I cannot tell you the amount of times I have been around people and the sentence “ugh. I am so bloated today” was repeated. We seem to get bloated more than ever lately, and it went from being just a regular, barely noticeable bloat, to a bigger, much more painful one, that makes us look like we are ready to deliver a baby at any moment.
The reason for each person obviously differs, mine personally comes from dairy, gluten, and stress. Ah yes stress – the body’s worse enemy. It still puzzles me how something merely emotional could trigger such an intense physiological reaction.
One crucial thing to keep in mind, that I don’t follow myself but definitely should: DO NOT Google! You surely will stumble upon the worse diagnosis possible, which you will believe, hence add more stress to your life, hence… yes, you have guessed it: more stress means more bloating. It’s a vicious cycle.
I know how much of an annoyance it can be sometimes – aside from the pain being sharp, your mood can also take a hit; your clothes don’t fit you as nicely, your face feels puffy, you are constantly trying to cover up your stomach, you lose appetite, you have trouble sleeping. Thankfully, there are several precautions one can take in order to reduce, or eliminate bloating that I will list below.
However, if your symptoms do seem to worsen, and become more repetitive, it is important to seek a professional opinion in order to rule chronic autoimmune diseases out. Bloating can be due to several things such as constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, stress as we mentioned, food intolerance, reflux… Don’t worry though, doctors will tell you, most bloating cases are not that serious.
- Rule out food allergies and intolerances to common food
These two are relatively common. You can go to any gastroenterology doctor, or even a nutritionist, and get the food intolerance / allergies test. Symptoms for food allergies, or food intolerance are generally similar and tend to overlap. But, symptoms for food intolerances take longer to emerge, whereas allergies, even the slightest amount possible will lead to the symptoms.
Some common foods that people have suddenly become intolerant to are lactose, fructose, eggs, wheat, and gluten. Causes vary as to why you have become intolerant to certain foods – it can be due to an absence of an enzyme (for instance, people who are lactose intolerant do not have enough lactase, an enzyme that breaks down milk sugar. If lactose remains in the digestive tract, it can cause spasm, bloating, and gas). Another cause is the use of additives (which enhances flavors and increase products’ shelf lives) in the food industry – for instance, sulfites is an additive used in wine as a food preserver; ever wondered why wine makes you bloated?)
- Add Turmeric to your food (my personal miracle worker)
Turmeric has an active ingredient called curcumin, a fat-soluble antioxidant that gives the turmeric its vibrant yellow-orange color. Its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-microbial properties protect the stomach lining and reduce the occurrence of gastric diseases.
There was a study conducted of 440 people with abdominal issues – those who have added turmeric to their daily diet regimen, had a 67% improvement in bloating
You can take supplements, but I personally prefer to incorporate it into my food (you can add it to your eggs, rice, roasted vegetables…), and my tea. Here is a link that can show you a few ways to eat or drink turmeric alongside their respective recipes: https://www.thekitchn.com/7-ways-to-eat-drink-turmeric-198696
- Stop carbonated drinks
Not only are these fizzy drinks sugar-packed, but once consumed, their bubbles, which contain carbon dioxide, continue to be produced, causing a build-up of air in the food breakdown pathways.
Diet sodas are usually what people prefer to order thinking it’s a “healthier alternative” because of its low calorie-intake. However, what people choose to ignore is the fact that they are packed with artificial sweeteners (aspartame, sucralose, and cyclamate). They are linked to digestive distress because our bodies have trouble breaking it down, and they reduce the amount of healthy bacteria in our gut creating extra gas as you digest your food.
- Reduce salt intake
Sodium and chloride, found in salt, are electrolytes that play a role in managing your body’s fluid balance. When you consume too much of it, it causes fluid (water) retention, which affects the kidneys’ ability to rid the body of fluid and waste, which then causes the bloat. When you find yourself eating too much of it (fries, a bag of chips…), you will need to flush out the sodium by drinking water, and add potassium-rich foods after a salty meal such as fruits, or vegetables.
- Sip on water with freshly-squeezed lemon juice
“Why should I add more water in my body when I’m already bloated and retaining fluids?” is what most people ask themselves.
Retaining water is due to the body holding on to fluid so you avoid dehydration. It is crucial to drink water when bloated so that your body is no longer in fear of dehydration, it will therefore let go of the excess water that it is storing.
Adding lemon to your warm water has a lot of health benefits since lemons are a natural diuretic and gentle laxative. They can also help reduce the amount of salt retained in the body which causes bloating.
- Eat more bananas
Bananas contain potassium, which help flush out sodium from your body (part of what causes your body to bloat is you’ve consumed too much sodium). Bananas also contain soluble fiber; bloating can be a result of constipation, and a high-fiber diet can help prevent that
- Add ginger to your diet
Ginger has become everyone’s favorite when it comes to fighting against colds and achy muscle. However, what people do not know is that it is also helpful when it comes to bloating. Ginger is a natural anti-inflammatory as it soothes the digestive system and relaxes the muscles of the digestive tract. You can add it to your smoothies, salads, or my personal favorite: to your tea with a teaspoon of honey
- Eat some asparagus
As an anti-bloating superfood, asparagus, a natural diuretic, helps you flush all that excess water retained in your body, thus relieving any discomfort and bloat. It also acts like a prebiotic (the healthy bacteria) which aids in digestion. Chop it up into your salad, or add it as a side to your salmon, or chicken breast – squeeze a little lemon on top and voila.