Most people know that you’re not going to feel particularly svelte after tucking into a burger and fries. But a greasy meal is just one of the many things that make you bloated. Things like stress and certain healthy foods can cause bloat too. (This feels unfair if you ask me. Shouldn’t your body reward you for eating kale and broccoli?)
So you have to watch what you eat in order to keep your stomach happy. That isn’t exactly a surprise. However, not all the causes of bloating are food based. Hormonal fluctuations, medications, and even dehydration may contribute to that horrible feeling in your lower abdomen as well. So even if you’re eating well and trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle, there are still a number of pesky factors that can cause that uncomfortable, semi-nauseous feeling in your stomach. Apparently, stomachs can be pretty sensitive to all sorts of things.
To help you avoid that nasty feeling as much as possible, here is a list of some surprising things that may make you bloated, along with general advice to help your stomach maintain its chill. Because who has time for abdominal discomfort? No one, that’s who.
1. Cruciferous Vegetables
Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, kale, and collard greens, contain a complex sugar known as raffinose that can cause bloating from excess gas in your intestines. “The bacteria that live in our guts love these," Toby Smithson, a registered dietitian and spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics told Everyday Health. “The bacteria produce nitrogen gas, which we release as flatulence." To cut down on gas and bloat, Smithson suggested eating smaller portions and increasing your water intake.
Too little liquid can also lead to bloating. Nutritional therapist Marilyn Glenville told Good Housekeeping that if you don’t get enough water, your body will hold on to more fluid, making you bloated. The solution: drink up!
3. Diet Soda
There’s a whole host of reasons to avoid diet soda, and bloat is one of them. Not only does carbon dioxide lead to bloat, but Web MD noted that artificial sugars (like those found in diet pop) can’t be digested, which leads to stomach issues. If you really can’t resist some soda, then drink in moderation.
4. Eating Too Fast
Trying to beat the clock while downing your lunch could lead to some regrets. According to the Mayo Clinic, you may swallow air when eating too fast, which can lead to bloating.
5. Hormonal Fluctuations
So anyone who’s dealt with PMS is side-eyeing me right now, ready to say: This is not news. But it turns out that the early stages of pregnancy can also cause bloat thanks to the hormone progesterone, which makes your digestion process slow down. And even changes to your birth control pill may lead to bloating. So basically any adult woman may have to deal with hormonal bloat. Thanks, hormones.
If you are lactose intolerant, you may experience bloating because of your body’s inability to break down the lactose sugar found in dairy products. Fortunately, the non-dairy milk market offers an array of tasty alternatives.