Beat the Bloat

Your pants won’t button, your stomach has grown in size and you just feel so sluggish you barely want to leave the house. What are we talking about? Bloating.

Maybe you ate too much or maybe something you ate just isn’t sitting right, whatever the cause, one thing is for sure – bloating is highly uncomfortable.

What is bloating?

The gassy bulging you feel is a result of swallowed air and the breakdown of food through digesting. It can occur often or may happen only rarely. If the bloating and gas pains are persistent then it could be a sign of a more serious health issue. Vita Coco Coconut Wate... Buy New $21.49 (as of 02:05 EST - Details)

Ideally gas is released through flatulence which is a normal part of life. But if this gas can’t be released, then it builds up in the stomach and intestines. The result is bloating.

Causes of bloating

There are many reasons why we may bloat and have difficulties passing gas. Some reasons are:

  • Having a food intolerance like lactose or celiac disease
  • Eating or drinking too quickly
  • Eating fatty foods
  • Stress or anxiety
  • Smoking
  • Eating gassy food or carbonated beverages
  • An infection.

As we mentioned, some foods can worsen bloating and you may be more sensitive to them. Foods that can promote bloating include the following:

  • Beans
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Lettuce
  • Dairy products
  • Whole grains
  • Sugar alcohols
  • Cauliflower
  • Chewing gum. Natureu2019s Way Premi... Buy New $7.99 (as of 09:05 EST - Details)

Types of bloating

So far we know that bloating mainly occurs in the stomach and the intestines due to the many factors listed above. This is referred to as abdominal bloating. But there are other types of bloating as well. For example, women may experience different types of bloating simply because of their biology.

In particular, women often have bloating during pregnancy. Pregnancy bloating happens because progesterone levels increase. This hormone is responsible for smoothing muscle tissue. When this occurs in the gastrointestinal tract, it slows down digestion which in turn leads to bloating and gas. As pregnancy progresses, the uterus cavity crowds the abdomen causing slower digesting and an increase in bloating.

Additionally, women must also deal with pre-menstrual bloating which occurs right before their periods. This is attributed to the change in hormones and an increase in water retention, leading to pre-menstrual bloating.

Bloating symptoms Natureu2019s Way Charc... Buy New $8.99 (as of 09:45 EST - Details)

Bloating is reported by 10 to 30 percent of adults, and bloating symptoms may consist of:

  • Excess gas
  • Frequent belching
  • Abdominal rumbling
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Feeling full
  • Feeling tight
  • Swollen abdomen.

10 tips to avoid bloating

Because bloating can be uncomfortable and impact your daily life, the best way to combat it is to take steps to avoid it altogether. Here are 10 tips to avoid bloating: Starwest Botanicals Or... Buy New $11.75 (as of 10:30 EST - Details)

  1. Drink plenty of water
  2. Exercise
  3. Stop smoking
  4. Avoid fatty foods
  5. Avoid foods that may promote gas
  6. Avoid chewing gum
  7. Eat and chew slowly to avoid swallowing air
  8. Get tested for food intolerances or other gastrointestinal illnesses
  9. Avoid carbonated beverages
  10. Reduce stress and anxiety.

These tips are effective means for preventing bloating before it even has a chance to start.

10 natural remedies for bloating

Unfortunately, sometimes you can’t stop the bloat and the next thing you know you’re experiencing the gas and discomfort. In that case, why not try these effective natural remedies for bloating:

1. Drink warm lemon water. Trying to flush out the water is not only good for prevention but is also a bloating remedy. Adding a lemon to water can bring you quicker relief. Warm lemon water can help promote detoxification as well as provide you with vitamin C. Additionally, the acidity of the lemon can aid in digestion, breaking down whatever you just consumed.

2. Ginger. Whether in a tea or on its own, ginger is a natural remedy for bloating. It acts as an anti-inflammatory for your digestive system allowing digestion to occur as well as movement of whatever may be stuck.

3. Activated charcoal. Activated charcoal has the ability to trap gas caused by bacteria. This is recommended more so if your bloating is due to illness as it can help remove bad bacteria.

4. Bananas. Bananas contain fiber which can help eliminate bloating. Bananas can also help you go to the washroom if your bloating is causing constipation.

5. Self massage. Sometimes giving yourself an abdominal massage can help get the gas moving along and therefore relieve bloating. Rubbing your hands counter-clockwise on your stomach may relieve the bloat.

6. Exercise. Exercise isn’t just a means to prevent bloating; it can be a remedy as well. Although you may not feel up to moving while bloated, make the effort because it can offer relief. By increasing circulation, you can help the release of gas. There are also a few yoga poses like the child’s pose which can aid in bloating. Exercise can also help get bowel movements moving along.

7. Let out the gas. One thing to make bloating and the discomfort worse is by holding in the gas. The reason you’re so uncomfortable is a build-up of gas, so holding it in isn’t doing yourself any favors. When possible, try to release the gas, especially when the feeling arises.

8. Fennel seeds. Fennel seeds are a diuretic and they contain pain-reducing properties. You can add fennel seeds to your meal or steep them like a tea to receive their benefits to combat bloating.

9. Caraway seeds. Similar to fennel seeds caraway seeds can be eaten or steeped to help relieve bloating. They contain antimicrobial and anti-spasmodic properties. They also have the ability to smooth muscles in the digestive tract to help expel gas.

10. Enjoy water-rich snacks. Watermelon and grapes are just some of the fruits which contain high amounts of water. If getting in eight glasses of water a day is hard, stocking up on water-rich snacks can be a natural remedy for bloating.

Managing the bloat

You probably already know how bloating and gas can put a damper on your life, so taking steps to prevent bloating is key to good health. Knowing how to rectify bloating once it begins can help you get back to participating in your favorite activities.

Being mindful of what and how you eat, as well as getting in as much water as possible, are sure-fire ways to make sure your stomach doesn’t take over your day.

Reprinted with permission from Bel Marra Health.