Need a flat belly for your party tonight? But thanks to your diet soda with lunch and gum in the afternoon you now have a nice stomach bulge? Abdominal bloating not only looks bad, but can cause physical discomfort. The good news? Experts say stomach bloating is a condition you can avoid pretty easily.
We're not talking about extra pounds of stomach fat here, but the temporary abdominal distention that plagues most everyone from time to time. Unless your stomach bloating is because of a medical condition, such as liver or heart disease, the only real cause is intestinal gas - not "water weight," says Michael Jensen, MD, an endocrinologist and obesity researcher at Mayo Clinic.
“It is a myth that bloating in the stomach is from fluid accumulation in healthy adults, because the abdomen is not a place where fluids accumulate first," Jensen says. "Instead, you would see it in your feet or ankles as long as you are upright."
So here are a few tips to reduce bloating and skinny down your tummy!
Flat Belly Tip No. 1: Don't Overdo Carbonated Drinks.
The fizz in carbonated drinks (even diet ones) can cause gas to get trapped in your belly, Blatner says.
Instead, drink water flavored with lemon, lime, or cucumber. Or just reduce the number of fizzy drinks you consume each day. Try some peppermint tea for a soothing beverage that may help reduce bloat.
Flat Belly Tip No. 2: Don't Overdo Chewing Gum.
Chewing gum can also lead to swallowing air, which can cause bloating.
If you've got a gum habit, alternate chewing gum with sucking on a piece of hard candy or eating a healthy, high-fiber snack like fruit, vegetables, or lower-fat popcorn.
Flat Belly Tip No. 3: Watch Out for Sugar-Free Foods.
"Many of my patients suffer from bloating because they consume too much sugar alcohol in artificially sweetened foods and drinks," which can lead to bloating, Blatner says.
Experts recommend consuming no more than 2-3 servings per day of artificially sweetened foods and drinks.
Flat Belly Tip No. 4: Limit Sodium.
Highly processed foods tend to be high in sodium and low in fiber, both of which can contribute to that bloated feeling.
Get in the habit of reading food labels. When buying processed, canned, or frozen foods, shoot for no more than 500 mg of sodium per serving in any product -- or a total of 2,300 mg of sodium per day
Flat Belly Tip No. 5: Don't Eat Too Fast.
Inhaling your food in a matter of minutes and not chewing your food well can cause you to swallow excess air which leads to bloating.
So slow down and enjoy your food. Your meals should last at least 30 minutes. Also, keep in mind that digestion begins in the mouth, you can decrease bloating just by chewing your food more.
There's another benefit to slowing things down: When you take your time to thoroughly chew and taste your food, your snack or meal becomes more satisfying. And studies have shown that if you eat more slowly, you likely end up eating less.
Try these tips for some relief from bloating purgatory!