It's normal to feel bloated after a huge bowl of spicy chili or after eating three pieces of birthday cake, but if you're constantly feeling bloated every single day and are feeling extremely uncomfortable and depressed about it, we asked certified dietitian Leslie Langevin, MS, RD, CD, of Whole Health Nutrition to explain the most common causes of belly bloat so you can stop the cycle and feel better.
Eating too fast makes us swallow air, and since air that goes in has to come out, you'll end up feeling bloated. Slow down and focus on really chewing each bite thoroughly before swallowing. Also ditch carbonated beverages since these cause you to ingest air, and go for water instead since this can actually prevent bloating. Overeating falls into this category as well. If every meal involves you eating until you feel grossly stuffed, you're not only consuming extra calories that will lead to weight gain, but your digestive system can't handle the load, so it retaliates. Focus on eating until you're 80 percent full to avoid that sick, bloated feeling.
We know dairy products, beans, spicy or fried foods, broccoli, onions, cabbage, gluten for some, high-fat foods, and high-fiber fruits like apples and pears can cause that bloated feeling, but so can sugar and sugar alcohols. Try avoiding sugar substitutes, white and brown sugar, and even natural sugars like honey and maple syrup to see if you notice a difference. Sugar alcohols found in processed foods are also culprits so be a label reader so you can avoid xylitol, sorbitol, and mannitol. Companies also try to increase the fiber in their products, labeled on the list of ingredients as chicory root or inulin. They can cause digestive upset so you might want to ditch those foods as well.
Not Enough Roughage
Constipation is another cause of feeling bloated, so to keep things moving along, be sure to get 25 to 30 grams of fiber each day, including fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains, and flaxmeal if you need a little extra help. Drink lots of water throughout the day and set aside 10 to 15 minutes to sit and do your business.
Probiotics are good-for-you bacteria that live in our bodies, and if there is an increase of negative bacteria, that can cause digestive upset as well. Leslie recommends "adding a probiotic with good bacteria like bifidobacterium or lactobacillus to help reduce the gas your own gut produces." You can take supplements, drink probiotic beverages, eat fermented foods like kimchi, or down some yogurt (go for unsweetened), or there are even foods like granola or protein powder that contain probiotics.