No one likes feeling a bloat in their belly, but sometimes it’s your own diet and lifestyle habits to blame. If you’re tired of constantly rubbing your stomach in hopes of digesting all that air and pressure, here are just a few common culprits behind bloat.
1. Canned Soup
It may look healthier and more veggie-packed than some of the other things in the grocery aisle, but when you take a closer look at the label, canned soup is actually teeming with sodium. Salt, of course, is like a red flag in front of a bull when it comes to stomach bloating, so skip the soup if your waistband is feeling too tight.
Sitting still for long periods of time means that your bowels aren’t moving, either. Instead of stretching out in front of Netflix for 12 hours in a row, make yourself punctuate those marathons of Fuller House with a five-minute walk here and there.
3. Protein Bars
Though they’re advertised for their protein, protein bars contain quite a bit of fiber, too. That fiber will help you encourage and regulate bowel functions, but you might have to pay the piper in the form of bloating.
Yes, the same stuff that can give you a hangover can also give you a bloated belly. This is because alcohol has a diuretic effect that dehydrates you, and dehydrated bodies cling to whatever water is left within them. The next time you head out for a night on the town, make sure you have at least one glass of water for every alcoholic beverage.
All right, you may be saying. I won’t drink alcohol. I’ll drink seltzer instead. It’s too bad that the bubbly goodness of carbonated seltzer is just as bad for bloating as your nightcap.
6. Artificial Sweeteners
You can’t drink alcohol. You can’t drink seltzer. As it turns out, you can’t drink diet soda, either: Artificial sweeteners contain indigestible compounds that create a feeling of expansion and fullness in your stomach.
It’s a pretty harmless habit, all things considered, but if you’re an avid gum chewer and you’re having embarrassing or painful fits of bloat, it might be worth it to cut back on the flavor strips. Air can get trapped inside your mouth along with them.
When you drink through a straw, you suck up air bubbles in time with your milkshake. These bubbles can survive all the way down your throat and into your stomach where they’ll cause bloating and gas.
You already know that they’ll make you cry, but were you aware that onions are also a common cause of bloating? Their nutrients are good for your health but bad for your hope of a flat, gas-less stomach.
Corn is another healthy food that’s actually a bloated balloon in disguise. You can thank its special kind of carbohydrate that the human body struggles to break down, resulting in gas and air build-up in the belly.
You already know that dehydration can cause bloating, so if you’re not happy with the pressure in your stomach, toss back a glass of water. It may feel counter-intuitive to add more volume to a distended gut, but as soon as your body realizes that it isn’t being deprived of fluids anymore, it will let the pressure go.
It just isn’t good for any part of your body. In addition to all the heart and lung damage, smoking can also decrease the contractions of your gastrointestinal tract, and that means more stuff stuck in there for longer periods of time.
13. Leafy Greens
Raffinose is a naturally-occurring sugar compound found in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage and kale. It’s hard for the human body to digest, so it leads to gas and flatulence until your stomach enzymes can finish breaking it down.
Snoring is a lot like smoking, hiccuping, chewing gum and doing anything else that brings air into your mouth. It causes air bubbles to go down your throat and into your stomach, and the result is a full, bloated feeling that you can’t shake.
It may taste like the nectar of the gods, but pizza is a triple threat when it comes to bloating. It contains fat, sodium and dairy that can all work in tandem to expand your stomach and cause your gastronomical issues. Say no to pepperoni next time!
These are just a few common causes of bloating. There are many more, of course, but this list should be enough to help you steer clear of the usual subjects. If you find yourself having excessive bloat or bloat accompanied by other symptoms, talk to your physician.