How To Reduce Stomach Bloating and Discomfort
Most people, at some point in time, have experienced stomach bloating and the discomfort that comes from having trapped gas in their gut. Although it’s generally a short-lived problem that will fix itself, it is a pretty common one that affects a large percentage of the population. However, for some people, it’s, unfortunately, a chronic problem that can greatly impact their quality of life. The good news is there are steps you can take to help alleviate discomfort and even reduce reoccurrence.
What You Can Do To Reduce Stomach Bloating And Discomfort
Because the digestive system is so complex, there’s rarely one quick fix answer to fix any issues. And to make matters even more difficult is the fact that something that bothers one person can be totally fine with another individual. The best thing to do is go through the steps below to see if you can identify the problem.
Identify What’s Causing Your Bloating
Bloating is caused by excess gas in the gut. This can happen by swallowing too much air or by food fermenting in the large intestine. Other common causes include:
- Swallowing extra air
- Food intolerances
- High-fat meals
- An increase of fluids in your bowels
- An imbalance in the gut’s microbiome
- Eating foods that ferment in the gut, like fiber and sugar alcohol.
Eliminate Or Limit Foods That Trigger Bloat
For many people, bloating occurs after eating certain foods. Even though a food may be deemed healthy, some individuals have a harder time digesting certain compounds. These compounds include insoluble and soluble fiber, sugar alcohols, raffinose, and fructose. Raffinose is a sugar that can be found in high amounts in cruciferous veggies like broccoli and cauliflower. These healthy veggies could be the cause of your woes. The good news is you don’t have to cut them out entirely. You just need to reduce the amount you eat till you find your individual threshold. Eating these veggies lightly cooked instead of raw can also be helpful.
Other foods that may cause bloating include:
- Vegetables: Brussels sprouts and cabbage
- Fruit: Apples, pears, peaches, and prunes
- Artificial sweeteners: Ingredients that end in the letters “-ol” like xylitol, erythritol, sorbitol, and mannitol
- Whole grains: Wheat and oats
- Legumes: Beans, lentils, and peas
Avoid Swallowing Excess Amounts of Air
Sipping on cold sparkling beverages, even the unsweetened sugar-free ones, is enjoyable. But they still come with an uncomfortable side effect. Swallowing all of those bubbles can cause belly bloat by adding air to the GI tract. Try replacing some of your sparkling water for a regular flat, and see if you have some improvement.
Support Regular Bathroom Habits
Constipation or infrequent bowel movements affects a lot of people around the world and is a big cause of bloating. The longer the nondigestible parts of food are in your colon, the more they are able to ferment.
If you suffer from infrequent bathroom visits, you can do a few things to help improve this:
- Increase your daily fiber intake
- Exercise daily
- Increase the amount of water you drink
Limit Salty Foods
If you eat a lot of salty foods or even just indulge in a single salty meal, this can leave you feeling puffy. This is because too much sodium will cause your kidneys to retain extra water. Luckily, this can easily be fixed by cutting back on the salt. This will allow the kidneys to flush out the extra water in your body.
Eat Smaller Portions
I think we all know what it feels like to overeat, leaving our stomachs looking and feeling much larger than normal. But you can prevent this by eating several small meals throughout the day instead of overeating once or twice a day.
Get Exercise Regularly
When I say regular exercise, I’m not talking about running a 10k every day. But regular physical activity, even if it’s just a short walk can help keep everything moving smoothly and reduce bloat. One reason is that exercise increases your heart and respiratory rates. This, in turn, increases blood flow to the gut, encouraging the bowel muscles to work harder.
Take Probiotic Supplements
Probiotics are microorganisms that provide many health benefits. By boosting the number and types of healthy bacteria in your gut, digestive issues like bloating can be improved. Probiotics can be found naturally in foods like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, and tempeh. They can also be taken in pill form. When starting new probiotics, you should stick to them for at least four weeks before determining if there is a positive effect.
There are many herbal teas that can help alleviate stomach bloating and the discomfort that comes with it. A few of my favorites are:
- Organic Gas Relief Chamomile Mint Herbal Tea
- Peppermint Delight Probiotic Organic Tea
- Organic Fennel Herbal Tea
The Bottom Line
Digestion is a complex issue, and there isn’t always a quick fix, an easy answer, or a one-size-fits-all approach. But there is good news. With a bit of patience, trial and error, and committing to a healthy lifestyle, you should be able to overcome the bloating issues you suffer from.