There’s a number of reasons why a bloated stomach can occur, but one thing is for certain, it leaves us feeling extremely uncomfortable. Continue reading to discover the best ways to beat the bloat…
Abdominal bloating can be defined as the swelling or distension of the abdominal area, a common symptom most of us have experienced, usually after eating too much pizza or pudding.
Although a bloated stomach can be a harmless symptom of a little overindulging, it can be a sign of something more serious.
At an early age, I started experiencing chronic cramping, bloating and extreme weight fluctuations and was eventually diagnosed with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).
The pain and discomfort caused by these symptoms encouraged me to conduct extensive research into the most effective treatments which would leave me feeling better from the inside out!
Both inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can cause similar symptoms such as abdominal pain and changes in bowel habits. IBS affects up to 24% of women so if you experience ongoing symptoms it’s worth making an appointment with your GP.
IBD and IBS symptoms can be managed by prescribed medications, however, I’ve found that diet & nutrition, as well as lifestyle changes, can make a huge difference!
Whether you are suffering from IBD or IBS, or simply want to prevent and manage abdominal bloating, try the following methods!
Broccoli, Cabbage & Kale
Although these veggies are high in essential vitamins and minerals, such as iron, vitamin A and K, they also contain raffinose. This is a sugar which remains undigested until bacteria in your gut ferments it, producing gas and making you bloat.
Cheese, milk and yoghurt are all great sources of protein and calcium. However, 65% of people have a reduced ability to digest lactose. If you think you might be lactose intolerant, seek advice from your GP and try using dairy-free products such as almond milk or coconut yoghurt!
Bloating isn’t always a result of excess gas. Water levels can cause your weight to fluctuate by 2-4 pounds in a single day which can leave you feeling bloated. Foods high in sodium trigger water retention as your body will automatically hold onto water to balance out your water to sodium ratio.
As well as being high in fibre and water, papaya is also rich in the enzyme papain, which has been proven to relieve bloating and constipation by aiding digestion. I love chopping up whole papaya as a snack or using it in a smoothie or juice!
Known as an anti-bloating superfood, asparagus acts as a natural diuretic - helping you flush out excess water to help relieve symptoms of bloating. As an added bonus, asparagus is also high in antioxidants such as vitamin E, vitamin C and glutathione!
Consuming more ginger is a great way to combat inflammation and relieve stomach discomfort. One study discovered that eating ginger before a meal can speed up digestion by up to 50%, making it an effective, and natural, de-bloating method!
Exercise has a variety of health benefits both physically and mentally. A 2006 study has also found that moderate-intensity exercise can also significantly reduce symptoms of abdominal bloating as it helps gas pass through the digestive system!
Probiotics are live microorganisms which promote a healthy balance of gut bacteria - aiding digestion whilst also improving nutrient absorption. You can increase your consumption of probiotic foods by eating more fermented foods such as yoghurt and kimchi or taking probiotic supplements!
Don’t forget, in many cases, bloating is completely normal! Women are even embracing the bloat by taking to social media to share their experiences. However, if chronic bloating and discomfort persist, or if you have any other symptoms, please seek the advice of your GP as it might be something more serious.