When it comes to naming foods that cause belly bloat, beans are typically #1 on the list of usual suspects. Yes, we’ve all heard the cute little jingle: “Beans, beans, the musical fruit… the more you eat, the more you TOOT!”
According to a study from the University of Utah, approximately 1 in 5 adults experiences bloating – and in many cases, the underlying cause of bloat isn’t how much you eat, it’s actually what you eat. So the good news when dealing with belly bloat is this: All you have to do is pay closer attention to your diet, figure out which food makes you feel a bit puffy, cut back on that food (or eliminate it), and then you’ll be able to deflate your tummy with relative ease.
Now let’s take a look at 6 foods that are the biggest triggers for belly bloat. And yes, beans are on the list! *wink*
Our bodies naturally produce an enzyme called lactase that’s needed to digest lactose, a type of sugar found in dairy. Some women produce an adequate amount of lactase, and some don’t. In the case of women who don’t produce enough of this enzyme, the lactose from food will begin to ferment in the intestines, which will then lead to a buildup of gas and subsequent bloating.
How to Deflate: Cutting back on the consumption of dairy products may be enough to relieve bloating and flatten your belly. Also, foods that are rich in probiotics (like Greek yogurt and kefir) can help improve digestion by increasing the growth of healthy gut bacteria.
Wheat is a very common belly bloater because it contains proteins like gluten, which can increase inflammation and alter your gut’s delicate balance of bacteria, thus triggering GI problems like bloating and gas.
How to Deflate: For many women, the best course of action would be to totally eliminate wheat from your diet because this will bring about immediate results. Problem is, wheat isn’t just found in the “obvious” foods like bread and pasta. Nowadays wheat is added to so many different foods that you wouldn’t expect – from candies, to canned foods, to seasonings, to pre-packaged meals. So if you suspect wheat to be the cause of your belly bloat, you should make sure to read food labels to determine if wheat is listed in the ingredients. Also, you may want to consider making an appointment with your doctor for wheat/gluten allergy testing.
The reason behind all that “tooting” after you eat beans is very similar to lactose intolerance. But in the case of beans, the culprit is a class of carbohydrates called oligosaccharides that go undigested through your intestines, causing water imbalance, fermentation, and gas build-up.
How to Deflate: There are 3 solutions. One, you can stop eating beans. Two, before consuming beans you can soak them overnight in water, which has been shown to help break down those bloat-triggering oligosaccharides. Or three, you can take an over-the-counter dietary supplement that contains enzymes to help break down the oligosaccharides.
According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), the average American consumes 1.5 times the recommended allowance of sodium per day. And because sodium naturally attracts water and causes tissues to swell, if you’ve noticed bloating soon after eating a particularly salty meal, chances are pretty likely that excess sodium consumption is the cause of your belly bloat.
How to Deflate: Simply limit sodium consumption to less than 2,300 mg a day. You can do this by easing up on the saltshaker, reading food labels, and cutting back on high-sodium processed foods like sauces, cured meats (ie bacon and pepperoni), pizza, cheese, and fast foods.
5. Sugar Alcohols
Sugar substitutes like sugar alcohols (ie erythritol) are now commonly found in many tasty foods like ice cream, candy, gum, and even protein bars. Furthermore, the use of these types of sugar substitutes has been a great step forward in food and nutrition, and several studies have shown that sugar alcohols like xylitol can even improve dental health and help prevent tooth decay! Unfortunately, some people may experience adverse side effects such as bloating and gas from the overconsumption of sugar alcohols.
How to Deflate: Be mindful about not overindulging in foods that contain sugar alcohols.
6. Water (or a lack thereof)
Dehydration is a funny thing when it comes to belly bloat and the result is the opposite of what you’d typically expect. Here’s how: Because our bodies are over 60% water (and our brain is more than 70 percent water!), when our bodies become dehydrated, this signals a warning to our kidneys and our central nervous system to release antidiuretic hormone (ADH), which then signals our body to hold onto water more aggressively as a protective measure to prevent further dehydration, which then ultimately leads to fluid retention and a puffy belly.
How to Deflate: This solution here is very simple: Drink enough water each day – which according to The Institute of Medicine is 91 ounces for women, and 125 ounces (or approximately 1 gallon) for men. Also, if you’re not a fan of drinking plain ole’ water, check out these hydrating drinks that are actually more nutritious than plain water!
Alright ladies, that wraps up today’s post on the top 6 belly bloat foods. As always, I hope you enjoyed today’s post as much as I enjoyed sharing it – and I’ll be in touch again very soon!