Do you find that your belly can be more round at certain times? Almost like you’re pregnant?
Don’t worry. It regularly happens to about one-third of people. Though, it does happen more often or more severely to some more than others. But there are reasons for that.
See, abdominal bloating happens when the gastrointestinal (GI) tract is filled with air or gas. This can make the stomach feel swollen, tight, or full. Some people may also experience pain, gas, burping, and abdominal gurgles or rumbles.
Why does it happen?
Gas and air are the most common causes of bloating. Gas builds up in the digestive tract when poorly chewed food gets broken down or when air is swallowed. Everyone swallows air when they eat or drink. But some people can swallow more than others, especially if they are eating or drinking too fast. You can also swallow air while chewing gum, smoking, or wearing loose dentures.
The result is gas/air buildup, followed by excessive flatulence and burping as the air leaves the body. But this often doesn’t happen fast enough, causing the stomach to bloat.
Do certain foods cause bloating?
FODMAPS — this stands for fermentable oligo-, di-, monosaccharides, and polyols. This is a classification of foods that, simply put, ferment in the stomach. This, in turn, causes gas. Common foods with FODMAPS are cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage), onions, peaches, dried fruits, fruit juice, beans, lentils, bread, dairy, some nuts, and sweeteners.
Carbonated drinks — these drinks like beer, soda, or carbonated water contain carbon dioxide. When drank, a lot of this gas is swallowed, resulting in it getting caught in the GI tract. This causes bloating and can even cause cramping.
It may also depend on you. Those who can’t tolerate dairy very well may get bloated after consuming milk or cheese, or those with gluten intolerance may bloat after eating anything containing gluten. You may also have an intolerance to a certain kind of food.
Please keep in mind that many of the foods mentioned above are great for your health. You shouldn’t stop eating them altogether. But if you’re experiencing bloating, it’s good to be mindful of what may be causing it.
Though some foods or drinks may cause you to bloat, there may also be a more serious cause. This includes food intolerances, medications, or even a health condition. If you find you’re constantly bloated — especially if paired with pain — you should visit your doctor just to be safe.
How to relieve bloating?
In many cases, bloating is no cause for concern. Even on the healthiest of diets, bloating can occur. But in some cases, it could be a sign of a bad diet, poor digestion, or bad bacteria in the gut. Even if it’s not uncomfortable for you, bloating may sometimes interfere with your day — whether socially or athletically.
Swallow less air
In some cases, managing weight or being more mindful of eating habits may stop or reduce bloating. But one of the best ways to help may simply be to swallow less air.
To reduce swallowing too much air, you can:
- Avoid chewing gum.
- Limit your intake of carbonated drinks.
- Eat and chew slowly.
- Avoid drinking through a straw.
- Don’t smoke.
- Check your dentures regularly.
A workout is a great way to help reduce bloating. Physical activity can help expel excess gas and move digestion along. Thirty minutes of mild-moderate exercise should do the trick!
It’s also worth noting that strengthened ab muscles are theorized to potentially lower the extent of bloating from an aesthetic standpoint. Some believe weaker stomach muscles may allow bloating to appear more visible, but there isn’t any hard science to back this up.
Preliminary studies show that many herbal teas can help reduce symptoms of bloating. These teas include ginger, peppermint, hibiscus, chamomile, lemon balm, and fennel.
Please keep in mind that some of these herbal teas can make you feel sleepy, so they may not be the best choice before a busy day.
Avoid salt and drink water
Generally speaking, drinking water can help reduce bloating by helping with digestion and flushing things out. However, if your salt levels are high, you may retain extra water when you drink it.
Salt is necessary to help keep you hydrated, but too much salt has been linked to heart issues, along with other health problems. Try to moderate the amount of salt that you take in so that you don’t get bloated as a result of high salt levels.
One of the reasons you may be bloated is because of an imbalance of good and bad bacteria in the gut.
Too much bad bacteria may result in gas and bloating (along with other issues like sleeping problems, weight fluctuation, skin issues, and more).
But probiotics can help restore balance.
Here at PuraTHRIVE, we have one of the most researched probiotic strains out there in a highly bioavailable form. If you’ve taken probiotics before and didn’t notice a difference, it’s likely because they weren’t getting absorbed or weren’t even making it to the gut in the first place.
Probiotics are microorganisms. They’re very fragile. This means that they can break down in manufacturing, storage, or the digestive system.
But PuraTHRIVE found a better way.