We all know that feeling of being overly full and bloated after indulging in a little too much food at dinner time. It can feel uncomfortable when your stomach or bowels are distended, and we offer need to wait a few hours for them to deflate back to their usual size.
Bloating is seen as a relatively common and normal digestive issue. While it’s natural to bloat after eating a large meal, if you’re constantly bloated and gassy, it indicates that there could be something more serious going on.
Those of you with IBS will know all too well how awful it is to be bloated and have additional digestive symptoms, such as abdominal cramps and excess flatulence.
But IBS isn’t the only digestive issue that can lead to bloating. There are lots of underlying causes of excess gas production in the digestive tract and we’re going to run through these things today.
In this article, we will cover everything that you need to know about bloating, including what causes it and how you can reduce it.
What Causes Bloating?
Bloating is a natural response to eating a large volume of food within a short space of time. However, there are a number of things that can increase the risk and severity of bloating.
Swallowing too much air while you’re eating is a common cause of bloating. This can be caused by eating too quickly or wearing poorly-fitted dentures.
Several medical conditions can significantly increase the risk of bloating and its severity, including:
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis (collectively known as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD))
- Celiac disease
- Gluten intolerance
- Dairy intolerance
- Gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD)
- Hormones, such as cortisol, progesterone, and oestrogen
- Kidney or liver problems
- Ascites (abnormal build-up of fluid in the abdomen)
- Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI)
Additional causes of bloating include:
- Consuming a high-sugar diet
- Sedentary lifestyle or inactivity
- Antibiotic medications
- Excess psychological stress
How to Effectively Reduce Bloating
If you’re somebody who gets bloated regularly, you’ll be happy to hear that there are lots of great things that you can do to minimise that nasty unwanted bloating or get rid of it for good!
Below, we’ve listed some great things that you can do or take to reduce digestive discomfort and bloating.
1. Improve your diet
The foods you eat can have a huge impact on whether you bloat and how much you bloat. Consuming a poor diet that is full of artificial sugar and contains very few fruits and veggies can increase the chances of bloating, as it disrupts your digestion.
Try switching to a diet that is full of high-fibre foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Reduce your carbohydrate and sugar consumption, and try and avoid artificial sweeteners and flavours.
High-potassium foods are particularly helpful for keeping bloating at bay as they can reduce fluid retention in your digestive tract. Foods that are high in potassium include bananas, avocados, and dried fruit.
2. Take digestive supplements
There are lots of great supplements and remedies to try when you’re bloated, such as:
- Digestive enzymes - these are great if your body doesn’t naturally produce enough digestive enzymes, which are essential for digestion.
- Probiotics - you can consume probiotics in fermented foods or supplements. They contain beneficial bacteria that can support your digestive functions, relieving bloating.
3. Eat more slowly
Digestion begins at the mouth! If you don’t chew your food properly, it means your digestive system has to work harder to break it down into observable nutrients.
By consciously eating more slowly, you will properly chew your food. This aids your digestive processes, which can significantly reduce bloating and discomfort, especially after a large meal.
4. Get your body moving
Physical activity helps with the movement of food through your digestive tract. Speeding up your digestion will minimise the risk of bloating and discomfort after eating. Even if it is just a quick walk around the block, make a conscious effort to move more after your meals and snacks.
Make sure that you only purchase supplements from trusted and reliable brands. Please note that none of the information in this article should be taken as medical advice and you should always speak to your doctor before taking any new supplements, or making drastic changes to your diet or lifestyle.