Avoid these common habits that lead to bloating and learn new ways to soothe your tummy next time around.
Have you ever found yourself feeling way too full after a meal? Or does your stomach suddenly feel crampy and gassy at random times during the day? It happens to all of us on occasion. However, dealing with these types of uncomfortable feelings long term can be frustrating, but it doesn’t have to be this way—with the right knowledge you can conquer bloating once and for all!
Bloating, not to be confused with water weight, refers to gas, air, or even solids that are trapped in the gastrointestinal tract. This most often leads to a reported feeling of a full or tight abdomen and can even affect the appearance of the belly. As many as 30% of people report regularly experiencing bloating (1). Additionally, there are many people that suffer silently from bloating, not understanding what causes it or realizing that it could be addressed with the right lifestyle adjustments. Thankfully, with a little understanding of some of the underlying causes and the management options available, bloating is something that can easily be addressed.
What Causes Bloating?
The most common culprits that lead to bloating, or an accumulation of gas and air, are related to our eating habits (2). The way we eat, what we are eating, and other lifestyle factors that affect our eating choices are the primary drivers for how much gas is present in the gut at any given moment. Understanding the exact mechanisms behind some of our most detrimental eating habits can help you feel instantly empowered to make a few simple yet life-altering changes.
The Speed at Which You Eat
Eating too fast can lead to excessive swallowing of air. Plus, if you miss the cue that you’re full and overeat, your body will be overloaded with food to digest—leading to the unwanted bloated feeling.
We all have a unique digestive tract that may be sensitive to certain foods. By simply tuning into how your gut responds to certain foods groups, you can start to discern foods that are causing gas and bloating. You can try cutting them out completely for a while and then introduce them back in when you’re ready and see how you feel. Common food sensitivities include dairy, gluten, and eggs.
Lack of fiber and poor hydration can leave your bowels moving slower than expected. When solids become stagnant in the gastrointestinal tract this can trap gas where you don’t want it. Slowly increasing your fiber intake and drinking enough water are great places to start. Additionally, stress management and regular exercise can also help keep you regular.
Other Activities That Are Causing You to Swallow Air
Outside of eating, there are also a few habits that may be causing you to ingest more air than you realize. These include using a straw, chewing gum, and smoking.
How to Relieve Bloating Naturally
As you read through the list of causes above, you’ve probably already realized there are some easy remedies for reducing bloat. Taking the natural approach is best when trying to find relief. Outside of the options already discussed, there are a few other natural remedies that can help you take your battle with bloat to the next level.
Balance Your Gut Flora
Our digestive tract is filled with bacteria, known as the microbiome. Each of us has a unique microbiome that is determined by our diet, stress, and more. Ideally, the gut bacteria are in balance, with mostly “good” bacteria that help us break down and properly absorb the nutrients in our food (3). However, a poor diet, too much stress, being sedentary, and many other factors can throw our gut out of balance. After addressing some of the underlying causes, this is where a probiotic can help. A high quality daily probiotic can supply more of the good bacteria in your gut, helping support proper digestion and minimizing painful and embarrassing gas and other digestive issues.
Calm Your Gut
If you are bloated more often than not, your gut is giving you a big S.O.S. Outside of trying an elimination diet, it might be time to reach for some gut calming remedies. Certain foods and supplements have been found to soothe the digestive tract and give you some much needed relief. These foods include peppermint tea, ginger, pineapple, parsley, and probiotic rich yogurt (4).
If you want to give your gut even more concentrated relief, it’s a good time to consider a turmeric ginger supplement. Ginger naturally stimulates the body’s own digestive enzymes, while curcumin (the active ingredient in turmeric) supports better fat and toxin breakdown during the digestive process. This all leads to less discomfort from bloating, constipation, and gas.
Live a Balanced Life
If you make changes to support your digestion and eat better without addressing your overall health, you may not get the results you want. For example, being in a constant state of stress makes it nearly impossible for your gut to properly digest food (5). And of course, this can lead to bloating. Finding ways to take care of your mental and physical health is always important for good health. This means taking time to relax, exercise, and connect with others. Make sure you’re taking time to de-stress. This will translate to better digestion, better weight management, and other great health benefits.
Don’t Let Bloating Rule Your Life
Ultimately, living a bloat free life comes down to more than just one quick fix. As you can now see, it is a multi-factorial concern that is best addressed with the right lifestyle choices. With small changes to your diet, the addition of a digestion supporting supplement, and a big dose of healthy habits, you can finally take control of your unwanted bloating, and start feeling your best.