Banish the bloat

Admit it. We have all been there. You ate your favorite food and hours later you are unbuttoning your pants to expel the pressure on your stomach. You feel like Violet in “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” At least twice your size. And don’t even forget about the painful gas.

Yes, my friend. You were just hit with the bloat. I promise, you do not need to add an elastic extender in your pants to be able to enjoy your favorite foods.

Any food that has a high salt content is usually the culprit for your impending bloat. And the worst offenders are processed foods. The easiest way to avoid this is to cut out processed foods and make meals from scratch. The best part about making food from scratch? It tastes so much better. But for the serious side, when you make food from scratch you control the salt intake. This is a great tip, especially if you have different salt preferences in your family.

But if you are not skilled in the kitchen, become an expert on reading labels. The most sodium you should intake is 2,300 mg a day. And that is even less for those who are older than 50 or anyone who has diabetes or high blood pressure. The worst offenders are canned soups and frozen meals.

Carbs are also conducive to bloat. The starchy foods like pasta and rice are magnets to extra water in your body. A quick way to remedy that? Amp up your protein. No, no, pasta lovers. That does not mean you have to ditch your favorite noodle. But by increasing your protein intake will keep you full longer and decrease the carbs in every meal, therefore decreasing your overall bloat.

While sugar free is all the rage these days, it is actually another culprit of causing bloat. These fake sweeteners that do not contain actual sugars actually create more bloat, and sadly more gas, than the natural kind. Fake sweeteners are made with sugar alcohols. So read up on you labels to banish artificially sweetened induced bloat.

Thankfully, you can prevent bloat. If you are eating salty foods, increase your water intake to literally water down the concentration of salt. If you notice you are particularly bloated after eating a certain food item, limit your intake to one cup a day. If milk or dairy is the cause, take a OTC supplement like Lactaid to help equalize the acid in your stomach.

But if you cannot banish the bloat on your own, you might need some extra help. This warrants a visit to the doctor. You might have an intestinal or digestion problem. Worried about crazy rising health care costs? Enter in your ZIP code in the box above to get plans for low cost health insurance coverage in your area. With rates like those you will have no excuse not to visit your doctor. And if you are thinking about changing your middle name to Bloating-ton, you really need to visit your M.D. STAT. It could lead to or be a precursor to bigger problems.