Feeling bloated is no fun, and we’ve all been there. Whether it was an ice cream sundae bar or Chinese buffet, there’s been a time that we just ate too much and had to loosen the belt a few notches just to get some extra relief. Although bloating is sometimes caused by serious medical conditions, it is most often caused by the diet and some foods or ingredients you are intolerant to.

Overeating

When you think of bloating, Thanksgiving dinner is probably one of the first things that comes to mind. Overeating is probably the most common cause of bloating, and there are tips to help you manage your portion sizes.

Choosing a smaller plate can help you eat less in a sitting. Also, slowing down when you eat gives your body an easier time digesting the food, and it can tell your body that you’re full.

Enjoying a high-starch or high-sodium diet

Diets high in sodium can cause water retention, and foods high in starch can increase the amount of gaseous bloating.

Everyone is a little bit different, and what causes bloating in one person won’t always affect another person. It’s really just about learning what foods cause you discomfort and limiting them in your diet. Foods heavy in starches—such as beans, legumes and bread – can help you feel fuller longer, but they can also cause someone to feel bloated.

Drinking too much soda

Carbonated beverages, such as soda or sparkling water, are a common reason for bloating. The fizz in your favorite sodas (even diet ones) can cause gas to get trapped in your stomach, which can lead to bloating and belching.

Try limiting the amount of soda you drink and switch to a healthier alternative. Water with cucumber or lemon can offer a flavorful drink with your meal, and black tea can provide the caffeine kick you may need in the early afternoon. If you’re already feeling bloated, peppermint tea is a common remedy that can be used to help reduce the discomfort.

Salt

Your body needs this, but most of us get more than we need. It makes you hold on to — or retain — water and can cause more serious health problems like high blood pressure. And it’s not just the saltshaker you should avoid: If you’re like many Americans, most of your salt comes from prepackaged and fast foods. Check food labels for salt (sodium) levels and remember: Just because you don’t taste it doesn’t mean it’s not there.

Eating Too Fast

The faster you eat, the more air you swallow. And like with bubbly drinks, once that air passes to your intestine, it can make you feel bloated. It can take 20 minutes for your stomach to tell your brain you’re full, so you can eat enough to make yourself bloated and uncomfortable before your brain gets the message.

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