Belly Fat Be Gone: The Top Foods to Eat for a Flatter Tummy
When you're bloated, it can have a significant impact on your confidence and day to day activities. It may make wearing your normal clothes uncomfortable, reduce your motivation to socialise and lead to negative thoughts and feelings about yourself. So if you are feeling bloated regularly, it's easy to see why people might start to avoid normal activities like going out with friends and to work. Sometimes bloating can be so bad that it hurts. And since bloating can happen after eating and is around the area of your stomach, it is no wonder people look to food for a solution.
But before you make any changes to your diet, it is important to rule out medical causes for your bloating. Changes in bowel habits, like more bloating, can be signs of other health problems, and changing your food may hide these signs and make it take longer to get a diagnosis. Your doctor is the best person to talk to first because they can tell you what tests to do and what to do next.
Another thing to remember about your gut is that it is very closely linked to your brain and emotions through a dense collection of nerves. This means that regular worry can make your gut more sensitive to the normal gas your body makes when you eat. When you're worried about speaking in public or at a meeting, for example, you might feel your stomach turn or you must go to the bathroom quickly. So, you can imagine what would happen to your gut if you were stressed out all the time.
If your bloating isn't caused by a medical problem or made worse by worry, changing the way you eat might help. Bloating happens when gas builds up in your large intestines, which run from one side of your belly to the other in an upside-down U shape. We can't completely get rid of bloating because it's a normal part of digestion. But how much you bloat depends on how regularly you eat, how often you go to the bathroom, portion sizes and what you eat.
Below are 5 healthy habits for reducing the bloat and achieve a flatter stomach:
1. Keep regular: Going to the bathroom should be easy and not require any straining. However, for 1 in 4 Australians, constipation can cause painful bowel movements, bloating, and pain. Things to consider when trying to get more regular is your hydration. A simple way to see if you are dehydrated is the colour of your urine. Except for the first pee of the day, urine should be light and "straw-coloured." If it's darker than this, you need to drink more water. If you aren't drinking enough water, your body will pull more water from your stools (poo) as they move through your bowels. This makes them hard and harder to pass.
2. Gradually increase: Gradually increase your intake of plant foods and fibre. Fibre can help move food through your digestive system and can also pull water into your stool to keep it soft and give it some bulk. This keeps you regular and cuts down on the time food spends fermenting and making gas in your intestines.
A word of caution however, as increasing your fibre intake too quickly, can cause your gut to make more gas than you are ready for which will make you feel even more bloated. So it's important to slowly add more fibre to your diet. Start by eating more fruit and vegetables to meet the Australian recommendation of two servings of fruit and five servings of veggies every day. Then switch to whole grains that are high in fibre and then add beans and lentils so that you are incorporating them into your meals 3–4 times a week.
It is also worth noting, that if you are adding fibre but you are still constipated, please see your GP and consider a referral to a Accredited Practising Dietitian for personal dietary advice.
3. Eat regularly: Every time you eat, your bowels move the food along to make room for the next meal. This keeps things going along, lets the gas out, and helps keep the bowels regular. So, if you only eat one or two meals a day, it might be a good idea to try to spread your food out over three meals and one or two snacks in between. This doesn't mean you have to eat more, just that you should eat more small meals.
4. Eat smaller meals: While on the topic of smaller meals, when you feel bloated, it might just be because you ate until you were very or too full. Since the stomach is stretchy, it is easy to keep eating long after the hunger has gone. Most of the time, that stretch makes people feel full, but it could also be making you feel uncomfortable. What might be better suited to your needs is to eat smaller portions until you feel satisfied (before that feeling of stretchy fullness sets in). This will help to ease the feeling of having a full stomach or a stomach that is too tight. This might seem strange at first or make you worry that you'll be hungry again in an hour, but you might be surprised, especially if you eat meals with a good mix of protein, whole grains, veggies or fruit, and healthy fats. Try it out for a while and see if it makes you feel better.
5. Keep an eye on windy foods: There are some foods that are very good at creating gas. These are good for your gut in the long run, but if you are having trouble with bloating, you might want to avoid them for a while. When you feel better, try to slowly bring them back into your life. Here are a few windy foods to keep an eye on: Keep an eye on windy foods. There are some foods that are very good at creating gas. These are good for your gut in the long run, but if you are having trouble with bloating, you might want to avoid them for a while. When you feel better, try to slowly bring them back into your life.
Here are a few windy foods to keep an eye on: garlic, onion, watermelon, all bran, baked beans/legumes, snow peas, stone fruit, dried fruit.
In the long run, less bloating will happen if your gut is healthy. This can be done by eating small meals often that are full of different kinds of carbohydrates. This will also keep you going to the bathroom regularly. It can be tempting to cut out windy foods from your diet forever, but gas is a sign of a healthy gut. Find a way to keep your bowels moving so that gas doesn't build up, and bloating will be a thing of the past.