Most of the people suffer from bloating, even when they have not had a large meal. In some severe cases, bloating may cause distension of the abdomen. What and how you eat is the main cause of bloating or gas. Hence making a few simple changes in your diet will help.
Below are the common causes of bloating and ways to avoid them:
- The most common cause is overeating. Hence eating smaller portions should ease the pain.
- Unlike protein and carbohydrates, fat takes longer time to digest there by keeping your stomach full. Hence eating foods rich in fat makes you feel uncomfortable. It’s best to limit the intake of fats in your daily diet.
- Eating your food too fast increases the risk of bloating after a meal. So, it’s best to eat more slowly. It takes about 20 minutes for satiety signals to reach brain and to reduce appetite. Hence eating slowly also helps to prevent overeating.
Gas in the abdomen is the second most common cause for temporary bloating. In the digestive system, about half of the gas is swallowed air. Rest of the gas is due to the gut bacteria that helps to digest food. If the GI tract is unable to move the gas through efficiently, then gas builds up in the intestines, causing discomfort and bloating.
Hence to prevent this, avoid the following habits which increases the amount of air you swallow:
- Chewing gum
- Drinking liquids through a straw
- Sucking a hard candy
- Drinking carbonated beverages
Some tend to swallow more air when being nervous. Hence practice ways to reduce stress and anxiety like progressive muscle relaxation or breathing exercises. This will help to reduce excessive build up of gas in the abdomen.
Avoid Foods That Induce Bloat
Foods that are difficult to digest cause this condition. Below are a few of them:
- Certain foods like lentils and beans contain oligosaccharides which are indigestible sugars. These sugars have to be broken down in the intestines by bacteria.
- Some fruits and veggies contain sugars and starches that may lead to bloating like cauliflower, cabbage, apricots, Brussels sprouts, prunes, and carrots.
- If you have problem with digesting lactose, then dairy products may cause intestinal distress there by leading to this condition.
- Sweeteners are also one of the causes. Fructose is a natural sugar and is added to many processed foods. Many people find it hard to digest fructose. Sorbitol is an artificial sweetener and cannot be digested. Hence be aware of these sweeteners in the food you consume and limit their intake to avoid bloating.
- Whole grains though have many health benefits can sometimes be the cause of bloating. They are healthy because of their high fiber content. But fiber is a carbohydrate which is indigestible. Sudden increase in the amount of fiber in the diet may cause bloating, gas and constipation. Hence increase the amount of fiber in your diet slowly there by giving time for your body to adjust. When consuming high fiber foods, it’s best to drink plenty of water as all the fibers absorb water. This helps to move the fiber through the GI system thereby preventing bloating, gas and constipation.