Stop the Bloat: A Guide

Most Americans have experienced bloating at least a few times in their lives. Eating until we’ve reached belt-popping levels of full on Thanksgiving is a common cause. However, bloating can be a problem if it happens more than once or twice a year. One in 10 Americans suffer from bloating on a regular basis, and sometimes it’s severe enough that the distension of the abdomen is visible. Overindulgence, water retention, and gas build up are three of the most common causes of minor bloating, but occasionally bloating can be the result of a more serious condition like Crohn’s disease or diverticulitis.

We’re here today to help you determine why you’re getting bloated and guide you through some strategies on how to avoid this painful feeling in the future.

Practice portion control

One of the most common causes of bloating is overeating. This might seem obvious, but sometimes people overeat before they even realize that they’re full because they’re eating so fast that their brain can’t keep up.

Practicing sensible portion control and slowing down when you eat are the first steps that you should be taking to control your bloating. A sensible portion varies from person to person, but a good rule of thumb if you’re trying to avoid bloating is to imagine what you would usually serve yourself and eat about 75 percent of that. You can always get more later.

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Slow down at the dinner table

While limiting your food intake to sensible portions is important, a lot of people just eat too quickly, and the signal that their stomach is full reaches their brain too late.

One way to allow your brain to catch up with your body is to slow down when you’re eating. Enjoy your food and chew it leisurely. It doesn’t have to be completely unnatural, but as long as you keep this thought in the back of your mind, you should naturally slow down.

When you’re about halfway through what’s on your plate, take a break and put your utensils down for a few minutes. You may find that you don’t need to finish your entire portion after that.

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Cut down on rich and fatty foods

Rich and fatty foods usually taste pretty delicious, but they can contribute to our bloating in a huge way. Foods that are high in fat like dairy, oils, nuts, and simple carbohydrates take longer to digest than other types of food and can lead to an extended period of time when our bodies are struggling to digest our meal and we feel uncomfortably bloated as a result. Many people who have gone on the Paleo diet struggle with this type of bloating.

Make sure your meals are not too high in fat, and if they are, move towards a diet that contains more veggies and complex carbs.

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