Heavy eating over the winter months especially can sometimes leave you feeling bloated, distended and uncomfortable and you may notice problems like flatulence, abdominal pain and problems with constipation. Fortunately, there are natural and healthy ways to deal with this problem and get your digestion back on the track again.
While it may sound counter-intuitive to put more on your stomach when it already feels so full, hydrating is one of the best ways to rid yourself of bloat. Drinking extra water will help restore the sodium balance in your body, stimulate better digestion and prevent the discomfort of constipation. It is also better to avoid carbonated beverages at this time, as they can often increase your bloat.
Reduce Salt Intake
A diet that is high in salt will make you retain water and increase your feeling of being uncomfortably full. This can be hard to avoid if you eat mostly processed food or go out to restaurants frequently. So to help this, try to eat foods that are made at home and come from whole foods ingredients like fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean meat and dairy. This kind of diet will also improve digestion.
Skip Sugar Substitutes
Sugar substitutes like xylitol, sorbitol and others that are based on sugar alcohols are found in many “sugar free” products. While they are calorie free, they tend to be very difficult for your body to break down and thus can slow digestion and linger in the gut, with the result that you will get an increase in gas and bloating.
Reduce Dairy Intake
While it is an excellent source of calcium and other nutrients, dairy can also cause problems because of its lactose, a naturally-occuring milk sugar to which some 50 million Americans are intolerant. This means that they are not able to digest the lactose, and this causes gas and sometimes painful abdominal cramping. If dairy bothers you, consider alternatives like almond milk and similar products.
Increase Your Potassium Intake
A diet that is high in potassium stimulates the kidneys to rid the body of more sodium, so a high-potassium diet can help to reduce your feelings of being bloated and help shed any excess water weight you might be carrying around. Good potassium sources include fruits like melons, mangoes, and bananas and vegetables like tomatoes, potatoes and spinach.
Small is Better
Eating smaller, more frequent meals can also be a healthy way to relieve feelings of indigestion and gastric discomfort, as it puts less strain on your body to digest smaller amounts of food at a time. Try for 5 small meals throughout the day and you will be surprised at how much of that overstuffed feeling goes away.
Make sure that you chew your food well and take your time at your meal. This will help achieve a feeling of fullness and make it less likely that you will overeat. Also, when you eat quickly, more air tends to wind up in your stomach, adding to the bloating problem; eating slowly can help prevent this.
Bloat is no fun. Fortunately, there are several easy ways like the ones mentioned above to cut down on that overstuffed feeling and get your digestion back on track.
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