The 1 Tip For Banishing Belly Bloat You’ve Never Heard Of

Bloated bellies happen to the best of us. Whether you’ve indulged too much on a vacation, eaten too many of the wrong foods, or you can’t kick your soda habit, you’ve probably dealt with an uncomfortably distended belly more times than you would have liked.

If you eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly, drink plenty of water and you still can’t zip up your pants, the culprit may be something else entirely. You may have to try some tricks you’ve never heard of to banish belly bloat fast.

Start with your diet

Couple with dog and pizza

What you eat for dinner can be the cause of your bloat. | Katie_Martynova/iStock/Getty Images

When you first notice your belly bloat, think back to the foods you’ve been eating. Certain foods — even healthy ones — can contribute to that pooch. Dairy products, fruits, and artificial sweeteners are big offenders, and so is the delicious but sodium-rich pizza. Since every body is different, you never know which foods will affect you, so pay attention to what you’re eating.

But knowing what to eat and what not to eat is only half the battle. fact, paying attention to the way you chew could make a huge difference. The reason for your bloated belly might not be the food you’re eating, but the way you’re eating it.

The 1 little-known tip? Stay away from gum

woman putting pink chewing gum into her mouth.

All that chewing can cause bloating. | iStock.com/nyul

Speaking of chewing… it may be tempting to pop a piece of gum in your mouth after a meal, but chewing gum can actually cause gastrointestinal problems. When you chew gum, you send your body physical signals that food is about to enter your body. The enzymes that are activated when you chew gum are released, but without the food they’re intended to digest, which causes bloating and an overproduction of stomach acid. Plus, you may end up swallowing extra air.

Slow down

happy young people laugh and chat at dinner table

Slow down when you eat. | iStock.com/Milkos

If you’re like most people, you gulp your food down at a rapid pace, especially when you’re hungry. But by doing this, you’re swallowing a bunch of gas-producing air, which causes your belly to balloon up. Also, by not chewing thoroughly, large food pieces will sit in your gut, waiting to be fully digested.

How to eat mindfully

Teenager girl with remote control laying down

Cut out all the distractions so you can focus on your food. | iStock.com/Manaemedia

If you’re doing everything “right” and you’re still bloated, you may simply need to slow down and eat more mindfully. In addition to eating more slowly and chewing more thoroughly, try silencing your TV and devices and focusing fully on your meal. Pay attention to the flavors of your food and savor every bite.

Skip the straws, too

funny girl drinking trough a straw

Try to avoid drinking from a straw when you can. | iStock.com/nicoletaionescu

Chewing gum, eating too quickly, drinking through straws … are you noticing a pattern? The issue here is extra air getting ingested, and when you drink through a straw, you’ll slurp air before the liquid. If you’re worried about bloating, go straw-free.

Focus on beating the bloat for good

Warm lemon water

Get rid of the bloat for good. | iStock.com

It’s tempting to try to use “quick fixes” to flatten your belly before a major event or a vacation, but it’s much easier (and healthier) to make permanent changes to beat bloat once and for all. Keeping extra air out is the first and most important step. Drinking warm lemon water in the morning and cutting back on sodium are also great for your body, especially your belly.

When to see a doctor

Doctor and patient

Seeing a doctor may be best. | daizuoxin/iStock/Getty Images

Of course, sometimes belly bloat is a medical issue rather than a dietary one. If the bloating comes on suddenly and is accompanied by severe abdominal pain, see a doctor — you could have a bowel obstruction. And if your belly bloat lingers no matter what you do, you should get tested for IBS or another chronic condition.

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