Is bloating making your life miserable? You don’t have to suffer from bloating every day. You can work with it, learn from your body what bloating is trying to tell you, and discover what you can do to reduce or eliminate it.
Try these strategies to reduce bloating:
1. Determine the cause of your bloating
Experts suggest that food and beverage choices are usually the culprit. However, they’re not the only causes of bloating. Medications and side effects from medications can also create bloating. In addition, some chronic health disorders can lead to bloating.
If you’re concerned about bloating, consult your doctor or other health professional.
Beans are often blamed for bloating, and experts suggest that you may want to prepare them differently or avoid them.
If beans are causing bloating, it will help reduce it if you soak them properly before you cook. Then, you may want to cook them longer. If these tips don’t help, consider reducing or eliminating them.
You could also try taking Beano, a natural enzyme supplement. It breaks down the complex carbohydrates found in gassy foods into simpler, easily digestible sugars before they reach the colon,
3. Consider your cruciferous vegetables intake
Do you eat a lot of broccoli and cauliflower? These are both part of the cruciferous vegetable category and can cause bloating.
Cruciferous vegetables have a specific type of sugar that makes it more difficult to digest them. You may not have enough digestive enzymes to handle them. However, experts suggest taking supplements of digestive enzymes because these vegetables are important for a healthy diet.
A 2011 study found that if you want some of the many health benefits associated with eating broccoli or other cruciferous vegetables, you need to eat the real thing. The reason, researchers concluded, is that a necessary enzyme called myrosinase is missing from most of the supplement forms of glucosinolates, a valuable phytochemical in cruciferous vegetables. Without this enzyme found in the whole food, the study found that the body actually absorbs five times less of one important compound and eight times less of another.
4. Are you lactose intolerant?
Do you feel sick after eating a bowl of ice cream or a piece of cheese? You may have lactose intolerance, and it can cause bloating.
Dairy has lactose, which is a type of sugar, and not everyone can digest it. You may want to try lactose digestive supplements to help. These supplements have lactase, which is an enzyme that breaks down the lactose.
On the other hand, according to Dennis A. Savaiano, dean of Purdue University’s School of Consumer and Family Sciences and a specialist on lactose intolerance, a glass of milk may be the best medicine for those suffering from lactose intolerance. Consuming milk, he says, can help people recondition their digestive systems to accept dairy foods without discomfort. His studies have found that controlled consumption – such as a half-glass of milk on a full stomach – can help the body build up a tolerance for lactose products.
“If you only consume dairy products once in awhile, you are more likely to have symptoms from them,” Savaiano says. “Also, if you consume them by themselves, as opposed to as part of a meal, they tend to be transported throughout the intestine more rapidly and are more likely to cause symptoms.”
5. Monitor your salt intake
Are you eating large amounts of salty or processed foods?
Salt can lead to bloating, so it will benefit you to watch how much you eat. Potato chips and processed food can have high amounts of salt. Even soup and some bread can contain a lot of salt. Read the nutrition label on the product to determine how much salt you’re consuming.
Pink Himalayan, Breton Gray and Hawaiian Alea – the newer offerings of sea salt may be exotic, cost more and frequent the shelves of high-end stores, but they are just as bad for you as common table salt.
“Typically people opt for natural vs. processed to avoid preservatives such as sodium, but in this case, all salt is sodium,” says Ashley Barrient, clinical dietitian, Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery & Bariatric Care. “Sea salt and table salt have an equivalent sodium content despite sea salt being deemed less processed than table salt due to the way it is produced.”
6. Check your fruits
Certain fruits can make you feel bloated and uncomfortable.
Even common fruits such as apples can cause bloating. Fruits have high levels of sugars that can be hard for some people to digest. You may want to watch your fruit intake and try different kinds that have lower sugar amounts.
7. Try ginger
Ginger can help you reduce bloating and heal your digestive system. You can add ginger in several ways to your diet. Chew on ginger candies or dried pieces. Drink ginger teas. Add ginger to your cooking.
Ginger supplements reduced markers of colon inflammation in a select group of patients, suggesting that this supplement may have potential as a colon cancer prevention agent, according to a study published in 2011 in Cancer Prevention Research.
8. Try peppermint to reduce bloating
Peppermint can also reduce bloating and make you feel better. Peppermint is a popular herb for several stomach issues. Try adding the herb to your food or drink teas made from it.
Researchers in Australia have shown how peppermint helps to relieve irritable bowel syndrome, which affects up to 20 percent of the population. In a 2011 paper, they explain how peppermint activates an “anti-pain” channel in the colon, soothing inflammatory pain in the gastrointestinal tract.
“Our research shows that peppermint acts through a specific anti-pain channel called TRPM8 to reduce pain sensing fibres, particularly those activated by mustard and chilli. This is potentially the first step in determining a new type of mainstream clinical treatment for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS),” Dr Stuart Brierley says. “Some people find their symptoms appear after consuming fatty and spicy foods, coffee and alcohol, but it is more complex than that. There appears to be a definite link between IBS and a former bout of gastroenteritis, which leaves nerve pain fibres in a heightened state, altering mechanisms in the gut wall and resulting in ongoing pain.”
9. Eliminate or cut down on sodas
Are you drinking a soda with every meal? Sugary sodas – and even natural, fizzy drinks – can cause bloating. The carbonation is to blame, but you can eliminate it and reduce the bloating.
You may not think of the fizz in soda as spicy, but your body does.
The carbon dioxide in fizzy drinks sets off the same pain sensors in the nasal cavity as mustard and horseradish, though at a lower intensity, according to 2010 research from the University of Southern California. (http://www.jneurosci.org/content/30/39/12958)
“Carbonation evokes two distinct sensations. It makes things sour and it also makes them burn. We have all felt that noxious tingling sensation when soda goes down your throat too fast,” said Emily Liman, senior author of a study published online in the Journal of Neuroscience.
That burning sensation comes from a system of nerves that respond to sensations of pain, skin pressure and temperature in the nose and mouth.
10. See your doctor
Women often feel bloated after eating or drinking a lot, especially during their menstrual cycles. But a woman may have ovarian cancer if she continues feeling bloated for more than two weeks or after her period ends.
“Ovarian cancer is called ‘the silent killer,'” says Barbara Yawn, M.D., director of research at Olmsted Medical Center. “We know now that there are symptoms, yet it appears that women ignore them and physicians don’t recognize the potential urgency of evaluating the symptoms.”
The most common symptom found in the records of the 107 ovarian cancer patients studied was crampy abdominal pain.
Looking for ovarian cancer is a bit like looking for a zebra in a field of horses.
“Someone can go to the doctor with bloating, and usually the physician will investigate for the common things,” says Dr. Brigitte Barrette, M.D., a Mayo Clinic gynecologist. “It’s like when someone goes to the emergency room with a headache. Most of the time, it’s not a stroke. But, that should be considered.”
Bloating doesn’t have to rule your life and make you feel sick. Take control. Find the culprits that are causing your bloating and eliminate them.