Sometimes a good meal can make you feel awful. If your belly feels disagreeably full, you’re more than a little bit gassy, and you can barely button your jeans, you’re probably bloated. This uncomfortable feeling can happen when the food we eat produces more gas than our digestive system can handle. Thankfully, there are strategies we can use to reduce the likelihood of the post-meal belly blues.
1. Don’t overindulge. Health pro Bryce Wylde suggests following a Japanese practice called “Hari Hachu Bu”, or eating until you are 80 percent satisfied. “You don’t need to eat until you’re full,” he told San Antonio viewers. Instead, eat until you are no longer hungry, and then check with your body to see if you require more food.
2. Pay attention to FODMAPs. Researchers from Monash University have coined the term FODMAPs for a collection of digestive troublemakers. “FODMAP is an acronym,” explained Wylde, “for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols.” FODMAPs are found in many good-for-you foods such as apples, milk, garlic and cauliflower. They may cause digestive discomfort, especially for people who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome. If you’re struggling with bloat, ask a healthcare provider about a low-FODMAP diet. “It’s helped many of my patients,” said Wylde.
3. Feed your gut bacteria. Bloating may be caused by an imbalance of gut bacteria. Boosting your good guys with cultured yogurt, kefir and probiotic supplements can be helpful, but they may do an even better job when partnered with prebiotic fiber. “We need to feed the good bacteria,” explained Wylde. Prebiotic fiber is found in foods such as jicama, Jerusalem artichokes, onions and asparagus. There’s also 5 grams of prebiotic soluble fiber – as well as 8 billion CFU of clinically tested Bifidobacterium lactis – in Regular Girl. Bonus: The fiber in Regular Girl, Sunfiber, is gentle on your belly. It won’t cause the excess gas or bloating that is sometimes associated with fiber-rich foods.
4. Avoid straws and chewing gum. “This will just cause you to swallow gas,” explained Wylde. Carbonated beverages can also introduce gas into your digestive system, causing uncomfortable bloating and belching. Pro tip: Carry a water bottle with you, along with some Regular Girl stick packs. It’s the easy way to get your daily Regular Girl.
5. Take mealtime slow. Sit down when you eat and chew your food thoroughly. Try to make mealtime a relaxing and non-rushed event. Your digestive system may shut down when stressed, so taking the time to enjoy a leisurely meal may help make your belly a bloat-free zone.