We’ve all experienced that uncomfortable swollen feeling after eating a big, greasy meal. Ugh, it’s the worst! But what exactly causes bloating, and what can you do to stop it from happening again?
Luckily, there are some easy steps you can take to prevent the stomach fullness and tightness associated with bloating.
Here, we’re diving into the most common culprits of bloating and sharing five tasty meals that will help prevent GI discomfort.
What Causes Bloating?
What’s really behind your puffiness? It’s not just chowing down on fried foods that cause bloating. Here are five common causes of bloating that might surprise you.
Anyone who’s ever been constipated knows how icky it feels to be all clogged up. When you’re not pooping regularly, gas can’t pass as it should. This oftentimes leads to bloating of the abdomen.
Avoid constipation and keep things moving by drinking plenty of water, eating more fiber (hello, vegetables, and whole grains!), and exercising.
You’ve heard time and time again how important it is to drink plenty of water throughout the day. One of the biggest benefits of staying hydrated is that it prevents bloating. When you’re dehydrated, your body holds onto every bit of water it can. This phenomenon is known as “water weight.” When your body stores water, you can expect a puffy, bloated stomach.
Dehydration is also one of the major causes of bloat-inducing constipation. Make sure to drink lots of water during the day, aiming for six to eight glasses. Steer clear of carbonated beverages (yes, even sparkling water), though, as these can bring on the bloat.
You don’t move much during the day.
Being sedentary, meaning you spend most of your time seated, can cause constipation, which, in turn, can lead to bloating. The easiest way to combat that? Exercise!
Working out will not only help keep you regular, but it’ll ensure you stay bloat-free. You don’t have to aim for a ton of strenuous activity. Even a 15-minute yoga session or walk each day can help get things moving in your intestines so that you don’t have to deal with bloating.
You have food allergies or digestive issues.
If a certain food irritates your stomach, one of the most common symptoms to experience is bloating. This often occurs in people with lactose intolerance, who are sensitive to dairy, and people with celiac disease, who are sensitive to gluten.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can cause gas and bloating too. Always talk to your doctor to confirm a diagnosis before eliminating foods from your diet.
You love salty foods.
What do fries and pizza have in common? All that salt in them can cause bloating! Eating foods high in sodium causes your body to retain fluids, leading to, you guessed it, bloating.
Sodium is a staple in processed and prepackaged foods (even if these items don’t taste salty), so try relying on them less to minimize your salt intake.
How To Get Rid of Bloatin? These 5 Meals Could Help
In addition to sipping lots of water and exercising every day, eating the right foods can help get rid of bloat. Here, we’ve rounded up five meals that can easily be incorporated into your diet to reduce bloating.
(Pro tip: Start adding more fiber to your diet slowly to give your body time to adjust. Too much fiber can cause bloating too!)
Adding more water and fiber-rich fruit to your diet is a great way to fight bloating. Some of the best bloat-minimizing ingredients to add to a smoothie include yogurt (packed with gut-friendly probiotics), pineapple (high water content), ginger (aids in digestion), and if you’re into savory smoothies, parsley (a diuretic).
Give your mornings a makeover by noshing on oatmeal. This easy-to-prepare breakfast staple is packed with insoluble fiber, which will keep you full longer, ensure your bowels are working the way they should, and nip bloating in the bud. Top with walnuts or fruit for extra bloat-reducing fiber.
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Salads don’t have to be sad. Made with the right base and the right toppings, they can keep bloating at bay. Spinach is an ideal salad base; it has a mild flavor and is loaded with fiber. As for toppings, some of the best bloat-beaters include fennel, avocado, cucumber, beet, and tomato.
Just be careful with cruciferous veggies like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower. They tend to cause more gas, which can lead to bloat. Get Salads and more delivered to your door with the following Meal Services!
Grain bowls are having a moment these days and for good reason. They’re not only easy to prepare, but they’re also seriously good at curbing bloat, if you include the right ingredients. If you’re sensitive to gluten, quinoa makes a great base for your grain bowl. Lentils are also a solid choice for a base, but you’ll want to limit your bean intake since their high-fiber content can cause gas and bloat.
Add bloat-minimizing toppings like avocado, tomato, asparagus, and yogurt-based dressing to your grain bowl for a nutritious and tasty meal.
Eating soup is a great way to up your hydration game and get more fiber into your body, both of which can reduce bloating. That said, most processed soups are loaded with sodium. Instead, make soup from scratch to ensure you’re getting all of the fiber and nutrients from your ingredients.
Load up your soup with your favorite vegetables (remember: avoid ones that can cause bloating) and enjoy!
Note from our Dietitian: If you continue to experience bloating consult your doctor because it could be a sign of a larger issue.
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This post has been reviewed and approved by our dietitian Rebecca Housh, MS, RDN, LDN for nutritional accuracy.
Rebecca Housh is a registered dietitian based in Chicago, IL. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Human Physiology from Boston University and a Master of Science in Human Nutrition from the University of Illinois in Chicago. Rebecca is passionate about the idea of food as medicine in both preventative and therapeutic care. Her current professional interests lie in food security, food access, and nutrition for chronic disease.
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