If you often experience bloating, you’re not alone. Bloating is more common than you think - around 71% of women and 59% of men suffer from digestive discomfort at some point in their lives. It can be caused by a number of reasons, with gas, water retention, or a backlog of faeces in the gut being among the most common.
What causes bloating?
Bloating can be caused by certain foods and fizzy drinks, or as a result of swallowing too much air while you eat. It’s the body’s way of reacting to too much gas in your gut. Other common causes of bloating are:
- Food intolerances
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Coeliac disease
Luckily, there are many effective ways to prevent and reduce bloating and the uncomfortable feeling that it comes with. Let’s review how you can incorporate different strategies throughout the day to help beat the bloat.
How to reduce bloating
Have oats for breakfast: including oats in your diet can provide you with fibre and an increase in faecal bulk to support your digestive system.
Chew with your mouth closed: this will help to reduce the amount of air you swallow while eating.
Use essential oils: certain essential oils such as peppermint can aid with digestion and reduce bloating. The menthol found in peppermint essential oils can provide a soothing effect for your intestinal lining by reducing inflammation. You may also want to try drinking peppermint or ginger tea, as they're known to soothe digestive issues such as bloating.
Keep hydrated: try to drink 30 minutes before each meal. Ensuring good hydration will allow your body to make sufficient hydrochloric acid to digest your food and keep your stools soft and easy to pass.
Exercise: getting your body moving also gets your bowels moving. Exercising can help to move any trapped gas along on its way and tighten up stomach muscles. Light exercise such as a brisk walk or bloat-relieving yoga are both great ways to help calm down your stomach.
Reduce salt intake: eating sodium in excess causes our bodies to retain water, which can lead to a swollen and bloated belly.
Eat smaller meals at regular intervals: most people experience bloating after eating a big meal. To avoid this, try eating smaller portions at the same time each day.
Cut down on chewing gum: chewing gum contains sugar alcohols which can result in bloating. While chewing, you may be swallowing a lot of air which can lead to bloating.
Sit upright while eating: eating while walking or standing can also cause you to swallow too much air which can result in bloating.
Massage your stomach: an abdominal massage can help to get your bowels moving and release trapped wind. Try gently massaging from left to right in a circular motion.
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