Perhaps one of the toughest jobs in this universe is to roam with a bloated stomach, right?
Bloating can be incredibly frustrating, especially if you’re doing everything else right – eating healthy and exercising.
Fortunately, the causes of bloating are usually pretty straightforward and making minor adjustments to your diet can help to overcome the problem.
In most cases, bloating is likely to be caused by the buildup of gas or air in the gastrointestinal tract and in rare cases it could be associated with an undiagnosed or underlying health condition such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, diverticulitis, or celiac disease. This is why most people respond positively to simple dietary and lifestyle interventions.
If you are one of those who regularly or frequently suffer from abdominal bloating, the following 10 remedial actions will help you to eliminate this menace from your life.
Nutrition Tips to Prevent Bloating
1.Watch Your Serving Size
It seems like a no brainer, but it’s the first thing that you should try. For many individuals, bloating is linked with a higher sensitivity to food in the stomach, which means that the problem tends to surface following larger meals.
Simply cutting down your serving size and instead consuming more frequent meals could help to lower the risk of bloating.
2.Try an Elimination Diet
Simply put, an elimination diet is one in which you avoid foods that are believed to increase the risk of bloating, reintroducing each of them in a phased manner.
This is the most effective method of identifying any kind of food allergy or intolerance.
When it comes to bloating, foods and ingredients that are suspect would include gluten – a protein found in grains like wheat, lactose from dairy products, and fructose – a natural sugar in fruits. In some cases, bloating could also result from egg allergies.
3. Slow Down & Chew!
We’re always pressed for time, but it’s important that you don’t rush through your meals, instead taking the time to chew through each morsel. And there are some scientific reasons why we should eat slowly.
When you devour your meals quickly, you also land up swallowing a significant amount of air, which significantly increases the risk of bloating. Eating your food slowly and chewing through it also aids the digestive process, reducing the likelihood of digestive disturbances like bloating.
4.Cut Back on the Cola
Carbonated or fizzy drinks are the worst offenders and should be severely restricted or avoided altogether if you have a problem with frequent bloating.
The fizz that you love is a result of trapped carbon dioxide in the liquid. Once it reaches your stomach though, it doesn’t stay trapped in the liquid, but gets trapped in your belly causing it to bloat.
5.Go Easy on Sugar Substitutes
Sugar alcohols like sorbitol and xylitol are commonly used to sweeten sugar-free foods and chewing gums. While they might be regarded as ‘healthier’ than sugar, a high intake of such foods can contribute to bloating.
This is because these sugars are broken down by bacteria in the large intestine, resulting in the release of gas.
6. Check Your Fiber Intake
You may need to increase or lower your fiber intake, depending on the prevalence of other symptoms. Bloating is often associated with constipation and in such situations can be remedied by adding more soluble fiber to your diet.
Whole grains, nuts, seeds, fruits like oranges and berries, and veggies like broccoli and carrots are good sources of soluble fiber. If you have regular bowel movements and eat relatively healthy, however, cutting back on high fiber foods may help as bloating is often caused by a high intake of fiber.
7. Fruit First
To many of us, fruits seem like the perfect substitute for dessert after a meal.
While you’re right about them being the healthier choice, eating fruits soon after a meal can RAISE the risk of bloating.
This is because fruit sugars, which are otherwise absorbed rapidly, now take longer to digest. This allows them to start fermenting, which releases hydrogen gas that causes bloating and abdominal cramps.
8. Supplement with Probiotics
As bloating is often attributed to the release of gas by gut bacteria, promoting a healthy microbial balance can help to counter the problem in some cases.
Choosing the perfect probiotic supplement is where things get tricky, as the precise mechanism of action is not clearly understood and some probiotic strains work better than others.
Your safest bet would be to consult a dietitian to find out if you really need probiotics and to get a recommendation or you could end up exacerbating the problem.
9. Drink Responsibly
Most of us assume that bloating after drinking is only a problem when you’re drinking beer or if you use carbonated beverages as mixers. This isn’t exactly true, as alcohol can cause bloating for other reasons too. It can drastically alter the microbial balance of the gut, lowering levels of beneficial bacteria.
This can give rise to bloating and also raises the risk of conditions like gastritis. This doesn’t mean that you need to abstain from alcohol, but it’s a clear sign that you need to cut back, limiting your intake to no more than one drink a day.
10. Spice it Up!
Adding spices to your food doesn’t mean that your meals have got to be hot and spicy. Most spices simply add flavor to food, but they can also do a lot more in terms of boosting your health.
While not all of the health benefits of spices have been confirmed, most experts do agree that spices like turmeric, fennel, cumin, ginger, and mint can stimulate digestion and ease symptoms like bloating and inflammation.
While it is tremendously frustrating to deal with bloating, simple changes in lifestyle (as mentioned above) can significantly improve your health.
Over to You
Have you been a victim of bloating? Feel free to share your personal experience about this issue and views, opinions and constructive criticisms regarding the article.