How to Prevent BloatingMar 13, 2023
Bloating is a natural body response—oftentimes, it’s a short-term problem that can be resolved on its own.
However, if not managed properly, bloating can become a chronic issue. The constant discomfort is not good for your mental or digestive health!
While you can’t rid your body of bloating indefinitely, there are things you can do to help reduce the number of times you experience it and the severity.
What is Bloating?
Bloating is the uncomfortable sensation of having trapped gas or increased pressure in your gut. Trapped gas can also result in stomach cramps but bloating is one of the most common gastrointestinal symptoms, occurring in 16-31% of the general population. When you experience bloating, you’ve likely experienced enlargement and tightness in your waist. This is called abdominal distension.
Causes of Bloating
In technical terms, gases like oxygen, carbon dioxide, nitrogen, hydrogen and methane infiltrate your gut and increase the gas and tension levels in your stomach.
Gas levels in your gut rise due to:
- Swallowing excess air from eating large meals. This can also happen if you eat too quickly.
- Consuming foods that contain compounds such as fiber, sugar alcohols and FODMAPS
- Food intolerances like dairy, gluten or fructose
- Drinking carbonated beverages
- Increased fluid in your bowels
- Constipation and irregular bowel movements
- Imbalances within your gut microbiome, also known as the gut’s ecosystem
- Visceral hypersensitivity, which is an increased sensitivity to the pain in your organs
- Stress and anxiety
- High-fat meals
- Weight gain
- Menstrual cycle changes
3 Ways to Increase Awareness & Prevent Bloating
My first recommendation is to start a food journal. By entering what you ate and any corresponding symptoms that occur afterwards, you become more aware of your digestion triggers. Knowing these triggers is a great first step in preventing bloating!
Next, limit your consumption of these trigger foods.
Certain foods contain high amounts of nondigestible or hard-to-digest compounds. These compounds include soluble and insoluble fiber, sugars such as raffinose and fructose and other sugar alcohols.
Due to the poor digestion efficiency of these compounds, they tend to get stuck in the large intestine where they ferment and cause gas buildup.
Common foods with these compounds are:
- Vegetables like onions, garlic, broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, and cabbage
- Fruits such as prunes, apples, pears, and peaches
- Wheat, oats, wheat germ, wheat bran and other whole grains
- Beans, lentils, peas, and baked beans
- Sugar alcohols and artificial sweeteners that are found in artificial sweeteners and sugar-free chewing gum. Look for xylitol, sorbitol, and mannitol on the ingredient list.
- Soda and other carbonated beverages
Consider a lactose intolerance.
If you find a connection between eating dairy and feeling pressure in your belly, don’t ignore it! Lactose intolerance is a common cause of bloating. Bodies need the lactase enzyme in order to break down lactose, a sugar found in milk. Our bodies don’t respond the best to sugars, especially this one!
As children, most of us have an adequate amount of lactase and we’re able to eat cheese and drink milk without experiencing symptoms. Once you reach adulthood, your body’s ability to produce lactase decreases, resulting in lactose intolerance.
When you suffer from lactose intolerance, the undigested lactose pulls large amounts of water into your intestines and colon, which leads to diarrhea. Additionally, your gut bacteria bugs will feed on the lactose and produce hydrogen, causing stomach pain, gas and bloating.
Try limiting your dairy intake to reduce your symptoms. A certified health practitioner can also confirm if you are lactose intolerant.
Lastly, incorporate habits that support regular bowel movements.
Hydration, fiber and movement are crucial for regulating your bowel movements. Having consistent movements prevents constipation, which causes the non-digestible components to spend more time fermenting in your gut.
When you actively try to limit the likelihood of experiencing constipation, you’re also minimizing your chances of bloating, too!
To improve symptoms of constipation:
- Increasing your fiber intake slowly. Boosting your fiber intake too rapidly may worsen constipation. Aim for 25–35 grams per day of both soluble and insoluble fiber.
- Staying hydrated. Drink approximately half your body weight per day of water. Try adding herbal teas and electrolytes. Avoid Gatorade and its high-sugar content. This brand is a great alternative!
- Exercising regularly. Walking, jogging, swimming, or bicycling for about 30 minutes each day may help keep your bowels moving regularly. Yoga and stretching are also gentle ways to help get those gases moving and passed.
Learn more about these habits and get tips and recommendations on how to add them to your daily routine in the 3 Days to Better Digestion guide! Download your copy here.
You Deserve to Feel Comfortable in Your Body!
If you feel like you’ve tried everything to no avail, it might be time for a comprehensive stool test. A GI Map will provide a better picture of what’s going on in your gut and help you get to the root cause of your bloating.
Schedule a FREE 15-minute Consultation with Emilie to learn more about stool testing and how it can help!
Contact me for a FREE 15-Minute Discovery Call to start your journey to good health.
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