Beat the Bloat - our most read blog
Beat the bloat - 5 must do things to reduce the bloat and stop it coming back
Do you ever feel bloated and uncomfortable after eating? It sucks, right?
Sometimes it passes after some time or after you've been to the toilet. But sometimes it feels like the bloat goes on for days. And you don't know when it's going to go back to normal - or if it will!
We're telling you: You're not alone. Even if it feels like it sometimes.
When you ask yourself "why is my stomach bloated?" and you're looking up bloated stomach remedies - you know there's something up!
If you're someone who feels that nearly every time you eat, you get the dreaded bloat... Or you're someone that even when you drink water, you feel like your belly bloats... Or you've said to friends or family that you're too scared to eat, in case you bloat... You're probably wondering what's going on!
You're bloated, you feel terrible, you want a quick fix, to get on with life. Right?
You're fed up of not being able to eat what everyone else seems to be able to without feeling inflammation and like you can't. And you're tired of feeling tired.
First things first, you can heal many of your gut symptoms. It just needs some investments from you. Like anything, those investments build up over time. And yes, something can unravel your good work, but small consistent good gut choices will help you heal your gut.
So how do you get your gut to stop being angry and bloated everyday?
1. Figure out what your causes of bloating are
Every gut is different so you need to be aware of what's going on in your body - and not make comparisons. How do you know what causes bloating?
Did you know that a cause of bloating might be excess gas? You introduce gases like oxygen, carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and methane by swallowing air.
These gases are also made when we break down food in our large intestine. So it causes a tension on our guts.
Bloating can be triggered by many dietary and lifestyle factors, so it’s best to identify the cause to reduce or eliminate bloating symptoms.
Keeping a food and symptom diary will help you identify which foods cause your symptoms so that you don’t have to follow an overly restrictive diet.
Healing your gut from bloating can take time - here's what to consider
- foods that trigger your symptoms
- food intolerances
- swallowing excess air
- increased fluid in your bowels
- imbalances in your gut microbiome (the ecosystem of bacteria living in your gut)
And when you factor in stress, anxiety, high fat meals, weight gain, and changes during the menstrual cycle being linked to bloating - only you can really track what's happening to figure out what might be the causes of your bloating.
Keep a diary and look for patterns or trends. What's happening on the days your gut is bloating? Is it food related? Is it stress? Is it on the days where you're doing a million things at once?
2. Check in on your toilet habits
Constipation affects around 1 in every 7 adults in the UK at any given time*.
Constipation is one of the leading causes of 'belly' bloating. Because the non-digestible component of your food stay in your intestines (gut) too long, they ferment longer than they're meant to and create even more gas and more bloating... not what you need!
You'll probably know this but 3 simple changes to help with constipation are:
- Eat fibre - if you're not quite at 25-38 grams per day, build up to it by adding whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds.
- Hydrate - your gut needs water to work at it's best - and we're lucky enough to have it free on tap so get drinking
- Exercising regularly - more on this later in this blog!
3. Eat smaller portions, and limit sugary, salty and fatty foods
The amount and type of foods you're eating might be the main cause of your bloating:
- Large portions => stretch your stomach => pockets of gases and partly digested foods => feeling really full & bloated
- Food with more non-digestible or poorly digestible carbs => more in your intestines => even more gas made => feeling really full & bloated
- Saltier food => water retention => bloated stomach
- Fattier meals => more gas in the intestine +> even more bloating
Reducing your portion sizes gives your gut more time to process, and healthier options aren't just about the nutrients they give us, they also don't produce all the excess gas.
Large meals and foods high in salt or fat may contribute to bloating by increasing the production and retention of gas and water in your bowels. Limiting your portion sizes and your intake of foods high in salt and fat may relieve symptoms.
4. Avoid swallowing too much air
Swallowing too much air? Who knew that was a thing? Well... its is.
It's called aerophagia. It's more likely to cause lots of burping but can cause bloating - especially for people with IBS.
And for people with IBS, bloating is a really common experience.
So if you're feeling bloated, it's time to eat slower and chewing your food more to slow down your eating. Avoid fizzy drinks, including sparkling water and bubbles! And one you might not have thought about - don't chew chewing gum.
They're all things that are easy to switch up if you're feeling bloated.
5. Do light exercise regularly
Even light exercise can improve your gut function. And, even though you might not feel like it, exercise will reduce bloating, as it helps eliminate gas from your bowels.
One study in 94 people found that a 10–15-minute walk after a meal improved the feeling of bloating to a greater extent than medications*.
You don't need us to tell you about the benefits of exercise on the physical body but we also know that it can help with stress, fatigue, and depression, which themselves are linked to digestive symptoms through brain-gut interactions.
Beat the bloat through movement - you can do it.
The bottom line when it comes to bloating
Bloating is a common condition caused by a wide range of dietary, lifestyle, and health factors.
Even if you have long term digestive issues, you can do things to improve how you feel.
Yes, it's getting the basic right - diet, exercise, de-stressing, mindful eating and avoiding things you know will make you bloat.
There's no magic wand. But you can make the changes you need.
You can also consider our all-round gut health supplements
They're packed a gut-boosting vitamin, mineral and postbiotic blend. And we love that you can make an easy gut choice every day with no mess, no fuss and helps tick one thing off your to-do list!
NHS Inform: Constipation
Study: The effect of a short-term physical activity after meals on gastrointestinal symptoms in individuals with functional abdominal bloating: a randomized clinical trial
Heal your gut - Check out our other articles:
- Signs your gut is giving you that it needs some TLC
- When to see a doctor and make sure they hear you