How To Reduce Stomach Bloating
We’ve all been there before – we’ve eaten way too many carbs, drank way too many fizzy drinks and we’ve blown up like a beach ball; we’re of course talking about the dreaded gastrointestinal ailment known as bloating. In this article, we’re taking a look at the common causes of bloating and are also offering some tips of how to avoid becoming bloated in the first place.
Bloating is typically a temporary stomach and intestinal ailment that can causes pain, discomfort and/or embarrassment due to the stomach swelling up from excess gas. When too much excess gas builds up inside your digestive tract, your stomach and intestines can literally start to inflate and swell, creating the illusion that you have a significantly bigger belly. The bloating can also cause pain and discomfort when the pressure builds up (i.e. the gas isn’t being released) – the stomach becomes puffy and stretched, which can impact on your stomach lining, leading to distress. If you’re a regularly sufferer of bloat you can take solace knowing that you’re not alone as one in five people regularly suffer from it.
The bloating feeling can be a passing pain and some people may just experience very rarely. However, some people may get bloated more regularly, and for them it is a much more pressing issue.
There are many reasons why bloating occurs and amongst them are a bad diet and over eating of certain foods. Over indulging on food and drink causes a wealth of problems on our body and health, and bloating is just one outcome.
To help you tackle the issue of bloating we have set out some of the root causes to outline why you might be in such discomfort. We have also put together ways to tackle bloating so you can start feeling normal and pain free again.
Vegetables that cause bloating
There are some food and drinks that are well known for causing wind and bloating. Beans and cruciferous vegetables are certainly the main offenders of bloating. The humble bean has long been associated with causing wind and it is a well-placed label. Other vegetables including onions, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, and sprouts can all cause wind and bloating. If you are being affected by bloating then you need to make sure that you are not over eating any of these foods and consumption of them should be limited to reduce the risks.
Drinking plenty of water can stop the bloating
The importance of getting enough water is underplayed and many people do not think about staying fully hydrated. Water is also great at keeping your body regular and flushing waste out of your system, and this is particularly useful when you’re constipated. Constipation is also a key cause of bloating, especially in pregnant women and new mothers.
So it’s imperative that you are drinking enough water and keeping the amount of fluids in your body high. You can also get a lot of water from fruit and vegetable, which is one more reason to be getting you 5-a-day.
Keep your mouthfuls sensible
One of the biggest causes of bloating is taking on too much air when you eat. This comes from eating too quickly, talking while you’re eating, eating while you’re on the move, or even drinking too much fizzy drink. Basic steps to tackle these issues include eating slower, taking more bites of your food, and limiting the amount of carbonated drinks that you have. Remember, you’ll thank us in the long run when you’re avoiding that bloated feeling.
Check your medication
You might be taking medication for a range of mental or physical problems and these products can have side effects. Many over-the-counter drugs including calcium supplements, iron pills, and antidepressants can cause bloating and constipation. Side effects from these drugs are more likely if you have just started to take them so it is possible that these problems will subside with time. Check with your doctor if you’re in too much pain and they will be able to advise on what best to do.
Be wary of your dairy intake
For some people dairy can have a negative impact on them and in severe cases there are people who are just completely allergic. However, it might be that you are suffering with excess gas from the amount of milk, yoghurt, or other dairy products that you are consuming. To tackle this you need to reduce the amount of dairy in your diet and then build it up again over time. You can also take lactase enzymes before you eat dairy and this will help your body digest it easier. You might also consider removing dairy from your diet and replacing it with dairy substitutes. There are a growing number of products available for you in shops so it won’t be difficult to adapt.
Get plenty of fiber in you
Fiber is very good for you and having plenty in your diet is key to maintain a healthy and productive body. Fiber is also a good ally when combating your bloating and constipation issues. It prevents constipation by adding bulk and helping everything move through the intestines smoothly. Start your day with a fiber laden breakfast so you will be better prepared for the day and less likely to get bloated.
Check out our previous article on fiber and have a look at the foods that you should be getting more of in your diet.
Increase your intake of potassium
Like fiber, potassium can help with bloating so you need to be mindful that you are getting enough in your daily diet. Foods that are rich in potassium, like citrus, fruit, tomatoes, and asparagus are all full of the stuff so get plenty of them in you to help prevent, or ease bloating.
Have some tea
Enjoying a hot drink has become part of most people’s daily routine and getting a cup of tea or coffee down you can help your body and wellbeing in a number of ways. Drinks like peppermint tea and green tea are full of beneficial properties and they can also help with bloating and stomach pain. Just make sure that you don’t pile your drink with milk and sugar, as that will have the opposite effect.
Get yourself moving more
People that are more sedentary are also more likely to suffer with problems like bloating. Exercise, which might just be a brisk stroll, can help gas pass through the digestive tract and having you feeling less bloated in no time.
Common causes of bloating
If you are suffering with bloating then it can also be caused to a more specific issue including the following:
- Food intolerance
- Coeliac disease
- Irritable bowel syndrome
Bloating can be caused from an intolerance to the food you’re eating
The main offenders of food intolerances are wheat, gluten, and dairy products. If you haven’t already assessed if you are intolerant to one of these groups you need to make that a priority. Intolerances can range in severity so it is plausible that you have managed to go undiagnosed.
When you discover which food group you are intolerant to, that food needs to be cut out completely. You can sometimes work out which food group it is by keeping a food diary of what you are consuming and how you’re being affected by each meal you have. It is always best to seek advice from your GP with intolerances and be wary of cutting out foods altogether as you may become deficient in certain nutrients.
Coeliac disease has grown in prominence in recent years and the number of people living on a gluten-free diet is growing on an almost weekly basis. However, coeliac disease is not just a diet choice and can be extremely dangerous if left undiagnosed. It is a digestive condition where the intestine cannot absorb gluten, which can be found in barley, wheat, and rye.
If your issues with bloating are running alongside further problems like fatigue, abdominal pain, and diarrhoea, then it might be that you are suffering with coeliac disease.
You might have thought that bloating was a trivial issue, but hopefully we’ve brought some foundations to what can be a frustrating and painful problem. Even if you don’t already suffer with it, it’s worth noting the causes as you can help tackle every getting bloated yourself too.
We’ve listed some of the main reasons that you will be being affected by bloating so if you have any underlying issues then you need to take them into account too. Remember, diseases like Coeliac can lead to other serious issues if not identified so you should always seek advice from your GP if the problem persists.