We’ll get to the point: bloating sucks. You feel sluggish, tired, and you’re just not feeling yourself the way you should. But as much as we hate to admit it, our eating habits are often at the root of the problem… #guilty.
But the good thing is, it’s often within your control, and if bloating is really getting the better of you then there are some things you can do to help improve the issue. The easiest way to combat it? Avoid certain bloat-inducing foods, and worst-case scenario, try our bloating quick fixes. Here’s the 411 on the foods that cause bloating, and it’s more unwelcome side effect; gas.
1. Stop with the salt
One of the main contributors to bloating is salt, which as you probably know is literally in everything. If it’s not, we typically add extra (oops) as it brings out all of those delicious flavors in our food. However, salt also causes your body to retain water, most commonly around your abdomen making you feel bloated and swolen. Salt is often listed as sodium on packaged food, so it’s good to get into the habit of checking labels and looking for food that’s marked “low in sodium” or “sodium-free.” If this isn’t outlined clearly, as a benchmark, the American Heart Association recommends a maximum of 2,300 mg of sodium a day, although ideally, no more than 1,500 mg per day is best, so keep track of how much you’re consuming.
2. Cut down on dairy
Dairy is another huge contributor to bloating – this includes milk, cream, cheese, and yogurt. In fact, it’s estimated that 75% of the world’s population has an intolerance to dairy and therefore cannot digest it properly. The inability to digest dairy leaves you feeling uncomfortable, bloated, and gassy – nice!
3. Go easy on the beans
While there are a lot of delicious beans that are super healthy, they can also cause serious bloating. Most beans contain a type of sugar that a lot of people can’t digest, which then leads to gas and bloating. This doesn’t mean you should avoid them completely, just work them into your diet minimally. If you’re a huge beans fan, opt for strained beans as they’re a little easier on the stomach.
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4. Ditch the diet foods
We’ve all been lured into buying diet-food at one point or another, but try not to be won over by the marketing as they’re often unhealthier than you think. Diet meals or other protein-based diet snacks may be low in fat but they’re extremely high in salt and preservatives; both of which will leave you feeling bloated and unfulfilled, causing you to snack and overeat, another bloating conundrum.
5. Cut back on onion and garlic
Okay, so this one both surprised and upset us a little, as onion and garlic are used as a base of pretty much any delicious meal! But if you’re prone to bloating you may want to cut back on both, as they contain fructans, which are soluble fibers that are hard to digest. To make matters worse, they’re quickly broken down by gut bacteria, producing gas which can lead to bloating.
Bad Bloating Habits:
It’s not just food that contributes to bloating! The most common habit is eating too quickly, which causes you to overeat and swallow air in the process, both of which lead to bloating. Instead, try to chew slowly and eat mindfully: pay attention to what you’re eating, aka no Netflix while you’re munching. Chewing gum can also cause bloating, and while it may save you on those bad breath moments, due to the constant chewing without any substance (aka food), you often swallow air causing you to bloat.
Top 3 Debloating Hacks
The next time you feel bloated, don’t panic! There are tons of quick tricks to fight the bloat. Here are three of our faves:
1. Apple Cider Vinegar: Honestly, apple cider vinegar is one of those do-it-all miracle solutions; it’s an amazing toner, it detoxifies, it even helps fight greasy locks. AND it’s an amazing digestive aid, aka it’ll help you de-bloat in under 10 minutes. ACV is packed with enzymes that amp up the digestive system, plus it can help break down bacteria that trigger bloating. You can add it into your diet by taking a shot after a meal, adding it into your salad dressing or making a tea using 1 cup of steaming hot water and 1 teaspoon of honey, lemon juice, and ACV.
2. MCT oil: Another amazing de-bloating agent is MCT oil, which is a fatty oil containing a unique form of fat that requires fewer enzymes and less energy to be digested. As a result, it’s a great source of energy that increases your metabolism. But don’t worry, MCT doesn’t get stored as fat, in fact, a study found that over a 12-week period a focus group who added MCT into their diet lost two more pounds than the accessed group who didn’t have MCT oil. Try adding a teaspoon to your morning smoothie. Any food that is high in healthy fats like avocado, salmon, or nuts will also have a similar effect.
3. Make a ginger and lemon tea: Both lemon and ginger are great for de-bloating, plus they have some serious skincare benefits, so getting into the habit of drinking a lemon and ginger tea is a win-win. It works by kick-starting the metabolism, easing digestion and relieving any bloating. The lemon will also help detoxify and cleanse your gut, breaking down bacteria that causes bloating. Ginger also helps relieve menstrual cramps so if it’s that time of the month, load up on ginger tea.
For more healthy eating ideas, check out 15 foods that will make you even more beautiful.