We’ve all suffered through the pain and discomfort of being bloated—a stomach distended to the point where it’s coming dangerously close to detonation. And that ultra-full, gassy sensation typically boils down to what we eat and how our bodies process it. Want to feel less bloated? Read on.
10 Ways to Feel Less Bloated
No one wants to feel bloated, so here are 10 tips that’ll help you avoid it.
1. Chew Your Food. More.
Your meal isn’t approaching its expiration date, so resist the urge to wolf it down. By chewing slower, you allow less gas to enter the stomach as you eat. Plus it takes your body approximately 20 minutes to realize it’s full, so by eating slower, you’re less likely to overeat.
2. Eat Smaller Portions
Eating more often but eating smaller portions when you do assists with weight control and helps you better absorb nutrients. It’ll also help prevent you from feeling like there’s an anvil in your gut. Space meal two–three hours apart and try to follow the Japanese practice of hara hachi bu—eating until you’re 80 percent full, at most.
3. Avoid Processed Foods, Fried Anything…
Ever heard of azodicarbonamide? It’s a common additive in bread that’s so tasty it’s also found in… yoga mats. Yum! Point being, if you can’t pronounce it, you can probably live without ingesting it. And, if you’re thinking about funnel cake, just say no. Few things are harder for the human body to digest than a greasy, breaded calorie bomb. But if you do find yourself binging on these treats, here’s what to do.
4. …And These Foods
Cruciferous veggies (broccoli, cabbage, and others), sugar substitutes, and legumes (beans) can have the balloon effect on some people.
5. Eat and Drink These Bloat Soothers
Foods that don’t cause bloating—and might actually help you feel less bloated—include cooked veggies, low-sugar fruits like grapefruits, yogurt (if you don’t have dairy issues), and green, ginger, or peppermint tea. Healthy soup is also a great alternative to many foods that cause bloating.
6. Don’t Sip Carbonated Drinks
Ripping beers with your pals translates to the consumption of unnecessary empty calories (hence the term “beer gut”). And later on, thanks to the carbonation, you might also get a serious case of upset stomach. Think moderation when it comes to fizzy drinks, even super-healthy ones like kombucha. The rest of the time, stick with water. Mix up the taste by adding lemons wedges, fresh mint or basil leaves, or cucumber slices.
7. Consume More Fiber
Generally, Americans don’t eat enough fiber. That’s because fiber is primarily found in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables… not at the drive-thru. If you’re not used to getting enough fiber (approximately 25–38 grams), eating more fiber may cause you to temporarily feel more bloated. But, in the long run, it will help you digestive tract run more smoothly, and as a result, you’ll feel less bloated, less often.
8. Discover If You Have A FODMAPs Intolerance…
If you regularly suffer from bloating, IBS, constipation, and abdominal pain, the culprit is obviously Satan’s favorite protein, gluten, right? Not necessarily. Countless things can trigger abdominal discomfort. And while gluten can certainly be one of them, so can intolerance to FODMAPs. The egghead term for FODMAPs is “fermentable oligo-di-monosaccharide and/or polyol.” They’re a group of carbohydrates that some individuals have trouble digesting. Foods high in FODMAPs include apples, watermelon, milk, ice cream, yogurt, onions, and some artificial sweeteners.
Clearly this means you should swear off apples because they’re terrible for you. Not really. It’s hard to give direct advice on this because it would be contingent upon how your body reacts. And since we don’t stalk you (anymore), we don’t have enough info to make a call.
9. …or Another Intolerance
Other foods that maybe be especially triggering include wheat (bread, pasta, and other gluten foods), dairy, alcohol, yeast (again with the bread, but also beer, wine, and MSG). An elimination diet will help you determine if one of these foods is an issue. Another option is to…
10. Become a Food Super Sleuth
Time to investigate your food choices, gumshoe. No trench coat or goofy fedora required, either. All you need to do is keep a detailed food journal with footnotes reminding you when you experience bloating or discomfort. Use a pad and pen or a smartphone app like Lose It!, MyFitnessPal, or Calorie Counter Pro, which we prefer because they also track caloric intake. Eventually you’ll notice patterns as to which foods or groups of foods are the perpetrators. From there, you can make a citizen’s arrest… or just stay away from those foods to feel less bloated.