Health Care

How to Banish Belly Bloat in 3 Days
How to Banish Belly Bloat in 3 Days
3 months ago

How to Banish Belly Bloat in 3 Days

First, check in with your stomach.

A variety of foods can cause gut woes, so start by narrowing down the culprit, advises Paulo Pacheco, M.D., a gastroenterologist and clinical assistant professor at the NYU Langone Medical Center. First, see if you’re lactose intolerant. As you age, adults sometimes lose the ability to digest the natural sugar (lactose) found in dairy products. Eliminate milk, yogurt and cheese from your diet for seven to 14 days to see if you feel better. If cutting out dairy doesn’t help, consider avoiding “FODMAP” foods—those that have short-chain carbohydrates, which are the most difficult to digest. These include lactose products, along with wheat, rye, onions, legumes, and many fruits, such as apples and pears (visitmyginutrition.com for a full list). Gradually add back some foods after six weeks to figure out what’s creating distress. Still no relief? Ask your doctor about a simple breath test for SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth), which is when bacteria in the colon overpopulate in the small intestine.

Try to avoid surprising gas triggers.

Gas often leads to stomach discomfort, though the wind may not be coming from what you think, says Kelly Pritchett, Ph.D., RDN, an assistant professor of clinical nutrition at Central Washington University. Swallowing air, whether from chewing gum, drinking carbonated beverages, or sipping through a straw, can make you feel bloated. Sidestep these habits for a few days to see if you notice a difference. Energy bars with inulin (a carb often extracted from chicory root) can also be problematic. Ditto for insoluble fibers (the non-digestible parts of whole grains and raw produce) that expand in the colon, trapping air and causing pain until they pass through the lower GI tract. Whey protein and sugar alcohols like sorbitol, mannitol, and xylitol may cause issues, too, so check food labels. Just don’t completely shy away from fiber-rich foods that may cause gas (looking at you, broccoli and other cruciferous veggies); they do have health benefits.

And take time to soothe your mind.

Taking a moment to regain your calm may reduce symptoms of both inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and inflammatory bowel syndrome (IBS), which are two common causes of stomach pain, says Braden Kuo, M.D., the medical director for the Center for Neurointestinal Health at Massachusetts General Hospital and an assistant professor, Harvard Medical School. Stress plays a role in fueling inflammation, and consciously relaxing can spur your body to release certain chemicals that help counterbalance the response. Dr. Kuo’s research shows that people who suffered from one of the two conditions had fewer symptoms after nine weeks of practicing mindful relaxation. How to do it: Sit in a comfortable position with your eyes closed and loosen your muscles. Breathe quietly in and out through your nose. As you exhale, silently say a word like “calm” or “peace.” Continue for 10 minutes. It can help to set an alarm; start with one minute on the first day, and each day add another to work up to 10.

Then, follow this three-day eating plan.

This plan helps you cut back on foods that cause water retention and gas, and encourages you to drink plenty of water and incorporate herbs that fight that puffy feeling.

Day 1

Breakfast

yogurt

• Small container 0% fat plain Greek yogurt topped with 1/2 cup blueberries and 2 Tbsp chopped walnuts or almonds

• Peppermint tea and water

Lunch

• 3 oz fresh turkey breast, lettuce and tomato on 2 slices whole-grain bread (mustard and lowfat mayo optional)

• 1 banana

• Water

Dinner

• Tofu and veggie stir-fry: 4 oz cubed tofu, 2 cups mixed vegetables (zucchini, mushrooms, carrots, green beans), 1/2 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce and 1/2 Tbsp minced fresh ginger; 1 Tbsp olive or canola oil for stir-frying

• 1/2 cup brown rice

• Water

Snacks

• 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

• 1 oz dark chocolate

Day 2

Breakfast

• 4-egg-white omelet with sautéed mushrooms and tomatoes

• 1 slice whole-grain toast

• 1 cup fresh strawberries

• Ginger tea and water

Lunch

• 3/4 cup low-sodium cottage cheese (Friendship or Axelrod) over 1 cup fruit salad, topped with 1/2 cup whole-grain cereal such as Erewhon Crispy Brown Rice Cereal, Cheerios (plain or multigrain) or Kashi Heart to Heart

• Peppermint tea and water

Dinner

• 4 oz grilled wild salmon

• 1/2 cup steamed spinach

• 1 medium baked sweet potato

• Water

Snacks

• Small container 0% fat flavored Greek yogurt

• 1 oz walnuts

Day 3

Breakfast

• Egg sandwich: 1 toasted whole-grain English muffin with 1 scrambled egg and 1 Laughing Cow Light cheese wedge

• Tea (ginger, peppermint or fennel) and water

Lunch

• 1 can Amy’s Light in Sodium Minestrone soup

• 1 mini whole-wheat pita or 2 rice cakes

• 1 or 2 Hershey’s Special Dark chocolate minis

• Peppermint tea and water

Dinner

• 5 oz grilled chicken breast

• 1 cup cooked green beans

• 1/2 cup cooked wild rice

Snacks

• Small container nonfat or lowfat plain yogurt with 1/2 cup blueberries mixed in

• 3 Almondina biscuits

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