Can’t get rid of that belly bloat no matter what you do?
Belly bloat isn’t always a sign you’re carrying around excess weight. If diet, crunches, and cardio aren’t doing the trick, look over these five causes of belly bloat. They may just give you the information you need to get the flat stomach you’ve always wanted.
#1: Low stomach acid can keep you feeling bloated
Low stomach acid, or hypochlorhydria , is one of the top-secret causes of belly bloat. Millions of people have very low stomach acid due to poor diet, poor soil quality, and excessive use of antibiotics. Symptoms of hypochlorhydria include a bloated belly, chronic flatulence, irregular bowel movements, nutritional deficiencies, and chronic illness.
If it seems as though your stomach never “goes down” after you eat a meal, your stomach acid may be too low. When stomach acid is low, your digestive system can’t effectively break down food to get nutrients to the rest of your body. The best treatment for low stomach acid is a hydrochloric acid supplement with betaine.
#2: Food intolerance can make you bloated
Food intolerance is another secret cause of belly bloat. Symptoms of gluten and lactose intolerance include abdominal cramping, bloating, flatulence, diarrhea, constipation, nausea, and vomiting. If you’re experiencing these symptoms, remove all traces of gluten and lactose products from your diet for 6-8 weeks and see if your health improves.
Even if you don’t have gluten intolerance, there is a new term out there you may have heard of called wheat belly. Doctors and other medical professionals are beginning to notice a striking correlation between wheat consumption and excess belly fat. Try cutting wheat from your diet and your belly could shrink in a week.
#3: Lack of sleep brings on bloat
It may have never occurred to you that lack of sleep could cause belly bloat but it can. Chronic sleep deprivation leads to elevated levels of a stress hormone called cortisol.
Cortisol is great when you’re in a fight-or-flight situation but terrible for you on a continual basis. Also, lack of sleep makes you crave high-carbohydrate snacks that you can’t seem to put down. That’s because sleep deprivation decreases leptin levels, the hormone your brain uses to tell your body when you’ve had enough to eat.
#4: Carbonated drinks can bloat your belly
Soda is terrible for you. It’s filled with artificial sugars like high fructose corn syrup and aspartame that pack on the pounds fast. Even if you’re only drinking seltzer water, any carbonated beverage causes gas to get trapped in your gut, which can make belly bloat much worse. Try swapping it out with tea or water more. You can even add some fruit slices to your water for a little added flavor.
#5: Late-night eating can cause bloat
If you’re a night owl, you’re more likely to eat late at night. This is another little-known cause of belly bloat. Digestive function is best in the middle of the day but natural enzymes and hormones get sluggish as the sun goes down. Eating before sleep means food is more likely to sit undigested in your gut, leaving you feeling tired and bloated in the morning.
More (and easy) changes can shrink belly bloat
Getting rid of belly bloat can be as simple as trading in your carbonated drinks for water and tea, adding a digestive supplement, and avoiding late-night snacks. If you are hungry at night, opt for a high-protein snack like a few pieces of cheese or a cup of Greek yogurt, but try to steer clear of processed carbs and sweets. Also, try eating smaller meals throughout the day to prevent sugar crashes and binge eating. And don’t forget to mix in some daily exercise to keep your digestive tract functioning even better. Before you know it, that bloated belly will be shrinking in no time.
Need more help getting your digestive system on track?
Talk to your local AlignLife Chiropractor to learn how chiropractic can help keep key body functions – like your digestive tract – functioning at their best!