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Tummy Bloating Foods by Priyanka ,  Aug 11, 2013

If you’ve ever felt bloated, you’ll know the symptoms: you start the day with a flat stomach, but as the day progresses your belly starts to swell, feeling full and tight, until by the end of the day, you look like you're pregnant. It can be so bad that you can’t close a pair of pants that fitted perfectly a few days earlier!

Bloating is a result of excess gas in the intestines. There are many possible causes for this highly uncomfortable condition, ranging from air swallowing, overeating, constipation and hormonal changes during PMS to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine, certain medications, gastroesophageal reflux and food intolerances. Abdominal bloating can also be caused by more serious disorders such as coeliac disease, Crohn’s disease and colon cancer. 

If you constantly experience abdominal bloating and pain, it is important to see your doctor to make sure there is nothing serious present.

However, in many cases bloating can be eased by simple changes in your diet. It’s a good idea to keep a food diary for a week: make a note of everything you eat and how you feel afterwards. Pretty soon you should be able to spot a pattern and identify the culprit. The following foods can cause bloating:

1) Greasy, fried foods

Greasy fast foods like burgers, chips, fried chicken and deep-fried eats like samoosas, koeksisters and doughnuts can cause bloating because it takes the stomach much longer to break down the fats and properly digest them. This extra time allows gas to build up, causing bloating.

2) Salty foods

Salt is a big culprit when it comes to bloating. High-sodium foods cause the body to retain water, which leads to a bloated feeling.  Sodium can show up in some unlikely sources, especially in processed foods, so read your food labels and rather flavour your foods with herbs.

3) Spicy foods

Spicy foods have been shown to stimulate the release of stomach acid, which can cause irritation. Limit the use of black pepper, nutmeg, cloves, chilli powder, curry, onions, garlic, mustard, BBQ sauce, horseradish, tomato sauce and vinegar.

4) Gassy vegetables

Some vegetables produce more gas than others do, and everyone varies in their ability to absorb and tolerate that gas. If you're sensitive, you may want to limit the amount of gas-producing vegetables such as the following:  baked beans, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, lentils, Lima beans, onions and peppers.

5) Carbonated and high-acid drinks

All carbonated drinks - from sodas to fizzy mineral water - can cause bloating because the carbon dioxide trapped in the bubbles creates gas in the stomach. Some beverages such as alcohol, caffeinated drinks, coffee, tea, hot chocolate and some fruit juices (like orange juice, pineapple juice and tomato juice) are high in acid which can irritate your GI tract, resulting in swelling and bloating.

6) Artificial sweeteners

Certain artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame, saccharin, sorbitol, xylitol, maltitol, mannitol, cyclamates and sucralose can increase bloating. These are often found in diet drinks, sweets, cookies, energy bars and chewing gums. The artificial sweeteners linger in the stomach because they cannot be digested, and after enough build-up they act as a platform for the fermentation of bacteria, leading to production of gas.

7) Dairy products

If your body is unable to digest lactose, or milk sugar, the consumption of dairy products can make you feel bloated. This condition, called lactose-intolerance, is relatively common, especially among people of Asian, African and Southern European descent. The lactose that is not completely digested will pass to the colon where gas is produced by the bacteria trying to break it down. If you suspect that you are lactose intolerant, consult a dietician to ensure adequate consumption of other calcium-rich foods.

8) Too much fruit

Just as some people are lactose-intolerant, others are fructose-intolerant, and their bodies cannot digest the sugar properly. If you find you have excess gas and bloating after eating fruit, this may apply to you. Choose lower-fructose fruits, like sweet melon and apricots, instead of high-fructose fruits like apples and bananas. It is also best to eat fruit separately from a meal - either 30 minutes before or at least two hours after.

9) Starches

Most starches, including potatoes, maize, pasta, and wheat produce gas as they are broken down in the large intestine. If you find that you are particularly sensitive to a starch, substitute it with rice - the only starch that does not cause gas. Also, beware of refined graines like white flour that's often used in white bread, cake and biscuits. Not only do they offer little nutrition, they can also cause water retention, with bloating as a result.

10) Chewing gum

Chewing gum can make you swallow air, which then gets trapped in your belly, causing pressure, bloating, and gas. It also often contains artificial sweeteners which will just aggravate the bloating.

The 4-day jumpstart is a great way to reduce belly bloat and start flattening your stomach instantly. You can lose up to 7 pounds! You’ll drink Sassy Water (a signature Flat Belly recipe) while eating healthy foods and drinks that will help flush out excess fluid, reduce water retention, and relieve gas that can bloat your belly. Here are key foods to avoid on the jumpstart.

Salt Avoid the saltshaker, salt-based seasonings, and highly processed foods. Water is attracted to sodium, so when you take in higher than usual amounts, you’ll temporarily retain more fluid —which contributes to a sluggish feeling, a puffy appearance, and extra water weight.

Excess carbs As a backup energy source, your muscles store a type of carbohydrate called glycogen. Every gram of glycogen is stored with about 3 grams of water. But unless you’re running a marathon tomorrow, you don’t need all this stockpiled fuel. Decreasing your carbohydrate intake temporarily can train your body to access this stored fuel and burn it off. At the same time, you'll drain off the excess stored fluid.

Bulky raw foods A half-cup serving of cooked carrots delivers the same nutrition as one cup raw, but it takes up less room in your GI tract. Eat only cooked vegetables, smaller portions of unsweetened dried fruit, and canned fruits in natural juice. This will allow you to meet your nutrient needs without expanding your GI tract with extra volume.

Gassy foods Certain foods simply create more gas in your GI tract. They include legumes, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, onions, peppers, and citrus fruits.

Sugar alcohols These sugar substitutes, which go by the names xylitol or maltitol, are often found in low-calorie or low-carb products like cookies, candy, and energy bars because they taste sweet. Like fiber, your GI tract can’t absorb most of them. That's good for your calorie bottom line, but not so good for your belly. Sugar alcohols cause gas, abdominal distention, bloating, and diarrhea. Avoid them.

Fried foodsFatty foods, especially the fried variety, are digested more slowly, causing you to feel heavy and bloated. On the Flat Belly Diet you'll eat fats, but you'll eat the healthy kind — MUFAs (short for monounsaturated fatty acids) — that target hard-to-lose visceral belly fat. MUFAs can be found in oils (such as olive oil), olives, nuts and seeds, avocado, and dark chocolate. Yum! 

Spicy foods Foods seasoned with black pepper, nutmeg, cloves, chili powder, hot sauces, onions, garlic, mustard, barbecue sauce, horseradish, catsup, tomato sauce, or vinegar can all stimulate the release of stomach acid, which can cause irritation.

Carbonated drinks Where do you think all those bubbles end up? They gang up in your belly! Swap these beverages for delicious Sassy Water (the Flat Belly Diet's signature drink). You’ll enjoy this soothing, flavorful water on the jumpstart and can continue drinking it throughout the diet (many Flat Belly Dieters do!).

High-acid drinks Alcohol, coffee, tea, hot cocoa, and acidic fruit juices: Each of these high-acid beverages can irritate your GI tract, causing swelling. You can have these drinks in moderation after the jumpstart if you choose.

Chewing gum You probably don’t realize this, but when you chew gum, you swallow air. All that air gets trapped in your GI tract and causes pressure, bloating, and belly expansion.

Are you having trouble controlling your tummy bulge? You’re definitely not alone. Most of us struggle with bloating on a regular basis. Sure, those extra few pieces of cheese with your glass of wine may seem like a good idea at the time but is it really worth hours of feeling full and tired afterwards? Not really.

The single largest contributing factor when it comes to bloating is your diet. You may not even know it (especially considering so many of the foods listed below are incredibly healthy) but the foods you’re eating are likely causing you to feel full and overinflated. The good news is eliminating these foods from your diet (or at least limiting your intake) will eliminate bloating almost immediately.

Avoid these 33 foods and you’ll be on your way to a flatter tummy in no time:

Cheese

How many times do you hear someone proclaim they are "bloated"? It is such a familiar term that we use to describe discomfort we feel in our abdomen, usually after eating.

Not long ago, medical professionals thought bloating, often reported by those suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), was but a figment of their patients' imaginations.

According to Dr Barbara Bolen, a leading figure in the treatment of IBS, bloating is a fairly universal phenomenon, with approximately 16 to 30 per cent of the general population suffering from it. These percentages increase significantly among IBS sufferers, with 80 to 90 per cent reporting being bloated regularly.

Bloating is defined as increased pressure in the abdomen. Women are more likely to suffer than men.

The causes are many, ranging from poor digestion, stress, food intolerances, food allergies and hormonal imbalances. But there are known food culprits that, if bloating is an issue for you, definitely need to be avoided.

1. Beans

Beans are super healthy but if your digestion isn't up to speed, they will cause you a problem that is not so pleasant. They contain a type of sugar that is not digestible, so gas can be produced - and bloating then is not far away.

2. Salt

Salt causes your body to retain water, predominantly around your abdomen. Not all bloating is a result of gas. Sometimes it is water retention, which salt exacerbates. In some ways, water retention is even harder to alleviate than gas, so it is important to avoid high-salt food.

3. Junk food

Junk food is loaded with fat, sodium and sugar, not to mention highly processed foods that are hard for your body to digest. Your body simply doesn't have the tools to digest and the result is discomfort and bloating.

4. Cruciferous vegetables

Vegetables, like beans, are healthy, but if your digestive fire is not burning as brightly as it should, then cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage and Brussels sprouts may cause unwanted bloating. They are similar to beans, containing a sugar that is hard to digest and requires methane-releasing bacteria to break them down. Don't avoid vegetables completely. Instead choose safer options such as dark, leafy greens, spinach and kale.

5. Dairy

Dairy contains lactose, which many adults cannot digest. It is estimated that 75 per cent of the world's population is lactose intolerant. This inability to digest and break down dairy causes gas and, subsequently, bloating and discomfort.

6. Fizzy drinks

Fizzy drinks are your stomach's worst nightmare. Adding gas to your body is only going to create even more gas during digestion. If you get bloated, then definitely ditch the fizzy stuff.

7. Refined carbohydrates

Refined carbohydrates often contain white flour, which proves troublesome for some people's digestion. The processed wheat is hard to break down, which in turn creates a build-up within your system that is responsible for wheat intolerances, often with bloating as a prime symptom.

8. Chewing gum

Chewing gum is a disaster for your digestion because it causes your stomach to ready itself for food. When food doesn't enter your stomach, digestion is upset and gas is created - not to mention the air you swallow when chewing.

We all want to be fit and healthy but not all of us can give up our favourite foods. I know I can’t. Comfort foods are called so, because of a reason but below are some eye-brow raising facts which made me re-think my eating habits. Now, it’s not possible to just give them up but certainly their consumption can be reduced.  

1. White rice

White rice digests rapidly in your body, creating that cascading effect of increased insulin levels, increased fat storage, and an increased waistline over time.Also, as a refined grain, white rice offers a low level of satiety. So you’ll eat it, won’t feel very full, and then eat more. This cycle can lead to an excessive calorie intake and increased weight gain.

2. Sugar-free gums and candies

Sugar alcohols in sugar-free candy and sugar-free gum are sugar substitutes that can only be partially digested by the body.Many times you see these in foods like sugar-free candy, gum, and snacks. They’re often listed as xylitol, sorbitol, and maltitol.Because they’re only partially digested in your body, they provide fewer calories per gram than actual sugar, but they also can cause gastrointestinal side effects, such as bloating, gas, and diarrhoea. And all that bloat and gas can cause your abdomen to look distended. So you’re better off avoiding these or consuming them in small quantities to prevent belly bloating.Chewing sugar-free gum also can lead to the swallowing of air.The more air that you swallow, the more this air accumulates in your gastrointestinal tract, which can cause bloating, pressure, and belly expansion. In addition, the sugar alcohols in sugar-free gum have some side effects. They can increase gas and cause bloating, abdominal pain, and even diarrhoea.However, gum containing sugar alcohols can have some health benefits, such as helping to prevent dental cavities. It also has no impact on blood sugar and insulin levels due to the low glycemic index of sugar alcohols.

3. Ice-creams

Ice cream can be a belly bloater in a couple of ways.First, it contains a large amount of sugar, and food high in sugar causes both blood sugar and insulin levels to rise, resulting in the storage of more belly fat. Because ice cream is a milk product, it also contains high levels of lactose, the sugar found in milk. Many individuals have lactose intolerance, which causes them to have trouble breaking down lactose and leads to increased gas production, bloat, and even diarrhoea. Extreme temperatures in foods, such as very cold (like ice cream), can also stress the gastrointestinal tract and lead to cramping and bloating.

4. Fried Foods

Deep-fried foods, including French fries, can cause you to feel heavy and sluggish because the high levels of fat in these foods slow digestion.Commercially fried foods often contain the most dangerous of all fats: trans fats. These fats in even small amounts have been linked to many negative health effects (such as heart disease). They can also significantly elevate inflammation in your body.

5. Cabbage

It tastes great and is great for you, but cabbage may be tough on your belly!Cabbage is a vegetable known for increasing gas production in the gastrointestinal tract during digestion. And this increased gas production can bloat your belly. Gas-producing vegetables are often easier to digest and break down when cooked well. So if you do have cabbage, choose cooked over raw. And don’t eat large quantities of cabbage on a day you want your waistline to look as slim and toned as possible.

Belly-bloating foods work in different ways. Some things you eat can increase gas in your stomach, making your abdomen look and feel distended. Even though this bloating is only temporary, it can still be uncomfortable and make your pants feel quite snug around your waistline. Other foods can lead to long-term belly bloat from increased visceral fat storage.

Bloat-inducing bagels

If you go to the bagel store or a deli, you almost always get a huge bagel made with 100 percent refined flour. That refined flour sets off the cascading events of elevated blood sugar, elevated insulin levels, and increased belly fat storage.

If you're a bagel lover, don't worry. Healthier options exist. Aim for a small bagel (the size of the palm of your hand), and make sure it's made with 100 percent whole grains.

Cabbage-powered gas

Cabbage is a vegetable known for increasing gas production in the gastrointestinal tract during digestion. Gas-producing vegetables are often easier to digest and break down when cooked well. So, choose cooked over raw. And don't eat large quantities of cabbage on a day you want your waistline to look slim.

Bloat from carbonated water

For one to three hours after drinking carbonated water, you may feel as though your belly has expanded. The carbonation can make your stomach look distended and cause clothing to fit more snuggly around your midsection.

If you really love carbonated beverages, aim to drink just one glass per day. Also, avoid carbonated beverages a few days before an event or outing where you want your belly to look as flat as possible.

Cola (including diet cola) for a too-full feeling

A cola may contain sugar, corn syrup, or another liquid sweetener. All of these sweeteners increase fat storage right in your abdominal area. High sugar content, especially in liquid form, immediately raises blood sugar, which in turn spikes insulin levels. This elevated insulin level signals your body to begin storing the excess sugar as fat.

Diet soda doesn't contain sugar, but it still has carbonation. Diet sodas are also packed full of artificial sweeteners. These sweeteners are foreign chemicals to your body, so when they're consumed in excessive amounts, they may increase inflammation, which in the long run can increase health risks and belly fat. Your best solution is to try a naturally flavored seltzer or a glass of water with a splash of lemon or lime juice for added flavor.

Waist-expanding risk of fried foods

Deep-fried foods can cause you to feel heavy and sluggish because the high levels of fat in these foods slow digestion. Commercially fried foods often contain the most dangerous of all fats: trans fats. These fats in even small amounts have been linked to many negative health effects (such as heart disease). They can also significantly elevate inflammation in your body.

If you love fried foods, try breading the foods in whole-grain flour and pan-frying them in a small amount of olive oil (or baking them instead). The foods will come out crispy and delicious without all the dangerous fat.

Downside of ice cream

Ice cream contains a large amount of sugar, and foods high in sugar cause both blood sugar and insulin levels to rise, resulting in the storage of more belly fat. Because ice cream is a milk product, it also contains high levels of lactose, the sugar found in milk. Many individuals have lactose intolerance, which causes them to have trouble breaking down lactose and leads to increased gas production, bloat, and even diarrhea.

Extreme temperatures in foods, such as very cold (like ice cream), can also stress the gastrointestinal tract and lead to cramping and bloating.

Sausage stored as fat

Sausage is a fatty meat that's loaded with unhealthy saturated fat. This fat clogs arteries and may also increase inflammation, which has a direct link to belly fat storage. Sausage is almost always high in sodium as well. And food high in sodium causes your body to retain water, giving your belly a bloated look and feel.

Sausage made with leaner meats like turkey, chicken, or venison contains less saturated fat and fewer calories. Even leaner options can be high in sodium, so save them for occasional treats rather than meal staples.

Sugar alcohols as sweet substitutes

Sugar alcohols are sugar substitutes that can only be partially digested by the body. Many times you see these in foods like sugar-free candy, gum, and snacks. They're often listed as xylitol, sorbitol, and maltitol. Because they're only partially digested in your body, they provide fewer calories per gram than actual sugar, but they also can cause gastrointestinal side effects, such as bloating, gas, and diarrhea.

Gum containing sugar alcohols can have some health benefits, such as helping to prevent dental cavities. It also has no impact on blood sugar and insulin levels due to the low glycemic index of sugar alcohols.

Aired-up with sugar-free gum

Chewing gum, in general, while fine to do, can lead to the swallowing of air. The more air that you swallow, the more this air accumulates in your gastrointestinal tract, which can cause bloating, pressure, and belly expansion.

White rice for a bigger belly

White rice has been refined and stripped of the outermost and innermost layers of grain, removing most of the fiber, nutrients, and proteins. White rice digests rapidly in your body, creating that cascading effect of increased insulin levels, increased fat storage, and an increased waistline over time. Also, as a refined grain, white rice offers a low level of satiety. So you'll eat it, won't feel very full, and then eat more.

If rice is a staple in your diet, you can keep it that way. Simply choose a less-processed option instead. Brown rice and wild rice can be substituted for white rice in almost any recipe and are much friendlier to your waistline!

It's not exactly the daintiest topic in the world, but it's certainly something everyone's experienced-- that sensation of pressure inside the abdomen, sometimes coupled by swelling in the belly. You know, bloat.

Most of the time, bloating is caused by seemingly benign actions. Maybe you drank out of a straw earlier that day. Maybe you ate your lunch a little too quickly. Maybe you munched on just a bit too much raw broccoli for a snack. Kristi King, a registered dietitian at Texas Children's Hospital and a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, explains that bloating itself is more of a feeling -- that pressure in the lower part, and sometimes upper part, of the abdomen -- while the actual sensation of a "swollen" belly is called abdominal distention.

Bloating is most often a result of gas or increased salt intake. When it's the latter, the culprit is eating too many sodium-heavy foods, which leads you to retain water, King explains. But bloating can also be triggered by excess gas, which is caused when particular foods you eat sit in your stomach or aren't digested properly. The bacteria that live in the gut hone in on the sugars in those foods, breaking them down and producing gas, which can lead to bloat.

To beat bloat, King suggests several easy tips. For starters, quit smoking. Bloat can occur when you suck in the excess air as smoke is inhaled from the cigarette. In the same vein, eating more slowly could also help; when a person eats rapidly, he or she takes in more air with each bite -- and that air gets trapped in the stomach and has to come out some way. Ditto with drinking through a straw; it leads to more air being trapped inside your stomach. Taking probiotics to maintain a good balance of good gut bacteria could also help relieve abdominal discomfort (though King recommends talking to your doctor about this approach), as might drinking water, since it helps to move the digestion process along. Exercise is another way to beat bloat.

"The gut is the second brain of the body; it's going to react to any kind of stress and anxiety that the body might be experiencing," King tells HuffPost. "Exercise can help to increase blood flow to various parts of the body, including the gut, so exercising on a regular basis -- 30 to 60 minutes every day -- might help with reducing bloating as well."

If you find yourself frequently experiencing abdominal discomfort, it could be a good idea to keep a food diary to track what you eat and how those foods make you feel, she says. And in general, certain foods are more bloat-inducing than others. Some of the more common culprits include:

Cruciferous vegetables. Greens like broccoli, brussels sprouts and cabbage contain sulfur and a carbohydrate called raffinose, both of which are hard for the body to break down. Cooking helps to break these compounds down, though, so while it's certainly healthy to eat your greens, cooking these particular vegetables first could help to reduce bloating. Baked beans are another bloat culprit.

Dairy. Dairy doesn't cause bloating for everyone, but many people have some kind of lactose intolerance, which is when the body doesn't have the necessary enzyme to break down the lactose sugar. "Because they don't have that enzyme, it can cause increased gassiness because that sugar is not broken down," King says. "So dairy products, if you're lactose intolerant, may cause increased bloating." It's a similar case for people who have a gluten intolerance; some people's bodies are unable to break down gluten, which is found in many grains, including wheat and barley, which can also lead to bloat.

Fatty foods. Eating a really rich, heavy, fatty meal can lead to bloating because fats are the last thing to leave the stomach. "Any type of fat takes longer to digest than carbohydrates or protein," King says.

Junk food. Because many junk foods are high in fat and sugar, this double whammy can lead to bloat. "What actually happens with the sugar is, one, you're fueling the bacteria in your gut to start eating those sugars that are being digested, so they may produce more gas," King says. "But sugar also empties from the stomach very quickly ... It's one of the first things that goes into the intestines, which can cause cramping." She says this could explain why after eating a sugary pastry or a cup of soda, you may feel extra gassy and experience cramping sensations.

We’ve all been there: You’re wearing your favorite pants, skirt or dress, you eat, and suddenly you feel as if your clothes don’t quite fit anymore. You probably already know that pouring on the salt makes your belly puff up (salt is notorious for causing water retention). Ditto for certain foods that are prone to causing gas, like broccoli, Brussels sprouts and beans. But you may not know about these other sneaky culprits.

Frozen Dinners and Processed Foods This includes canned soups and vegetables, bottled salad dressings, condiments and sauces, which are usually pretty high in salt. Check out the sodium content on all packaged foods you buy, and consider how it fits into the guideline of 2,300 mg per day (1,500 mg for all people 50-plus, and for anyone with diabetes or high blood pressure, as well as all African-Americans, who are at high risk for hypertension). If the amount is sky-high (800 mg or more for frozen entrées), consider lower-sodium and salt-free alternatives. A few I always recommend: soy sauce (Kikkoman low-sodium mixed with water, since their low-sodium version is still salty), ketchup (Westbrae, Heinz No Salt Added), soup (Amy’s Light in Sodium, Health Valley, Campbell’s No Salt Added), canned tomatoes (Muir Glen Organic, Eden Organic, Del Monte, Hunt’s) and vegetable juice (V8 and Campbell’s both offer low-sodium versions). Be sure to drink more water when eating salty foods to help flush out the sodium. Photo: Shutterstock

Pasta and Other Carbohydrates Every carbohydrate that your body stores attracts three times as much water as protein does. If you’re bloated after eating a big bowl of pasta, cereal, rice or other grains, cut back on the serving size next time and add more protein to it. (For example, eat chicken or salmon along with the pasta.) Protein is more satisfying, so you’ll still feel full even though you’re cutting back on starchy foods.

Sugar-Free Desserts Foods that have been sweetened with sugar alcohols such as mannitol, maltitol and sorbitol can cause gas (and bloating) because these alcohols are hard for your body to digest. Check the ingredients of foods labeled low sugar or sugar-free, as they often contain these sugar alcohols. Other sugar substitutes—like aspartame (Equal Classic), sucralose (Splenda) and stevia—are not usually problematic, since they’re digested more easily.

Vegetables • Broccoli • Brussels sprouts • Cabbage • Cauliflower • Collard, turnip and mustard greens • Kale• Onions

Legumes • Beans (red, pinto, kidney, etc.) • Lentils• Peas

Whole grains • Barley • Oats• Wheat (pasta, bread, cereal)

Sweets • Fructose (granulated sugar, honey, high-fructose corn syrup, agave syrup)• Sugar alcohols (sorbitol, maltitol, mannitol; used in sugar-free gum, various nutrition bars, and many diet/sugar-free candies, cakes and cookies.

Fiber Supplements & Added Fibers • Inulin (found in Fibersure)• Psyllium (found in fiber supplements such as Metamucil, Konsyl)

Calcium Supplement The citrate form (e.g., Citracal) may be less likely to cause gas and constipation than the calcium carbonate form (e.g., Tums, Caltrate), perhaps because it’s easier for some people to digest.

Eating Habits Using a straw, chewing gum, having carbonated drinks, talking while eating, and eating too quickly can all cause you to swallow more air, which can lead to gas and bloating. Try eating more mindfully by putting down your fork between bites so you’ll chew more thoroughly and eat more slowly.

Deflation Devices

The best way to figure out what’s causing bloating: Write down everything you eat and drink and whether or not you feel discomfort afterward. That said, you don’t have to totally avoid bloat-causing foods if you follow a few guidelines:

• Eat vegetables cooked instead of raw. Cooking helps break down some of the fiber so your body doesn’t have to work as hard to digest it. Photo: Shutterstock

• Don’t combine high-gas foods with high-fat foods. For example, eat a beef or chicken taco without the beans and cheese.

• When you’re feeling bloated, try limiting serving sizes of gas-producing foods to no more than 1 cup total per day.

• Go easy on starchy beans, including kidney, black and pinto beans, chickpeas and edamame (green beans are fine).

• Exercise at least 30 minutes a day. This helps keep your digestive system functioning smoothly and cuts down on the production of gas.

• Eat slowly and chew your food thoroughly.

If you feel bloated and/or gassy

• Try drinking ginger, peppermint or fennel tea, or taking one of these herbs in supplement form. They help dispel gas and calm your digestive system.

• Take a walk. Your instinct may be to sit or lie down until the discomfort passes, but moving around helps move the gas through your system.

• Drink a glass (or two) of water. Water is a diuretic, so it will help you flush out excess salt and keep things moving.

Supplements that can help

• Beano contains an enzyme that can help you digest the complex carbohydrates in vegetables, legumes and grains before they’re broken down in your large intestine, where they’re more likely to cause gas. Beano works if you take it immediately before eating potentially gassy foods.

• Probiotics (Culturelle, Align, VSL#3) contain “good” bacteria that may help maintain a healthy balance in your digestive system to prevent and/or reduce gas. Many yogurts contain probiotics, but they also contain lactose and sugar—both of which can cause bloating. Try taking probiotics in supplement form daily to see if they help.

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