Decreasing Bloating and Why it Happens in the First Place
We’ve all been there—you wake up feeling lean as ever only to have a meal that causes you to bloat, big time. So, what gives, and what in the world can we do to decrease bloating?
In this article, we’ll tackle what bloating is, the cause of bloating, and some helpful bloating remedies to ease discomfort and help you feel better about your appearance, too.
What is Bloating?
In general, up to 30% of adults report regularly bloating, so it’s a common issue that you are likely familiar with—but what is it, exactly?
Bloating refers to the swollen feeling in your abdomen, often after eating. Usually, the cause of bloating can be attributed to extra gas buildup or disturbed muscle movements in the digestive tract.
Bloating can occur on a spectrum. On the mild side, you might feel a little bigger in the belly area. On the more extreme side, you might experience discomfort and even pain. In other cases, you might not appear bloated, but you feel a build-up of pressure inside—sometimes we call this feeling “stuffed.”
What’s the Cause of Bloating?
For some, the cause of bloating can be a serious medical condition that requires attention from your primary care physician. If you suspect this may be the case, don’t delay.
Some more severe causes of bloating are:
- liver disease
- Chron’s disease
- a blockage
However, in most people, the cause of bloating is as simple as the digestive tract filling with air or gas. This gas and air can develop because some foods produce more gas than others, and others, like dairy, are naturally more challenging to digest.
Other common causes of bloating are:
- swallowing air, which is common when chewing gum, smoking, or eating quickly
- eating too much
If you are getting bloated frequently, you are probably looking for helpful bloating remedies to get relief. Some temporary bloating is a normal part of the digestive process, but if you’re becoming painfully bloated all the time, it’s worth a visit to your doctor’s office. In the meantime, let’s talk about ways to decrease bloating.
How to Decrease Bloating
The following suggestions are proven bloating remedies, according to experts. Some bloating remedies are obvious, like avoiding foods that typically make you bloat. Other ways to decrease bloating involve common supplements you might not have considered, like digestive enzymes.
1. Avoid overeating and eating too fast.
Eating too fast often leads to swallowing air, which is a common cause of bloating. In addition, overeating can lead to feeling stuffed and bloated.
To solve this problem, ensure you’re eating small portions. Remember, you can always go back for seconds if you’re still hungry. Another tip is to try to chew your food more thoroughly. This can help you recognize fullness cues and avoid overeating while also preventing air from going down with your food.
2. Get tested for allergies and intolerances.
Bloating is one of the body’s natural responses to food intolerances and allergies. So, if you’re occasionally getting bloated and can link it to the period after eating a certain food, you can probably assume you are allergic or intolerant.
Otherwise, if you’re getting bloated every day, it could be a food you’re consuming daily.
Here are some common foods to consider:
- lactose and dairy
- gluten and wheat
3. Limit swallowing air and gas.
As we mentioned, chewing gum, smoking, and eating too quickly can all contribute to swallowing air, which then causes bloating. Therefore, limiting these activities is a simple bloating remedy, and we certainly recommend that you avoid doing all of them in one day.
Another offender for swallowing gas? Carbonated beverages like sodas and fizzy waters. The bubbles in carbonation are carbon dioxide, which is a gas that is then released into your stomach.
To remedy frequent bloating, quit smoking, eat slowly, and cut back on carbonated beverages.
4. Avoid foods that typically cause bloating or give you gas.
Unfortunately, many nutrient-dense foods can cause the production of a lot of excess gas.
Some well-known offenders are:
- beans and lentils
- cruciferous vegetables
- whole grains
- fatty foods
While these foods are generally considered healthy, you will have to weigh the pros and cons for you, personally, if you’re trying to decrease bloating.
5. Avoid sugar alcohols in “sugar-free” foods.
Sugar alcohols are safe alternatives to sugar and are popularly used in functional foods like protein bars, protein powders, and sugar-free candies. While they’re safe, large quantities can interact with the bacteria in the gut and produce excessive gas.
If you’re trying to decrease bloating, it might be best to avoid sugar alcohols altogether—science says they don’t really work in the ways they’re intended anyway.
6. Take digestive enzymes.
Supplements like digestive enzymes and probiotics are typically associated with a healthy digestive tract but not always with decreasing bloating. However, digestive enzymes can provide immediate relief from bloating because they help break down carbohydrates and fibres that aren’t normally digestible.
7. Avoid constipation.
Constipation is a common problem, much like bloating, and unfortunately, it can make bloating symptoms worse.
In many cases, people who struggle with constipation are told to eat more fibre, but fibre can actually make bloating worse. So, if you’re both constipated and bloated, it might be better to try to relieve your problems without consuming more fibre.
Instead, try drinking lots of water and introducing a probiotic supplement into your daily nutrition. Probiotics can be a bloating remedy in other ways, too, as they can help reduce gas production within the intestines.
Bloating is an annoying, uncomfortable, and sometimes painful condition that occurs in many people. After you’ve ruled out a serious health condition, there are many bloating remedies you can try to reduce occurrences. Digestive enzymes are an easy way to get relief, and probiotics effectively prevent the problem in the first place. Sometimes, it’s as simple as cutting back on certain foods and eating slower. You may need to play around to see which bloating remedies help, but rest assured, decreased bloat is possible!