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7 common causes of bloating and indigestion that everyone should avoid

Bloating and indigestion aren't limited to barbecues and holiday feasts. One in ten Americans say they suffer from bloating regularly.  The problem with bloating is that people usually don't understand what foods cause bloating nor do many know that how food is consumed can impact bloating. In fact, it's not all fatty heavy foods that cause bloating, and that's what people need to look out for.

So what causes bloating and indigestion?

There are 7 common causes for bloating and indigestion which many of us experience often. These causes range from how we eat, to what we eat.

1. Eating foods rich in fat. Fat takes longer to digest than protein or carbohydrates, so it keeps the stomach full longer.

2. Eating too much is one of the biggest causes of bloating.

3. Drinking carbonated beverages or drinking air through straw. About half of gas in the digestive system is swallowed air which can cause serious bloating.

4. Not drinking enough fluids/water: Nutritionist Joanne L. Slavin, PhD, RD explained that, “All fiber absorbs water.” Drinking liquids helps fiber move through the digestive system and prevents bloating and constipation.

5. Eating too quickly can  lead to overeating. Satiety signals can take up to 20 minutes to reach the brain and dampen appetite so it's important to eat at a slower pace to prevent overindulging.

6. Eating gas-producing foods, which include:

- Beans
- Broccoli
- Brussels sprouts
- Cabbage
- Carbonated drinks,
- Cauliflower
- Chewing gum
- Fruits such as apples, peaches and pears
- Hard candy
- Lettuce
- Milk and milk products
- Onions
- Sugar
- Alcohols found in sugar-free foods (sorbitol, mannitol and xylitol)
- Whole-grain foods

7. Smoking: Smoking has been linked to not only bloating but heartburn and other digestive problems.

What can you do to prevent bloating and indigestion?

Reduce added gas by avoiding gum chewing, drinking carbonated beverages, sucking on hard candy, and drinking through a straw. All of these can cause the body to take air into the digestive tract where it causes bloating and discomfort.

Avoid the foods that affect you the most. Some of the examples above you might recognize as common culprits, so consider avoiding or cutting them out of your diet.

Eat fewer fatty foods. Fat slows digestion and gives the food more time to ferment.

Cut back on high-fiber foods for a temporary period. The Mayo Clinic explains that fiber aids digestion, but a lot of high fiber foods also create a lot of gas. They suggest giving yourself a break from fiber, and slowly reintroducing it back into your diet.

Eat more slowly. It will help you avoid taking in extra air to your gut, and prevent overeating.

Get active. Taking a walk after a meal may help with digestion.

Try an over-the-counter remedy. Some products such as Lactaid or Dairy Ease can help those who have trouble digesting lactose. On the other hand, products like Gas-x and Mylanta Gas just help break up bubbles in gas. Try something that contains alpha-D-galactosidase, which breaks down hard-to-digest sugars in beans and vegetables.

Talk to your doctor if bloating is regular and persistent because it could be a sign of another issue with your digestive system. Sometimes the bloating is caused by impaired muscle function, or blockage in the stomach.