Ever found yourself loosening your belt at the end of a heavy meal? Or did you ever have to deal with an annoying heaviness in your belly, like you feel full all the time? The truth is, you could be the healthiest person on the planet, but bloating happens to everyone. Sadly, the reasons behind this aren't always easy to identify or trace back. In fact, it can vary depending on your lifestyle and body sensitivity. That said, here are some of the most common reasons for bloating and how to avoid it.
The food you eat
Oftentimes, the food that makes up your diet is to blame for a swelling belly. There are some types of food to avoid if you want to keep your tummy flat. One of these is pizza, which is chockfull of fat and salt — two ingredients that are infamous for causing bloating. Unsurprisingly, fizzy drinks like carbon water and soda also make the list, along with less obvious ones like lentils and beans, thanks to their indigestible sugars.
Eating too fast
The faster you eat, the more air you tend to ingest in the process. We know it can be hard to pace one’s self — especially when you’re hungry and face-to-face with your favorite dish. But the truth is, this is a recipe for not feeling very good afterwards. If this sounds like you, try to slow it down and eat more mindfully. There are many benefits of mindful eating, such as helping your body digest and absorb nutrients better. It also prevents binge-eating, which also helps to counter a swelling belly.
Drinking through a straw
It’s not just what you eat and drink, but how you do it, too. Using a straw might feel like nothing, but the same logic applies here as the one described above when you eat too fast. Straws cause you to suck in excess air with each sip, and that leads to — yup, you guessed it — bloating. Just ditch the straws altogether and drink from your cup. That way, you help save the environment in the process as well.
Binge-drinking and smoking
It’s not news how terrible alcohol and cigarettes are for your health, but their effects are worse than you think. Smoking harms your digestive tract, causing bloat-inducing health conditions such as GERD and liver disease. Alcohol, on the other hand, slows down your stomach emptying, which prolongs that heavy feeling you get after drinking alcohol and eating food.
Aside from kicking these habits to the curb, you can increase your intake of foods that aid digestion and have detoxifying properties like cumin and fennel, which we previously talked about here on Verv. Alternatively, an easier way to get your dose of these ingredients is through diet and food supplements. Certain capsules can flush out your digestive tract of toxins. These toxins are what soak up unhealthy fats and hinder your metabolism, so it’s important to do a cleanse every now and then.
Not getting enough hydration
It seems counterproductive to drink more water when it already feels like your tummy is about to burst, but H2O is never not a good idea. Dehydration only makes your body conserve more water, which leaves you feeling more bloated all day. Not only will staying hydrated assist digestion, but it can offset the symptoms of a diet that has too much salt and carbohydrates.
Having poor posture
This might seem trivial, but even the simple act of eating while slumped over your meal could be what causes bloating without you even realizing it. According to a study by researchers from Europe, if your spine isn't upright, it could be trapping more gas in your digestive system and make you feel bloated all time. But if you have good posture, then less gas may be retained, resulting in a flatter abdomen. So the next time you sit at your dinner table, practice more awareness over your posture and how you're sitting.