What causes bloating?
There are many different things that can cause bloating, including eating too much, eating too quickly, eating high-fat foods, drinking carbonated beverages, and smoking. Sometimes, bloating can be caused by a more serious medical condition, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), or ovarian cancer. If you experience bloating on a regular basis, it's important to see your doctor to rule out any underlying medical conditions.
We’ve all been there – no matter how much we watch what we eat or work out, certain times of the month, that bloat just plonks itself around your waist like an unwelcome house visitor. If you’re looking to get into your favorite summer dress, that inconvenient stomach bulge can be a major boo-boo.
Whether it’s gas-producing foods, irregular eating habits, or hormonal imbalances, here are our best tips on how to blast that bloat!
- Exercise: Exercise is a great way to get rid of bloating because it helps to expel gas from the gastrointestinal tract.
- Probiotics & Prebiotics: Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that help to promote gut health and reduce bloating. Prebiotics can improve digestion by feeding friendly bacteria like Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, and Streptococcus. They can also reduce digestive symptoms like bloating, stomach pain and discomfort, and flatulence.
- Peppermint tea: Peppermint tea can help to relax the digestive muscles and reduce bloating. Peppermint oil relaxes the gut, removes gas from the digestive tract, and relieves intestinal spasms, thereby reducing bloating.
- Ginger: Ginger is a natural stomach soother that can help to reduce bloating and nausea. Ginger is believed to speed up the passage of food through the GI tract while protecting the gut. It may also relieve bloating.
- Lemon water: Lemon water decreases bloating because it acts as a diuretic which actually helps when you are retaining fluids
- Cruciferous vegetables: Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and kale are all members of the cruciferous vegetable family. These veggies are healthy and nutritious, but they also contain a compound called raffinose. Raffinose is a complex sugar that the human digestive system can't break down, so it ends up fermenting in the gut and causing bloating.
- Dairy products: Milk, cheese, and yogurt are all common triggers for bloating. This is because they contain lactose, a sugar that many people have trouble digesting. If you're lactose intolerant or have trouble digesting dairy, it's best to avoid these foods or take them in small amounts.
- Beans and legumes: Beans, lentils, and other legumes are rich in fiber and other nutrients. However, for individuals with irritable bowel syndrome, beans and legumes produce gas and this may cause major discomfort, with symptoms like bloating, flatulence, cramping, and diarrhea.
There are many causes of bloating, but also many ways to get rid of it. From simple lifestyle changes to targeted remedies, so don't despair – adapt!
- Decrease salt intake. Too much sodium can cause fluid retention, which can lead to a bloated feeling. So instead of reaching for the salt, try using other herbs and spices to flavor your food.
- Say No to gas-producing foods like beans, broccoli, and cabbage. If you do eat these foods, be sure to cook them thoroughly - this will help reduce their gassy potential.
- Remedies like peppermint oil, for example, has a calming effect on the stomach and can help relieve bloating. Probiotics are also very effective in reducing bloating by helping to regulate digestion.
TCM has many prescriptions and remedies for overall gut health, detoxing and flushing out the waste and air out of your system with specialised decoctions of herbs to bolster Qi (internal energy) and flush the system.
Try some of these tips and see what works best for you. Remember, everyone is different and what works for one might not work for another. The best way to find out what works for you is to experiment until you find the perfect combination of diet and lifestyle choices that help keep you trim and happy.