so, you may be feeling more belly bloat or digestive issues going on. Just remember – your lifestyle can be generally healthy, but if you are doing a few of the wrong things on a regular basis, you could be causing disruption of your normal digestive functioning which shows up as nausea, bloating and constipation.
Supporting your gut microbiome (good bacteria levels in your digestive system) is perhaps one of the most beneficial things you can do to improve your digestion and even boost your mood (since your brain and gut communicate together). Chronic indigestion, gas or bloating, constipation or diarrhea are signs indicating your gut flora is out of balance.
Don’t forget that everyone is different. Certain foods may be gas-producing for some people while not for others (it all depends on your microbiota). But the following things can cause destruction of intestinal cells over time:
- Daily over-the-counter pain medications (Motrin, Advil)
- Prescription medications
- Excessive stress
5 Ways to Prevent Belly Bloat:
1) Do NOT chew gum
Gum chewing causes you to swallow excess air, which can contribute to abdominal pain and bloating. When you chew gum, you send your body physical signals that food is about to enter your body, which stimulates the release of enzymes and acids. This can cause an overproduction of stomach acid and can compromise your ability to produce sufficient digestive secretions when you actually do eat food.
Sugarless gums typically contain sorbitol, a sugar alcohol known for causing bloating and other gastrointestinal distress. Sorbitol takes a relatively long time to digest, and those undigested particles in your small intestine act as a breeding ground for the fermentation of bacteria, causing bloating and flatulence.
2) Avoid artificial sweeteners (aspartame, sucralose, saccharin, acelsulfame K)
Artificial sweeteners have been found to disrupt your intestinal microflora, causing symptoms of belly bloat.
3) Stay away from soy
Soybeans, which are found in soy products (edamame, tofu, miso), many protein powders and protein bars, and most processed foods as soybean oil, can cause extreme gas in many people. Non-organic soy is highly processed and GMO. Soy contains oligosaccharides, sugar molecules that the body can’t break down entirely. With nowhere to go, these oligosaccharides hang out in the digestive tract, where they ferment, causing gas and bloating.
4) Check labels for carrageenan (often in almond and coconut milk)
Many of your favorite foods, like ice cream, chocolate milk, sour cream and frozen yogurt, as well as foods that you think are healthy, such as almond milk, coconut milk, and cottage cheese, contain carrageenan. Derived from red seaweed, it is used as a stabilizer and thickening agent in many dairy products and dairy substitutes and has been linked to ulcers, inflammation, nausea and bloating.
5) Don’t eat in a hurry
When you eat on the run, standing up or in the car, you have a tendency to swallow a lot of gas-producing air. Slow down around meal time. Sit down, concentrate on your food and do nothing else – no work, no texting, no talking or watching television. Chew your food slowly to avoid gulping down large pieces of food and air that can increase bloating.
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Occasional bloating is normal, but if it occurs chronically, bloating can be a symptom of a more serious health problem.
If your problem is chronic, consider talking to your health care practitioner or nutritionist. Deanne is available for free consultation through our email email@example.com.