Bloating is one of the most bothersome stomach problems, familiar to practically everybody in the world. People’s description of this symptom might vary, but the main concern is always the same: the feeling of increased pressure in the abdomen. It can be associated with many other stomach issues like irritable bowel syndrome, but it can come independently after a heavy meal or with the wrong diet.
We at Bright Side are always trying to provide you with the best ways to maintain your health. So here are 10 ways to save yourself from bloating and its annoying pain.
1. Mindful eating
You can prevent bloating by eating slower and in smaller portions. If you pay actual attention to what you are eating and be more mindful about your food intake, this might help you to enjoy food more, as your brain will have time to actually process what you are putting in your mouth. Also, it will lower the amount of air bubbles that you swallow with your meal which are the disastrous cause of bloating in the first place. Just slow down and enjoy yourself for a second so you won’t have to suffer after a delicious dinner.
This way of eating is called mindful eating. It means that you must think about your food intake as a way to treat your body well and not abuse it. Fundamentally, mindful eating is all about not hurrying so you can savor your food, cooking your own meals, hydrating your body, not multitasking, and, most importantly, respecting your body and health.
2. Avoid gas-triggering foods
No, your mother did not lie to you when she said that green stuff is amazingly healthy. Kale, broccoli, and cabbage are indeed nutrient-rich and high-fiber vegetables that you need to ingest in order to have a strong digestive system. However, these foods are also rich in raffinose, which is a sugar that can only be digested by the bacteria in your stomach and its fermentation is exactly what causes you to bloat.
But do not throw all of these vegetables out of the window! Just try to keep the amount you eat in check and maybe steam or boil them to shrink the amount of sugar you take in.
3. Watch your salt
If you keep on getting bloated, you might want to watch your salt intake. Eating high-sodium foods can slow down your body from getting rid of excess water, which might make you feel like there is a balloon in your stomach. You might be digesting much more sodium than is recommended by The American Heart Association (no more than 1,500 mg per day for most adults).
Salt is extremely difficult to avoid due to its presence in most processed and prepackaged foods. If you feel that you’ve failed your healthy, almost-no-salt diet, drink more water to flush it out of your body.
4. Treat yourself to fruit
If you have been naughty with your salty foods, you might want to invest in some bananas. They prevent water from being stuck in your body because of the sodium. Bananas are full of potassium and perfectly regulate salt levels to reduce bloating.
Meanwhile, the enzymes in papaya and pineapple assist in breaking down the proteins in your system, which wonderfully helps your stomach to process food. So eat these fruits after a heavy meal to strengthen your digestive tract and help you avoid constipation and bloating.
5. Drink peppermint and chamomile teas
After a heavy meal, you might want to treat yourself to a cup of a chamomile or peppermint tea. Both are known to relax the spasms in your stomach and ease your pain if you feel bloated. Chamomile tea not only helps with digestion, but it can also relax and soothe you so you do not pay as much attention to your belly issues. Peppermint oil is also available in supplement form if it is not your cup of tea.
6. Take probiotics
We hope you enjoy probiotic yogurt here and there because if you do you are literally eating your way out of bloating with its active cultures. As you are probably aware, there are millions of different bacteria that exist in your stomach and some of them can cause your digestive tract to produce excessive gas.
Probiotics help regulate gas production and bloating if you are unlucky enough to suffer from them, and there are several studies that prove this. You can also take probiotic supplements instead of yogurt, but why not enjoy a healthy breakfast? If yogurt is too sour for you, maybe add some honey or jam to sweeten up this morning treat.
7. Avoid sugary alcohols
You can find sugary alcohols in practically all sugar-free foods and chewing gum as they are meant to sweeten these foods and are used as sugar alternatives. Generally, they are considered safe, but they may cause some problems for your stomach because they tend to reach the bacteria in the lower part of your digestive tract, which digest them and produce excessive gas while doing so.
We suggest you try avoiding these sugar alcohols and instead enjoy natural sweeteners like stevia or even treat yourself to fruit instead of processed desserts.
8. Belly massage
If you overeat and start to feel the uncomfortable gas rising in your stomach, you may want to lay down and ask somebody to give you an abdominal massage, or you could do it yourself. This will help food move lower in your stomach and relieve tight
ness, excessive pressure, and bloating.
There are several techniques, for example, you might want to try this one.
9. Do yoga
Most people do not enjoy the idea of moving after a meal. But if you have let yourself loose and now feel the first symptoms of gas and acid reflux coming, don’t immediately reach for medicine. Just fifteen minutes of yoga might be as useful as a pill and it’s much healthier.
There are various poses that can assist you in easing the tightness in your belly, helping your digestive tract to move the food along, stimulating your organs, and relieving the stress that is partially causing bloating. You can find most beneficial poses right here.
10. Hydrate your body
And of course, never forget to hydrate your body. Yes, water is actually a solution to a lot of health issues you might experience, and one of them is bloating. Every day your water intake is supposed to be around 8 glasses and this is not even counting the other fluids you drink.
So stay hydrated and your body will have all of the power it needs to fight bloating by itself.
We hope that these simple yet effective ways to decrease bloating will help you enjoy keeping your body healthy.
Let us know more ways to help avoid stomach bloating in the comments below!
Illustrated by Oleg Guta for Bright Side