Don't you just hate it when you look yourself into a mirror post lunch and a bloated stomach stares right back at you? As if it is mocking at your misery of not even indulging in a sumptuous meal and yet acquiring a post-feast ballooned belly. Bloating is a prevalent inflation of stomach especially after a meal. It is a common symptom of excess gas production in your stomach. Common causes of bloating include overeating, intolerance to a certain food or dairy product, constipation, change in environment, etc. But the good news is that bloating is only a temporary side effect of above mentioned causes, and subsides in a matter of time. However, you can take these essential lifestyle and dietary tips to avoid bloating permanently.
1. Take Minimum Drinks with Your Meal
Liquids are said to dilute stomach acid which is essential to break down the food, thereby hindering the digestive process. Experts suggest that a person should observe a minimum of 15 to 20 minutes gap before the meal and after, to avoid formation of gas.
(Also read: How 30 Minutes of Walking After Meals Can Help You Stay Fit)
2. Chew Your Food and Eat Slow
Gulping down the food in a jiffy is the worst invitation call to bloating. By not taking enough time to chew your food, you not only hinder the disintegration of food particles which will further upset your digestion, but also end up swallowing a lot of air, which contributes significantly to gas retention in your belly.
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This one is obvious. A significant portion of gas build-up can be prevented by exercise especially before breakfast. This would also facilitate your bowel movement. A short walk after a meal is said to deliver great results in avoiding bloating.
(Also read:Two-Minutes of Intensive Exercise Can Help Prevent Diabetes)
4. Cut Down Your Salt Intake
Too much of salt consumption is said to aggravate the water retention in your stomach, which contributes to bloating. When extra sodium is pushed into the body fluids, it stalls the process of pushing water out of the cells, which makes the stomach feel full with cells packed with water. Salts can be substituted with other flavourful herbs, pepper and vinegar. This would not only cut down on the excess sodium content but also prevent bloating.
(Also read: What's Your Daily Salt Intake? Even 5 Gram Can Put You at Risk of Heart Attack)
5. Avoid Carbonated Beverages
Carbonated beverages and sodas act as a major carrier of carbon dioxide gas build-up in your body, which leads to bloating. This excess gas if not released in burping adds up to the bloat. Drink plenty of plain water instead or as an alternative, flavor it with lime or cucumber. Avoid regular tea or caffeine and opt for ginger and peppermint teas to steer clear of indigestion.
6. Monitor Your Fiber Intake
While whole grains are essential for healthy digestive system, their high fiber content is often a common cause for bloating. Therefore it is recommended that you slowly increase their amount in your diet, and give your body the time to adapt to the change. Else the upheaval in the gas levels is sure to call for bloating.
(Also read:5 Fiber-Rich Foods You Should be Eating Everyday)
7. Avoid Dairy
For the ones who are lactose intolerant, it is advisable to stay away from dairy products such as cheese, milk etc. Your body lacks the enzymes necessary to break down lactose, which causes excessive gas formation in the Gastrointestinal(GI) Tract leading you to bloat. Opting for soy milk as a substitute to normal milk has proven to be an effective measure against bloating.
(Also read:A Daily Glass of Milk Can Save Your Heart)
8. Cut Down on Legumes
Love rajma? This might break your heart, but beans, along with peas and lentils, are significant contributors in causing gas. They contain sugars and fibers that are difficult for the body to absorb easily. It is quite a task for your large intestine to push them for smooth digestion, which causes bloating. However, if they are had regularly especially with rice or quinoa, your body adjusts to it, and bloating is prevented
(Also read:10 Best Matar (Peas) Recipes)
9. Broccoli, Cabbage and Other Cruciferous Vegetables
For its high content of raffinose, a kind of sugar which is possible to digest only once the bacteria in your gut acts upon it, cruciferous vegetables produce immense gas. But experts also suggest that a regular intake of the greens leads to a stronger and healthier digestive system that's less prone to bloating. So maintain a balance. Having the vegetables cooked or steamed softens the fibers and shrinks the portion as some of the water cooks out, so it takes up less space in the GI tract, which also prevents bloating to a great extent.
10. Eat Papaya and Pineapple
Fresh papaya and pineapple have natural digestive enzymes that aid digestion and help break down proteins in your GI system.
(Also read:8 Amazing Benefits of Papaya for Health and Skin)
11. Eat Asparagus
Asparagus contains plenty of prebiotics which helps in the growth of ‘good bacteria', thereby maintaining a healthy balance in your digestive system and reducing gas. The vegetable's soluble and insoluble fibers further promote overall digestive health.
About Sushmita SenguptaSharing a strong penchant for food, Sushmita loves all things good, cheesy and greasy. Her other favourite pastime activities other than discussing food includes, reading, watching movies and binge-watching TV shows.