Admit it: we’ve all been there at some point or another, some of us more so than others. I can think of nothing worse than being in a quiet classroom or lecture hall, maybe everyone’s looking down concentrating hard on their exams, when suddenly in the middle of nowhere your stomach starts growling. Or maybe you’re sitting in a serious meeting with your bosses and your stomach decides that it wants to voice an opinion. For those of you who aren’t constantly on the receiving end of strange looks after weird stomach sounds, lucky you. However, for the rest of us unfortunate souls who have this kind of “situation” happening on more than one or two (or ten) occasions, here are some ways to help minimize your embarrassment and maximize your confidence.
1. Drink Lots of Water
The precautionary note here is that it takes a bit of time for water to travel down your system, which inadvertently could make some additional noise on top of your already growling stomach. But if you time it right, you shouldn’t hear either of those growls.
2. Eat a Decent Meal Beforehand
This one is a no brainer but what’s important is to take your time—there’s no need to stuff everything down your throat just because you’re afraid you’ll be hungry later. Eating slower has proven to both increase your metabolism and help with digesting food better. Check out this awesome list of things you can make using five ingredients or less. Whether it’s before a class, before a meeting or even before a first date you’ll want to fill your stomach up on something other than air and nerves.
3. Eat Regularly
On the other hand, it might just have something to do with your eating habits. Your stomach growling could either be a sign that your body is ready for your next meal even if mentally you’re not quite there yet. In cases like these, learn to eat every few hours. Three large meals a day may not be enough (and let’s be real, most college kids either skip breakfast or don’t wake up in time to even grab a granola bar, so that’s down one meal already). Instead, break down your day into periods of small meals: think interval training for a big upcoming marathon. Pack small things to eat on the go like dried fruit or granola bars and check out this list of the best snacks to nibble on during the day.
4. Drink Tea to Avoid Drinking Too Much Coffee
Sadly coffee increases acidity in your stomach and causes that disturbingly embarrassing noise. Now I’m not saying quit coffee for good. But tone it down perhaps? Other alternatives (like tea) would actually improve your metabolism as well and keep you (somewhat) awake. Check out this tea guide for more details.
5. Cut Down on Gas-Inducing Foods and Drinks
Believe or not cabbage, broccoli and beans are some of the most common causes of gas. Dairy products like cheese and whole grains such as whole wheat and bran should also be monitored carefully. In terms of drinks, alcohol is a big no-no, at least excessive consumption of it is. Too much partying can lead to too much burping, hiccupping and gas that causes your stomach to growl. Track your eating habits and see where you could cut back.
Did you know though that a growling stomach isn’t necessarily an indicator of a hungry stomach? Most likely it’s your intestines working. But the noise you’re hearing is best described by the Greek word “borborygmus” which is actually onomatopoeia for your stomach growling. Cool right? Perhaps not, if you keep attracting attention–and not the good kind either. If you want to find out more about this issue and the science of it all, take a look at this article.