Q:I eat healthily, but tend to get bloated after meals. It is painful and embarrassing. How can I reduce bloating? Is activated charcoal safe?
Sorry to hear about your discomfort luckyclover678. For those of us with sensitive bellies, even typical healthy foods can make us feel uncomfortable. Take broccoli for example, a treasure trove of antioxidants and nutrients. However, if undercooked and consumed in large quantities, can cause bloating and flatulence. I would suggest keeping a food diary for about a week and noting when you feel bloated. Which foods and or meals make you feel uncomfortable. This will help you keep track and rule out certain foods. I mentioned the following tips in a previous post about maintaining a flat belly, which you may find helpful.
As with any supplement it is best to speak with your healthcare provider before trying any, including activated charcoal. Taking charcoal may turn your stools dark. Other side effects may include nausea and vomiting. Do not take more than the recommended amount. Some individuals may find relief after taking charcoal but i would consult with your healthcare provider first.
Here are my suggestions:
Maintain regular bowel movements. Constipation can cause bloating, excess gas and bloating. Therefore, make sure you stay hydrated and aim for about 8 glasses of water daily, consume adequate fiber ~25 g for women, ~37-38 for men, and exercise for at least 30 minutes most days of the week.
2. In addition to limiting added sugars, avoid sugar-free foods that contain sugar alcohols. these sugar alcohols (anything ending in "ol' like sorbitol, xylitol are like laxatives, and often cause bloating and gas. Not what you what for a flat belly..
3. Chew your foods slowly. Eating too fast can cause indigestion and bloating so don't ever wait until you are starving. That may cause you to inhale your food without thinking twice. Hunger is healthy but waiting until you can swallow the entire fridge is not the best idea.
4. Watch out for food intolerances and allergies. For example, if you are lactose-intolerant, dairy can make you feel bloating and cause intestinal discomfort. If you think you may have intolerances and/or allergies you may want to speak with your physician.
5. Take it easy on the alcohol, which in excess can cause water retention and make you look a bit swollen and feel bloated.
6. Sometimes carbonated rinks like seltzer can trap gas in your intestines so enjoy flat, filtered water instead.
7. Certain foods like cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts), and beans can cause gas. If that is the case, then try to eat small amounts of these foods that are cooked thoroughly. They are super nutritious so try to incorporate them into your meals, but slowly.
8. Limit sodium as it can make the body retain water, and make you feel bloated.
9. I will also add to wait 2-3 hours after a meal before consuming raw fruit, as this may cause bloating.
Tips to Prevent Bloating