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15 things you should never eat or drink if you want a flat stomach

woman in bikini

  • Stomach bloating is natural, but certain foods are more likely to cause it than others.
  • Examples include lentils, beans, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, onions, dairy, apples, and grains.
  • Many of these foods have nutrients that our bodies can't digest, so they're instead fermented by bacteria, which can lead to gas and bloating.

 

Stomach bloating is unfortunately a normal and natural part of life.

But some foods cause more bloat than others.

That's because many of these foods contain nutrients that our bodies can't digest, like lactose, a natural sugar that's found in dairy.

FODMAPs are another example. These short-chain carbohydrates can't be digested by the small intestine, so instead they end up in the large intestine, which is where they're fermented by bacteria. This fermentation process causes gas and bloating.

While not eating or drinking the foods and beverages listed below won't help you lose weight or get washboard abs, it will help you avoid bloating, and will thus have you looking leaner.

SEE ALSO: 14 foods you can eat as much of as you want and not gain weight

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Dairy

Dairy products like cheese and milk can cause digestion issues — especially if you're lactose intolerant or sensitive. Lactose is a natural sugar that's found in dairy products, and those who are lactose intolerant don't have the enzymes needed to break down this sugar.

Luckily, there are plenty of dairy substitutes out there, like soy or almond milk, which are ideal for those who are lactose intolerant or just looking to avoid dairy.



Cruciferous vegetables

Broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and kale all fall under the category of cruciferous vegetables. These foods are high in a number of nutrients like folate, vitamin C, and fiber. They're even thought to help prevent cancer.

But they also contain raffinose, a type of carbohydrate that our bodies can't break down because we lack a certain enzyme to do so. Instead, raffinose is fermented by bacteria, a primary cause of gas and bloating.

If you don't want to give up these vegetables, try roasting or steaming them to make them easier to digest.



Foods high in sodium

Most Americans consume more salt than the recommended daily amount. Our bodies' natural reaction to eating too much salt is to retain water, and when the body holds on to water, it bloats.

As a guideline, most healthy people should be capping their sodium intake at 2,300 mg per day. Those who have diabetes or high blood pressure, or who are over 50, should only be consuming 1,500 mg per day.

Packaged and processed foods, like canned soups, deli meats, and pre-made sauces, commonly contain large amounts of sodium.



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