Lindsay Maurer is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Diabetes Educator. She offers nutrition counseling, education, and health focused workshops and seminars in various areas of nutrition. She is lead registered dietitian at Total Health Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.
What Causes Bloating?
Eating too quickly, consuming excess amounts of sodium, being physically inactive, or having a gastrointestinal disease, among many other culprits, can cause a swollen-like feeling in the belly known as bloating. An increase in gas production in the body or the malfunctioning of the muscles in the digestive tract can leave us with that “stuffed” feeling, discomfort, and, at times, even pain. Some may even complain that their stomach appears bigger when they feel bloated. Needless to say, being bloated is NOT fun especially during the summertime.
Here are 5 dietitian-approved ways to help you beat that bloat this summer as you enjoy some fun in the sun with friends and family:
- Kick-start that metabolism and keep it going throughout the day with food and exercise. Start with breakfast and continue a consistent intake throughout the day. Begin walking to increase your activity level. Bonus: walking can help to move gas through the body, alleviating pain or that “stuffed” feeling in your stomach the more you move.
- Decrease your intake of foods known to cause gas and bloating such as broccoli, brussels sprouts, beans, cabbage, and onions.
- Keep a food journal. Writing down what you eat can help you to identify any trigger foods. Many times, figuring out and avoiding your trigger foods can instantly help you to feel better.
- Relieve stress. Identify your stressors and work towards decreasing them. Stress can be a big culprit when it comes to gastrointestinal upset like gas and bloating.
- Fresh is best AND gut-friendly! Choose foods and beverages that help to fight the bloat and alleviate any water retention. Go for fresh, wholesome foods versus processed packaged junk food that is high in sodium and unhealthy fats.
Incorporate these nutrient dense foods into your daily meals to help combat that bloat:
- Ginger tea: make it at home! Steep fresh ginger in water and add a drop of honey.
- Melons such as honeydew and cantaloupe, kiwi, and bananas – high in potassium which is a natural diuretic and can help relieve water retention and excrete salt from the body, ultimately decreasing bloating
- Cucumbers and tomatoes – natural diuretics (help the body excrete excess water)
- Fermented foods like kimchi and kombucha. These foods contain probiotics, the good bacteria that live in our guts. Consuming these foods are suggested to help improve gut health. A healthy gut can mean less gas and bloat overall!
Resources that can help:
Sometimes gas or bloating can be signs of more serious medical conditions such as IBS & IBD. If your symptoms persist after trying some of our methods above, meet with your doctor and local dietitian to help you navigate your symptoms and improve your health. This does not substitute as medical advice.