Bloating is a something that many of us suffer from everyday. It’s generally caused by excess gas production and disturbances in the movement of the muscles of the digestive system. Although for some of us it can cause severe discomfort, for the rest of us it’s a natural process and can be reduced with a few simple steps.
1. Eat ginger, mint or fennel
Ginger has long been used to reduce discomfort in the stomach and promote the removal of excessive gas from the digestion track. Fennel helps to increase the gastric acids in your stomach which breaks down food and mint is thought to exert a calming effect allowing gas to pass through more smoothly.
2. Move more
Physical activity supports the passage of gas through the digestive system and therefore helps to relieve bloating. When you’re feeling bloated, take yourself for a 20 minute walk around the block or through the park.
3. Wear loose trousers
Wearing tight trousers can actually put pressure on the stomach and make it much more difficult for gas to pass through. Make sure your trousers arn't too tight and don’t shrink too much in the wash.
4. Soak your beans
Certain foods like beans and cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and sprouts, can cause wind and bloating. This is because when the beans reach the small intestine, the bacteria ferment the sugars and produce gas in the process. Soaking beans overnight can help to reduce wind, as well as rinsing canned beans and increasing your intake of beans gradually.
5. Drink lots of water
When you don’t drink enough fluids, your body retains water to prevent dehydration. Water also helps to prevent constipation, which is another cause of bloating.
6. Eat fibre rich foods
If you’re bloating is caused by being constipated, then try to eat lots of fibre rich foods like beans, lentils, oats, flaxseeds and lots of fruit and vegetables. Fibre helps to move everything along your digestive track, which can prevent constipation and bloating.
7. Eat more slowly
Eating too fast or talking whilst you eat can cause you to swallow too much air and result in bloating. Chewing your food properly helps with digestion, so make sure you sit down and eat your food slowly. Try to be mindful of what you eat, taking time to process the smell, taste and texture of what you’re eating, and how it makes you feel. Fizzy drinks and chewing gum can also cause you to take in more air.
8. Relax and unwind
Stress can cause your digestive system to effectively shut down. With fewer digestive secretions to digest your food, you can become bloated. Make sure you take time to relax such as doing exercise, yoga, meditation, having a hot bath or spending time with friends.
If you suffer from bloating on a regular occurrence and it has become uncomfortable, visit your GP to help rule out a more serious condition such as coeliac disease, food intolerance and irritable bowel syndrome. You could also keep a food diary to see what foods cause your bloating.