Being bloated can cause people to feel uncomfortable and self-conscious. Bloating also leads to an increase in flatulence and burping, and this can cause embarrassment or uneasiness. Bloating is usually caused by accidentally ingesting air or by foods that break down and create gas during the digestive process. Fortunately, bloating can be addressed and it should not be something people have to chronically endure.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Certain foods are usually the main causes of bloating. Each person can have foods specific to them that can cause them to feel bloated. However, some are more likely than others to cause bloating. These include beans, broccoli, onions, milk, and cabbage. Figuring out what foods cause your bloating and then cutting down on them should go a long way to relieve it. Additionally, salt encourages the body to retain water. Therefore, a lower-sodium diet can also help relieve bloating.
Change Your Eating Habits
When you eat and how you eat is as important as what you eat when it comes to bloating. Eating big portions quickly can cause gas buildup in the body and slow down digestion, meaning it is best to eat smaller portions more frequently. Eating three times a day can be a habit that is hard to change, but will have noticeable benefits. Periods of intense hunger are best avoided, as they will encourage you to eat faster, overeat, and swallow air, which can cause bloating. It is also important to chew food slowly when eating because it allows the digestive enzymes in saliva to break down the food, making it pass through the digestive tract much more easily.
More blood flow to the digestive system will prevent bloating by stimulating it to working more efficiently, which is the reason why people with active lifestyles tend to bloat less. Exercise can also solve existing bloating by encouraging blocked gas to pass through the digestive tract.
Drinking Lots of Water
Contrary to intuition, drinking more water actually reduces water retention in the body. This is because if the body is not receiving sufficient water, it will hold on to what it has in order to avoid dehydration, rather than allowing it to pass through the body and do its job, such as flushing out the kidneys.
Don't Chew Gum
This is a big contributor to bloating, as it encourages swallowing extra air. It can also have a negative impact on overall health because most chewing gum brands have added sugar, which can contribute to tooth decay and bloating. Other habits such as talking with your mouth open, deep sighing, and drinking from a water fountain can also cause a person to swallow air and bloat.
Bloating is normally a short-term, uncomfortable problem, and it relatively easy to remedy. It can happen to anyone, but is often a symptom of menopause and one that many women want to avoid. Simple changes to diet, like which anti-bloating foods to eat, and exercise habits will not take long to relieve bloating and the discomfort that comes with it.
- American College of Gastroenterology. (2014). Digestive Health Tips. Retrieved August 8, 2014, from http://patients.gi.org/topics/digestive-health-tips/
- National Health Service UK. (2014). Beat the bloat. Retrieved August 8, 2014, from http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/digestive-health/Pages/beat-the-bloat.aspx
- National Institutes of Health. (2012). Gas - flatulence. Retrieved August 8, 2014, from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003124.htm
- Northrup, C. (2006). The Wisdom of Menopause. New York: Bantam Dell.
- Egan, N. (2012). Gas: Beat the Bloat. Retrieved from http://www.brighamandwomens.org/Patients_Visitors/pcs/nutrition/services/healtheweightforwomen/special_topics/intelihealth0504.aspx