Many people experience occasional bloating. This full feeling may come with an indulgence in food, digestive troubles, or the onset of a woman’s menstrual cycle. More people are reporting incidents of recurring bloating. Keep reading for some tips and tricks to beat the bloat and find that healthy you again.
What Is Bloating? What Are Some Signs Of Bloating As Compared To Other Digestion Issues?
Finding relief from bloating requires that you understand what it is – aside from a full feeling you get after you eat specific foods or consume carbonated drinks, that is. Bloating is the feeling of abdominal pressure or swelling of the stomach.1
The swelling felt is commonly caused by gas or a variation in the digestive system. Bloating is often confused with water retention. Though they are two different issues, they may have the same causes. Some causes of bloating include medical conditions, diet, and food intolerance – the latter two being the cause of most bloating sensations.2
Some common causes of bloating include:
- Food allergies
- Digestive issues
- Constipation and irritable bowel
- Swallowing air (eating too quickly)
- Excessive meals (eating too much)3
Signs It May Be Bloating
Many of the signs of bloating resemble those of other issues. But bloating has a few different signs than those experienced with other digestive complaints. Here are some symptoms which signal that it’s likely bloating as opposed to something more serious:
- Discomfort or swelling associated with meals or beverage consumption
- Distention that does not get worse over time
- Symptoms disappear in a day or two
- Excessive belching or flatulence4
However, it is essential to understand that these symptoms may signal an underlying condition. A visit with your health care provider will help you learn the precise cause of your discomfort.
What You’re Eating Matters: What Foods Can Lead To Stomach/Digestive Issues Like Bloating?
When you are experiencing bloating, your diet may be the culprit. Meals that contain high amounts of fat, sodium, sugar, and fermented foods cause excess gas. This excess gas may lead to digestive problems, including bloating. A change in diet that includes natural bacteria like prebiotics may help.5
Drinking water may also help, especially if you’re choosing it over carbonated drinks.
Foods To Avoid
There are a plethora of ingredients that often lead to bloating. The causes include food intolerance, allergies, or the basic composition of the foods. Here are some of the most common foods associated with bloating:
- Dairy products
- Certain sugar bases
- Gluten and wheat
- Fatty foods
- Brussels sprouts
- Sodium-rich items
- Processed foods
- Chewing gum
These foods are the most common causes of the bloated stomach many people experience. But there may be other reasons you feel bloated. Every person’s digestion is different. Finding what sets off your bloating will be vital to beating the bloat. Keeping track of your daily dietary intake is a start. Keeping a food diary can help you discover which meals trigger the bloating effect and which don’t.
Your Stomach And Digestion
Understanding your stomach’s digestion process may help you understand why your occasional bloating occurs. When you eat food or drink beverages, your body starts the process of digestion. This process begins with the chewing of your food. This step starts the release of the components your body needs.
As the food moves through your gastrointestinal tract (GI tract), good bacteria called digestive enzymes begin to break it down. This process allows your body to absorb the nutrients it needs from the food. The particles break down into proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals. These nutrients break down even further to ease the absorption process.
The next step in the process is to extract the necessities from these key nutrients. Proteins become essential amino acids. Fats become fatty acids and glycerol. Finally, carbohydrates change into simple sugar to fuel your body.6
The Bacteria In Your Gastrointestinal Tract Can Impact Your Overall Health
When people hear the word bacteria, they generally envision the germs that make them sick. These are bad bacteria; your body also contains good bacteria in the form of probiotics. They are a natural diuretic that helps to regulate the digestive process. The natural effect of these good bacteria aids in the reduction of constipation. Constipation or bowel obstruction often triggers a bloated feeling and pain. Combined with water, probiotics may reduce or eliminate this trigger.
Beat The Bloat
Increased water consumption and eating meals rich in healthy vegetables will go a long way toward decreasing bloating incidences. Diets like the low-fodmap diet and daily supplements that contain natural diuretics like prebiotics may also aid in the regulation of the digestion process.7 Research has shown that adding ginger into your diet protects against the bloating sensation.8
How To Tackle Bloating
Studies have shown different methods of reducing the bloating sensation that many endure. Some suggest the addition of peppermint oil to your routine decreases bloating from irritable bowel syndrome. Another recommends apple cider vinegar for reducing the gas that causes the bloat.9
Here are some other measures to consider to help you beat the bloat:
- Chew food completely
- Eat smaller meals
- Limit fermented and processed foods
- Avoid triggers
- Reduce swallowed air by limiting conversation during meals
- Sit up during meals
- Reduce sodium intake
- Reduce snacks containing sugar
Listen To Your Gut
While bloating is different for every person, the common causes are often the same. Relieve bloating by altering your diet, taking note of what you’re eating. Including prebiotics and drinking more water may promote a reduction in bloating symptoms. Finding foods that your body can process efficiently takes practice. Yet, finding a way back to a healthy gut is possible with a few steps to beat the bloat.
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