Did you know that one in five Americans suffers from bloating? Bloating is when parts of your gastrointestinal (GI) tract become filled with an excess of gases, liquids or solids, which then lead to a bulging belly. This is generally accompanied by feelings of tightness and discomfort, as well as pain in some unlucky folks. Use these 6 ways that will help to reduce bloating
Sometimes bloating is caused by medical conditions that are outside of your control. In those cases, you should definitely speak to your doctor and get professional help to help you overcome the issue. Fortunately, many of the causes are either avoidable or treatable. In this article, we’ll cover everything from eating strategies and foods to avoid to natural supplements like CBD drops that will help you live a bloat-free life.
- Stop Swallowing Excess Air and Gases
This may sound a little weird, but folks across the country swallow a lot of air and other gases that they just don’t need to on a daily basis. How, you ask? To begin, if you’re suffering from bloating issues, take a look at how many carbonated beverages you drink. The average American is consuming almost 39 gallons of soft drinks per year. That’s more than a can a day but doesn’t account for carbonated water or carbonated drinks with alcohol like beer and hard seltzers.
With almost half of Americans chewing gum on a regular basis, there’s a 50/50 chance that you’re someone who chews gum. However, gum chewing is also something to cut back on if you find yourself constantly bloated, as it is a big culprit when it comes to swallowing too much air.
Last, this may be your sign that it’s time to quit smoking. Of course, it’s bad for your health; we all know it. But when you smoke, you also swallow a lot of excess air. This can get trapped in your GI tract and cause bloating. Plus, smoking is just generally bad for your entire digestive system and can negatively affect you and your bloating situation in other ways as well.
- Eat Smaller Portions
Portion size has become an issue in America and is being examined as a main contributor to the obesity epidemic facing the country. When we consume more calories than we’re using, it only makes sense that we end up storing a little extra here and there. But, in the meantime, the extra solids in your tummy will make you feel big and bloated. Another issue with larger portions of food is that some bodies simply can’t digest them quickly enough. There’s only a certain amount of digestive enzymes that your system is capable of producing to break down the food you’ve eaten. Larger portions will stick around for longer periods.
What happens when food sits around in your gut for too long? Well, they start to get a bit funky and may release gases into your GI tract that will make you feel even more bloated. This can also lead to some pretty stinky situations, as these gases rarely want to be contained. Expect plenty of farts and burps and not a whole lot of people wanting to sit next to you. When you eat smaller portions, you’re giving your body the chance to properly digest what you’ve eaten and not pack too much in there.
- Rule Out Food Allergies, Sensitivities and Intolerances
We have greater access to a wider variety of foods than ever before in human history. However, we’re also discovering more than ever that a lot of people have varying food allergies, sensitivities and intolerances. When it comes to bloating, we’re not talking about the unfortunate anaphylactic response some folks have to foods like peanuts or shellfish. What we mean are foods that aggravate your body in other ways.
Some of the most common culprits in this category are lactose, fructose and gluten. Lactose is a sugar found in milk. In order to properly digest it, you need an enzyme called lactase. Unfortunately for some of us, not all bodies produce enough of it. So, when we eat otherwise delicious food like ice cream or cheese or enjoy a glass of milk, we bloat big time.
Fructose, another sugar, is found in fruits, some vegetables and honey. Usually, it’s digested in the small intestine. But if you suffer from a fructose intolerance, it probably isn’t being properly digested and, instead, makes its way to the colon where bacteria ferment it and release methane gas. This results in bloating and other issues. Gluten is a protein found in cereal grains like wheat, rye and barley, and it has gained a lot of bad press in recent years as fitness folks move toward low-carb diets and ways of eating. For most people, unless they have celiac disease, gluten isn’t an issue beyond personal preference. However, others with sensitivities to this protein often find themselves in painful, bloated situations.
- Up Your Fiber Intake
When it comes to our daily diets, many of us simply aren’t getting enough fiber. And if this is the case for you, you’re doing your body a real disservice. That’s because adequate fiber intake may play an important role when it comes to intestinal viscosity, nutrient absorption, rate of passage, production of short chain fatty acids and production of gut hormones. If that all sounds very technical, the simplified version of it is this: Consuming a proper amount of fiber is essential when it comes to keeping things moving in a proper fashion through the body and absorbing the necessary nutrients from your food to ensure a healthy, happy body.
If you’re dealing with a lot of bloating issues, the problem might be that food is hanging around in various parts of your gut a little too long and not making the exit that it should. You can introduce more fiber into your diet naturally by upping your intake of fruits like apples and bananas, veggies such as broccoli and Brussel sprouts and beans and legumes. Alternative whole grains like brown rice, quinoa and oats are all fantastic as well and contain no gluten. But when in doubt, there are also easy-to-mix supplements that you can add to your morning shake or take with a bit of water.
- Build a Better Gut Microbiome
Your gut is home to trillions of bacteria, fungi and other little friends that – in an ideal world – help you stay healthy and in a state of homeostasis. When things are good, balanced and going as they should, these microscopic pals play a big role in helping you to stay healthy. When thrown out of whack, your digestive and nutritional health may suffer, and bloating may occur. Fixing the root cause will take care of the side effect, in this case bloating, but how can you do it?
A lot of it has to do with your diet. We already mentioned fibre, which will also play a big part in building a flourishing gut microbiome thanks to its prebiotic nature. Introducing fermented foods rich in probiotics or taking megasporebiotic supplements of this nature is also beneficial. And all of this is super important if you’ve recently taken antibiotics, which can do damage to this great little community of microscopic helpers. Other helpful tips are reducing stress, sleeping well and exercising when you can. When your gut is back to being healthy, you’ll likely notice the bloating going away.
- Use Supplements to Reduce Inflammation
Inflammation in your GI tract can be caused by a variety of things. Some of them we’ve already mentioned, such as overly large portion sizes and foods that don’t agree with us. However, sometimes we are in a situation where we’re dealing with chronic conditions like irritable bowel syndrome or Crohn’s disease.
Much research has been done on these issues and the exact method of treatment will vary from person to person. However, taking supplements to help your body reduce inflammation so it can heal is often advantageous.Cannabidiol, better known as CBD, is a popular choice among folks seeking natural supplements with anti-inflammatory properties. They’re found in various forms, from CBD oil taken sublingually to CBD capsules that are perfect for people on the go. Another popular choice is Vitamin D, which may bolster that gut microbiome we were just talking about, resulting in reduced inflammation and better immunity. Less inflammation will definitely help you reduce your bloating issues.
Whatever You Do … Be Patient!
It’s important to remember to be patient with yourself and your body. If you’ve been suffering from bloating issues for a while, it may take some time to figure out the cause and repair damage that’s been done to your GI tract.
Avoid jumping from one solution to the next. If you’re introducing probiotics or CBD drops into your routine, follow directions closely and then let it ride for a couple of weeks. If you’re doing an elimination diet, and taking out sources of lactose and gluten, allow your body a month or so to adjust to life without them. With some effort and patience, however, you’re sure to find relief from bloating.