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Heart disease kills millions of Americans each year. It is the leading cause of death for both men and women. The most common heart disease in the United States is coronary artery disease (CAD), which leads to heart attacks. One way to reduce your risk of CAD is to make some lifestyle changes, such as healthy eating, stress management and physical activity.   Physical activity is an essential part of being heart healthy. The American Heart Association (AHA) says you need at least 150 minutes of moderate....

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unhealthy and unnatural organisms such as yeast and protozoa become overly prominent in the intestines and alter the body’s fundamental nutritional patterns. This imbalance hinders the growth of approximately 400 naturally occurring organisms in the stomach, which can cause bloating, indigestion, diarrhea, nausea, iron deficiency, stomach infections, fatigue and skin conditions.


In addition to seeing a doctor, address stomach bloating in the following ways:


Stay Hydrated.

When you don’t drink enough fluids, your body will automatically retain water to prevent dehydration. Maximize your fluid intake by drinking at least six 8-ounce glasses of water daily to remain hydrated and prevent water retention.


Eat High-Protein Meals.

High-protein meals can also reduce water retention and alleviate the symptoms of bloating because they promote the elimination of fluids through urine. This is especially true for women, who are more susceptible to bloating from water retention.


Reduce Carbs.

Indigestible carbohydrates known as FODMAPS drastically increase stomach bloating. FODMAPS are a collection of short-chain carbohydrates and sugar alcohols found in foods naturally or as food additives. Examples are fructose (when in excess of glucose), fructans, galactooligosaccharides (GOS) and lactose from dairy products and polyols (sorbitol and mannitol). Fructans are found in foods such as agave, artichokes, asparagus, leeks, garlic, onions and wheat. Bloating is a common symptom of irritable bowel syndrome, which affects an estimated 14 percent of people in the world, and FODMAPS exacerbate IBS symptoms. Reducing or modifying FODMAP carb intake can decrease bloating in anyone with or without IBS.

“Stubborn” belly fat can be the toughest to lose when you’re working off excess pounds. But sometimes it’s just chronic bloating, not abdominal fat.


It’s important to distinguish between fat and bloating because the latter can indicate of a variety of health problems. Addressing a “big belly” with the wrong approach could exacerbate the issue and/or symptoms. Some individuals may have chronic stomach bloating.


There are four factors to consider in order to determine whether a large belly is due to fat or bloating.


1. Is There Localized or Widespread Swelling?

Look at your stomach – is the swelling localized or does your body have bulges elsewhere? If it’s just your belly, it’s likely you’re just bloated. If there are bulges around the thighs, hips and buttocks, it’s more likely excess fat in the abdominal area rather than bloating.


2. Does It Feel Firm or Spongy?

Press the pronounced areas of swelling in the stomach area. In general, stomach fat feels spongy and malleable when pressure is applied, but bloating in the belly feels tight and firm. Try to pinch the stomach area; if you can grasp more than an inch it’s most likely excess fat.    

FAT TUMMY OR BLOATING?

ANGELA S. HOOVER

Angela is a staff writer for Health & Wellness magazine.

more articles by Angela s. hoover

3. Is It Constant or Intermittent?

The duration of the swelling tells a lot. Fat cells build up over time and are likely to remain constant. Conversely, bloating only occurs intermittently and as such the shape of your stomach may fluctuate throughout the course of the day.


4. Is the Swelling Painful?

Fat will not be accompanied by pain, but bloating can be. Excess gas is just one potential cause for bloating, and this can range from uncomfortable to painful.


If your assessment concluded you are dealing with belly fat (you may want to follow up with your primary care physician), there are three things you can do: Avoid refined sugar and simple carbs; eat more protein and fiber; and combine a better diet with exercise.


If you have concluded you have chronic stomach bloating, it’s important to determine its cause. It may indicate a serious health concern called dysbiosis, an imbalance between the good and bad bacteria in the stomach. With dysbiosis,