We’ve all had those days. You wake up in the morning with a perfectly flat stomach, and by night you look like you’re well into your third trimester. How did your stomach manage to grow in eight hours what typically takes pregnant women eight months to do? Chances are the foods you eat are causing this severe bloating. Before you go onto WebMD and diagnose yourself with a gluten, dairy, soy, peanut, and shellfish allergy, take a moment to think if you’ve eaten any of these foods below.
1. Cruciferous Vegetables
These are more commonly known as vegetables like broccoli, kale, cauliflower, cabbage, brussel sprouts, or arugula. I mean, how unfair is this?! We try so hard to listen to our parents and eat our greens, but still end up looking like a beached whale. This is because these vegetables contain raffinose, a sugar that causes the body to produce gas and in turn balloon you up. Instead, opt for veggies like carrots, cucumbers and squash.
An apple a day does not keep the bloat away. Due to its high fructose and sorbitol content, which are sugars that many people cannot tolerate, apples are another healthy food that may be causing you some serious stomach pain. Instead of apples, opt for bananas or berries.
3. Canned Soup
While it’s great for when you’re feeling sick or lazy, canned soup contains a lot of sodium that triggers water retention and causes your stomach, face, feet, and hands to swell up. Instead, when you’re feeling sick and need something warm, opt for some hot tea.
4. Protein Bars
I, too have fallen victim to the protein bar trend. They’re so convenient to grab-and-go! Unfortunately, these bars get most of their protein from an ingredient called protein isolate, which is derived from soybeans, a common gas-inducing culprit. Instead, cut up some hard-boiled eggs for a protein boost that’s just as easy to pack up and take with you.
Yogurt is constantly praised for its gut-friendly probiotics. However, it may be causing you more harm than good. The fact that yogurt is a form of dairy, and thus contains lactose, causes the body to create gas bubbles. Additionally, yogurt is notorious for its high sugar content, which also works as a belly bloat offender. Instead, opt for over the counter probiotics pills to reap the same benefits without the bloating.
6. Chewing Gum
Chewing gum signals to the stomach that food is coming and will need to be digested soon. In turn, the stomach produces acids to digest said food. If no food is digested into the acids, they remain in the stomach and cause bloating, along with the air swallowed through chewing. When you need some fresh breath, pop a mint!
This refreshing fruit is, unsurprisingly, filled with lots of sugars: most notably, fructose. Many people cannot digest such high amounts of fructose, and that results in some unwanted bloating. Opt for berries as a sweet treat instead of gas-inducing watermelon.
With its high amounts of fat, salt, grease, and dairy, pizza is the ultimate bloater. If you just don’t have it in you to break up with this beloved Italian meal, opt for pizza with a cauliflower crust, or lactose-free cheese.
Corn contains a type of carbohydrate that makes it very difficult to digest which results in… you guessed it. While corn may be hard to avoid because it is in just about everything we eat, try to reduce your intake or soak it in water before eating to make it easier to digest.
10. Carbonated beverages
Whether its soda, seltzer, diet, sugar free, or zero calories, in the eyes of belly bloating they’re all the same. This is due to the bubbles (which make up the carbonation) getting trapped in the stomach. To curb your sugar craving, drink some Propel or lemon with water.
11. Dried Fruit
While dried fruit goes great in a trail mix or as a simple afternoon snack, the high amounts of fructose within makes it difficult for many people to absorb its nutrients. Skip out on the raisins and treat yourself with a little piece of chocolate.
12. Artificial Sweeteners
We love the idea of having our cake and eating it too – especially if it’s “sugar free” because of artificial sweeteners. However, what artificial sweeteners lack in calories they make up for in bloating. Our bodies cannot process this “fake sugar” within artificial sweeteners, and it causes our stomachs to stretch. Instead, try Stevia or Truvia for a natural sweetener.
Beans may be good for your heart, but no so much for your stomach. Beans contain indigestible sugars that cause these gaseous foods to bloat us right up and force gas out of weird places. Planning a night on the town? Skip the chili.
14. Nut Milks
Milk alternatives, such as soy or almond milk, may be a blessing for those that are lactose intolerant. However, the store bought versions add a thickening agent called carrageenan that is linked to ulcers, inflammation, and other gastrointestinal issues. Your best bet is to make homemade nut milks.
Jamie Foxx was right; you can definitely blame your bloated stomach on the alcohol. Seeing as alcohol is a depressant, the consumption of alcohol can slow down bodily functions like digestion and cause a more puffy and bloated stomach.
While cutting out these foods and drinks entirely may seem drastic, start with baby steps by reducing your intake of these bloat-inducing foods. There are ways for you to substitute your favorite foods without having to sacrifice your flat stomach, and it’s all about trial and error.