The gift of a bloated belly isn't only reserved for women during that time of the month. Sometimes it's the foods we eat that can cause that full, gassy feeling. Here's a list of foods that may be contributing to your balloon-like belly, so you may want to think about limiting or avoiding them.
- Dairy products: Lactose intolerance can range from mild to severe, but either way, gas is usually a symptom. Try limiting the amount of milk, cheese, yogurt, and ice cream you eat, and see if that helps. If it does, you don't have to ditch dairy altogether. Drink lactose-free milk, or take Lactaid pills to help your body digest milk products.
- Apples and pears: These fruits contain about five grams of fiber each, so they're an excellent source of soluble fiber, but they can also wreak havoc on sensitive tummies. Don't avoid them entirely, though. Eating half or a quarter of these fruits, or peeling them first, will allow you to enjoy their flavor without paying the price.
- Beans: This magical fruit contains oligosaccharide, a type of sugar which is not normally digestible by our bodies. When this sugar reaches your large intestine, the bacteria go to town eating it up, and the gas you produce is an unfortunate byproduct. Eat small amounts of beans along with easily digestible whole grains such as rice or quinoa to help your body get used to them.
- Broccoli, cabbage, and asparagus: These highly nutritious veggies are often avoided because of the odoriferous outcome. The reason these veggies cause gas is due to raffinose. This sugar goes undigested until it reaches the large intestine, where it's fermented by methane-producing bacteria. Unfortunately, there's nothing you can do to cut down on the gas they produce, but eating them in moderation and with other foods should help prevent a bloated belly afterward.
- Fatty foods: Fat slows down digestion, giving food more time to ferment. It also increases the sensation of fullness.
- Sugary foods: Leslie Langevin, MS, RD, CD, of Whole Health Nutrition, explains that, "in your GI tract, there are trillions of bacteria that usually help with health, but these bacteria consume the sugars in your foods and can increase gas production and bloat." Try cutting out foods made with white sugar and even honey and maple syrup to see how you feel.
- Salty foods: Sodium may not cause gas, but it definitely makes you retain water. Cut back on the salt you add to foods, and be a label reader to make sure you're not exceeding 2,300 mg a day.
- Gum and hard candy: When you chew or suck on these, you end up swallowing more often, which means you're probably swallowing more air. Also, ones that contain artificial sweeteners can also lead to GI issues.
- Carbonated beverages: Bubbly drinks such as soda and beer release carbon dioxide, which can translate to bloat.
If you're still feeling bloated, try this detoxing yoga sequence.