Why do I feel bloated?
Bloating is a heavy feeling in your stomach. It is usually caused by too much gas or when your intestines are not working properly. Bloating can cause pain, discomfort, and the feeling of being full.
Women are more likely to experience bloating than men, especially around the time of menstruation. Bloating can also get worse throughout the day as you eat more food. Passing gas or stool can help relieve bloating.
What causes bloating?
Bloating is caused by trapped air in the digestive system. This air can be swallowed accidentally or produced by gut bacteria during digestion.
Here are some things that can cause bloating:
- Eating too quickly
- Eating too much
- Chewing gum
- Drinking carbonated beverages
- Eating hard-to-digest foods, such as fatty, fried, or spicy foods
- Hormonal changes
- Food intolerances
Here are some ways to naturally reduce bloating:
1. Chew slowly
Regardless of your hunger, take your time to eat mindfully. Chew your food thoroughly before swallowing, one bite at a time. Rushing through your meals not only affects nutrient absorption but also leads to swallowing extra air, which can result in that uncomfortable, bloated sensation.
2. Reduce intake of certain vegetables
Vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and bok choy can lead to increased gas. These undigested vegetables travel to the colon, where bacteria ferment them in the intestines, causing bloating and gas. However, this doesn’t mean you should completely eliminate cauliflower and other veggies from your diet. Cooking them can help break them down, as cooked greens are generally better tolerated than raw ones.
3. Eat smaller, more frequent meals
Individuals prone to bloating might find larger meal portions uncomfortable. To address this, consuming smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day can alleviate stomach bloating. This eating routine assists in maintaining stable blood sugar levels, curbing your appetite, and promoting an efficient metabolism. A more efficient metabolism enables your body to effectively utilize proteins, fats, and carbohydrates to provide the proper energy for your body.
4. Prefer probiotics
Probiotics are like helpful bacteria that can make your gut healthier when you eat enough of them. When they reach your colon, these good bacteria grow and keep a good balance with the bad ones. This can lessen problems like gas and bloating. You can find probiotics naturally in foods like yogurt, kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut, tempeh, kombucha, miso, and pickles.
5. Check for food intolerances:
Eating foods that you are intolerant to can cause extreme gas and bloating. Common food intolerances include:
Lactose Intolerance: People with lactose intolerance have difficulty digesting lactose, the sugar in milk, due to low levels of the enzyme lactase, which breaks down milk sugar.
Gluten Intolerance: Those with gluten intolerance struggle to digest a protein called gluten, primarily found in wheat, barley, and rye.
6. Steer clear of sugar alcohols
Some sugar-free mints, chewing gums, and desserts use sugar alcohols like sorbitol and xylitol to make them sweet without too many calories. However, sugar alcohol can cause problems for certain people because their bodies can’t break them down. Instead, these sugar alcohols travel to the colon and feed the gut bacteria, which might lead to extra gas and bloating.
7. Peppermint tea or oil
Peppermint is a great solution for a bloated stomach. It relaxes the muscles in your stomach and intestines, which helps with digestion. You can have peppermint tea or use peppermint oil for relief. To make peppermint tea, just boil 8-10 peppermint leaves in a cup of water for 10-15 minutes and savor its delicious and soothing flavor.
8. Ginger and Turmeric
Ginger and turmeric are a traditional way to relieve indigestion and bloating. They have properties that reduce inflammation, prevent nausea, and help with gas. Drinking ginger and turmeric tea or taking their tablets before a meal stimulates the rhythmic movements of the intestines, making digestion smoother and reducing bloating.
Papaya has an enzyme called papain that acts as a gentle laxative. It helps your body get rid of extra waste and eases digestive problems like constipation, which can lead to bloating. Papaya also has fiber that aids in digestion, reducing gas, bloating, and tummy discomfort.
10. Abdominal Massage
Some experts suggest massaging your belly to get rid of instant belly bloating. To do this, start from the lower right side of your belly and gently move your fingers in a clockwise direction while lying down with your knees bent. This massage can help relieve constipation, which often causes bloating. You can also try yoga poses to improve digestion. Certain poses that involve bending forward and twisting can help your intestines move, reduce gas, and ease bloating.