We have all suffered from bloating and flatulence at some time in our lives. It occurs due to fermentation in the digestive tract. In simple words, your stomach swells after eating food. Stress, food allergy or lack of enzymes are some of the common triggers that cause this abdominal issue. It is sometimes confused with water retention. However, bloating refers to excessive amounts of solids, liquids or gas in the digestive system.
Sometimes serious illnesses like liver and heart disease can cause bloating. However, 90 percent of the time intestinal gas leads to bloating. But how to reduce bloating? Here are some easy ways to reduce bloating:
1. Avoid constipation
If there is too little fibre or fluids in your diet, this can lead to constipation. To avoid constipation eat a diet rich in fibre, whole grains, fruits, greens and legumes. Drink at least eight glasses of water a day. Add 30 minutes of some physical activity like walking or running to your daily routine.
2. Don’t eat big meals
Eating big meals and stuffing your stomach can make you uncomfortable. So, opt for smaller meals and add the number of meals you have in a day. Chew your food well as it reduces the amount of air you swallow with your meals. Eating slowly helps you digest your food better.
3. Rule out allergies or lactose intolerance
Food allergies and lactose intolerance can cause bloating. Get yourself checked by a doctor to rule out these possibilities. You can also try to eliminate the particular food that you suspect is causing the allergic reaction from your diet.
4. Avoid swallowing gasses
Carbonated drinks like soda can lead gas to get trapped in the belly and cause bloating. Chewing gum, drinking liquids through a straw and talking while eating can also lead to more swallowed air.
5. Avoid sugar-free fruits
Artificially sweetened foods and drinks can cause bloating. You should not take more than two or three serving of artificially sweetened foods in your diet.
6. Reduce sodium
Highly processed foods are high in sodium and low in fibre, both of which can lead to bloating. When buying processed food opt for sodium free or low sodium products. Restaurant food is high in sodium, so opt for healthier home cooked food instead.
7. Avoid vegetables that cause gas
Vegetables like beans, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and broccoli can cause a gassy feeling. Don’t avoid them completely as they are highly nutritious foods. Cook them well and chew them slowly to avoid bloating. Take an anti-gas product in case you feel too bloated.
8. Take peppermint oil
Altered function of the muscles in the stomach can cause your stomach to swell. Peppermint oil is quite effective in reducing this problem.
This spice is quite helpful in calming down an upset stomach. Its anti-inflammatory properties are effective in providing relief from bloating. Turmeric contains curcumin, which is quite helpful in providing relief from indigestion.
10. Have bananas
Bananas are an excellent source of prebiotic fibre and are great for improving digestion. According to a study, women who ate bananas twice daily experienced an increase in good gut bacteria and this lead to a decrease in bloating.
This superfood has been used in China for thousands of years to improve the digestive system and give relief from bloating. You can add it to smoothies, salads and curries.
Watermelon has high water content, and this helps flush out belly-bloating sodium from the body. Watermelon also citrulline, an amino acid that helps improve blood flow and hence reduce fatigue.
13. Add salmon to your diet
The Omega-3 fatty acids in salmon can help reduce inflammation in the stomach. Thus salmon can help reduce bloating.
14. Drink caffeine
It may come to you as a surprise but Caffeine stimulates colonic muscle contractions which helps reduce bloating.
15. Have early dinners
If you have been waking up with a bloated stomach, you can blame it on late dinners. Have dinner early in the day so that you can give your body enough time to digest the food before you sleep.
16. Replace white rice with brown rice
Brown rice takes longer to digest. This means it keeps your stomach full for longer and prevents bloating.
17. Try some yoga
Add at least 30 minutes of yoga to your daily routine. Yoga poses involve deep breathing, stretching and twisting, all of which are very helpful in preventing bloating.
18. Calm your nerves
Stress can have a negative effect on your health. Distressing, on the other hand, has a calming effect on the digestive system as well. Try some meditation to calm down your nerves and to get relief from stomach ailments like bloating.
19. Be prepared for PMS
Pre-menstrual bloating can occur a week or two before your menses begin. To avoid it, increase your intake of calcium and magnesium before your period begins.
20. Add herbs to your food
Add herbs and spices like oregano, thyme, lemon zest, turmeric to your diet. These herbs have anti-inflammatory powers which help reduce bloating. Some other herbs that provide gas relief are chamomile, dill, fennel, basil and cumin.
21. Avoid smoking
Do not smoke if you are suffering from bloating. Smoking can aggravate this problem.
22. Don’t drink water after meal
Avoid drinking water for at least half-an-hour after your meal. Drinking water can dilute the gastric juices, which makes digesting food slower.
23. Warm compress
Apply a warm compress to the lower part of your stomach to counteract muscle contraction that might cause your smotmach to bloat.