Nearly everyone will experience bloating in their stomach or abdomen at some point in their lives, especially women. At first, bloating is still manageable but the longer you are bloated, the more uncomfortable it becomes. The condition can become so bad that it feels as if there’s a basketball in your stomach or abdomen. Although bloating rarely signals something serious and often goes away on its own after a couple of hours, the period of time when your stomach and abdomen is distended can make you feel lethargic, self-conscious, and most of all, extremely uncomfortable. If you often feel bloated, know that your habits actually greatly contribute to this. Here are seven unhealthy habits you should avoid which causes bloated stomach and abdomen.
Habit #1: Eating too fast
When you skipped a meal or when the food in front of you looks and smells delicious, it’s often very hard to stop yourself from eating too fast. You should know that eating too fast causes you to unknowingly inhale too much air. The excess air can accumulate in your stomach and cause bloating. Swallowing large chunks of food can also cause bloating since the large chunks are harder for your stomach to digest so the food accumulates in your belly for a while. Thus, in order to prevent bloating, chew your food properly and eat slowly.
Habit #2: Drinking soda
Just by looking at a cup of soda, you can already see all the air it contains in its fizz and bubbles. This air can also cause your stomach to swell when you consume too much of it as it accumulates in your belly. Diet soda is even worse since the artificial sweeteners in it are very hard to digest, leading to a longer belly bloat. To minimize bloating after consuming soda, leave it in the open for a couple of minutes or hours before drinking.
Habit #3: You overlook food intolerances
Many people who are not mindful of their food intake may already be consuming food that they are intolerant with, leading to stomach bloat amongst other digestive and health problems. If you notice that you experience bloating after consuming a certain type of food, you may be intolerant with it. Check with a medical specialist and request for a food sensitivity test so you can modify your diet according to which food you can and cannot eat.
Habit #4: Chewing gum
Chewing gum can cause belly bloat in two ways. First, chewing causes you to intake excess air through your mouth. This air gets trapped in your digestive tract, leading to bloating. When you regularly chew gum, the air accumulates, making your belly bloat even worse. Second, the act of chewing without actually consuming any food signals your brain to activate your digestive system. But without any food, you’ll instead experience acid reflux and gaseous build-up leading to bloating.
Habit #5: You regularly eat sandwich
Although sandwiches may seem like a healthy lunch, it can actually be a cause of sodium-induced belly bloat. Breads and rolls, deli meat, and cheese, are some of the highest sources of sodium in a typical American diet. You must eat less than 2,300 mg of sodium in order to fend off bloating as well as other sodium-related health issues in the future.
Habit #6: Eating processed food
Basically, processed foods are the main sources of sodium. Processed foods have high sodium content which may induce belly bloat. This is because sodium is anti-diuretic, which means it is highly effective for retaining fluids in the body. As a result, the accumulated fluid bloats you for a while. Opt for natural foods and ingredients instead.
Habit #7: Not drinking enough water
It is true that drinking too much water causes short-term bloating however, not drinking enough water causes long-term bloating. When you’re dehydrated, your body will hold on to whatever fluid it has. The fluid retention leads to bloating just like with the case of consuming too much sodium. As a solution, drink plenty of water, evenly distributed throughout the day. Don’t drink too much water in one sitting and don’t drink too little water either.