10 Ways to Beat the Bloat
Updated: Nov 4, 2021
We all know the feeling. You feel swollen, gassy, and just all around uncomfortable. Luckily, there are natural (and easy) ways to quickly get rid of your bloating when it occurs and prevent it all together.
Unfortunately, bloating is a common sensation for most of us. It’s characterized by the swollen feeling in your belly that typically occurs after eating. Bloating is usually caused by excess gas production or disturbances of the muscle movements in the digestive tract. It can cause discomfort, pain, and the feeling of being stuffed. Bloating can also cause your stomach to look bigger.
Bloating is fairly common, with around 16-30% of Americans reporting that they regularly experience bloating. Bloating can be caused by a number of factors. You may have digestive issues that cause bloating, or you’re simply eating too fast. Food intolerances or other digestive problem that causes gas could also lead to bloating. The menstrual cycle is another very common cause of bloating for women.
Luckily, there are a number of ways to stop your bloating!
1. Eat more fiber
Foods rich in fiber will help to increase the amount of time the food you eat spends being digested. The longer the food is in your GI tract, the less likely you are to become bloated.
Foods high in fiber include:
2. Drink water first thing in the morning
Starting your day with a lukewarm glass of water with lemon and fresh ginger is one of the easiest ways to reduce bloating! Warm water helps to stimulate digestion better than cold water. Ginger and the citric acid in the lemon can also aid digestion. A big glass of water can offer immediate digestive relief and rehydration after a good night’s sleep.
3. Avoid chewing gum
Unfortunately, despite being a great way to stay true to your fast, chewing gum is also a common cause of bloating. The sugar alcohol in chewing gum can cause some people to become bloated. Also, as you chew gum, you swallow air. This can further lead to bloating and gas pain. Try using a peppermint or ginger mint to freshen your breath instead!
4. Go for a long stroll
Going for a long walk or getting some form of physical activity can help to expel excess gas that could be causing you to bloat. Exercise will also help to increase circulation, which will also aid digestion and get things moving through the intestinal tract. A quick walk around the block can quickly provide relief from the gas pressure of bloating.
5. Eat mindfully
Rather than quickly scarfing own your meal, try to include some practices of mindfulness into your dinner routine. This will prevent you from overeating and will also help you to eat slower. Several studies have found that eating mindfully can lead to great benefits to glucose levels and heart health when compared to traditional weight-loss programs.
Some tips for mindful eating include:
Take three deep breaths before your first bite to slow your mind and make you more aware of your food
Eat in a seated and grounded position with your feet flat on the floor
Chew your food thoroughly, aiming for around 20 times per bite
6. Avoid processed foods
Processed foods like bread, chips, pastries, fast food, granola bars, and sugary cereals are typically high in salt and fat and low in fiber. The fat will slow down the digestive process because it takes longer to digest. The salt will cause excess water retention. Both of these things can lead to bloating and constipation.
The lack of nutrients in processed foods will also leave you feeling hungrier even though calorie consumption is increased. This will lead to more eating that will further the problem.
7. Try a yoga pose or two
There are several different yoga poses that can help to relax the muscles of the abdomen in a way that promotes the discharge of excess gas in the intestinal tract. This will help to reduce bloating and promote digestion.
Yoga poses to decrease bloating include:
Apanasana → In this pose, you simply lie down and pull your knees to your chest. Keeping your hands on your knees, rock from side to side. Keep the pose for 5 to 10 breaths and then release.
Supine spinal twist → To enter this pose, lie down and hug your knees to your chest. As you exhale, drop your knees to the left. To increase the stretch, push your knees down with your left hand. Turn your head to the right and stretch out your arms. Keep the pose for 5 to 10 breaths and then release.
Bridge pose → Lie on the floor and bend your knees, keeping your feet flat on the floor and your arms beside your body. Slowly raising your hips up will help to stretch your chest. To improve digestion further, press one hip up and hold the pose for 5 breaths before switching to the other side.
8. Use peppermint capsules
Peppermint oil capsules are another helpful way to decrease bloating, indigestion, and related gas. They are usually marketed as a treatment for symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, but they can be useful even if you don’t have IBS.
Peppermint has the special ability to relax the intestinal muscles, which will allow for gas and stool to more easily pass through the digestive tract. Be wary if you are prone to heartburn, however, as it can worsen symptoms.
9. Try an abdominal massage
Massaging your abdomen can help to get the bowels moving a relieve bloating. If you follow the path of the large intestines with your massage, it will be especially helpful. Follow these steps to do so:
Place your hands just above your right hip bone
Applying light pressure, rub your stomach in circular motions up towards the right side of the rib cage
Then, rub straight across the upper belly area towards the left rib cage
Repeat these steps as necessary
10. Follow a nutrigenomic diet!
A very likely cause of your bloating could be an unknown food intolerance caused by the interaction of your genetics and the food you eat. The only way to discover how your body truly processes food is through nutrigenomic testing. Nutrigenomics will also inform you which nutrients and foods will influence your genes towards health and protect your DNA from damage.
Simply put, nutrigenomics shows us which nutrients and foods influence our genes toward optimal health. For example, we all know that inflammation can lead to chronic diseases but you may not know that there are many different genes that regulate specific inflammatory pathways. Knowing your DNA blueprint will allow us to target these pathways with foods that will reduce inflammation and decrease your risk of chronic disease.
Your genetics also determine how you respond to nutrients. This is why the “one size fits all” diet does not work. Your individual genetic make-up may predispose you to a particular disease process that may be prevented by personalized nutrition.
If you're interested in genomic testing or seeking a cure to your bloating, click here to learn more! Or contact our office at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule your complimentary 15-minute discovery call.
The Johnson Center for Health services patients in-person in our Blacksburg and Virginia Beach locations. We also offer telemedicine for residents of Virginia and North Carolina!