Most Effective Ways to Prevent Bloating

Most Effective Ways to Prevent Bloating

Bloating is a common gastrointestinal issue affecting up to 30% of adults in the United States. While often harmless, it can cause discomfort, gas and stomach rumbling.

Bloating is basically a physical state in which the stomach feels larger or fuller than usual. Its severity can range from mild to severe and can significantly affect quality of life.

Potential causes of bloating include bowel syndrome (IBS), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), intestinal gas accumulation, irritable small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), food intolerance, ovarian cancer, chronic constipation and certain medications or supplements.

8 Ways to Reduce Bloating

To reduce bloating and associated symptoms, experts suggest a range of remedies, from diet and lifestyle changes to slowing down eating.

Eat Slower

Eating too fast can cause bloating due to the air you swallow while eating at a rapid rate. Eating too fast can also prevent the brain from having time to send signals of satiety, which tell you to stop eating once you’re satisfied.

Mindful eating can help slow down your eating speed, which can help you eat slowly, enjoy your food, and ultimately, reduce bloating.

Drink More Water

When you aren’t drinking enough water or are participating in activities that can dehydrate you, your body holds onto water, slowing digestion and causing you to become constipated which in turn leads to bloating.

Manage Constipation

Constipation occurs when stool remains in the intestines leading to waste and gas buildup. Common causes include a lack of sufficient dietary fiber, dehydration, excessive stress and a lack of exercise.

We recommend consuming two kiwifruits or 5-6 prunes per day as well as drinking enough water and eating fiber-rich foods can relieve constipation. Kiwifruit contains actinidin, an enzyme which stimulates receptors in the large intestine to encourage bowel movement. Prunes, on the other hand, contain sorbitol, which acts as a natural laxative. Both kiwi and prunes are rich in fiber as well.

Limit Fiber

While eating enough fiber is an important part of managing overall health, too much of it can worsen bloating. Moreover, the type of fiber one consumes can affect bloat.

Insoluble fibers such as whole grains, veggies and wheat bran remain largely intact throughout digestion, help pass food through the stomach and intestines quickly, and add bulk to stool.

Soluble fibers found in certain fruits, veggies, lentils, nuts, seeds, barley, peas, and oat bran are fermentable and break down to gel, which can contribute to bloat.

Avoid Trigger Foods

Certain foods and drinks worsen bloating like fried foods, carbonated drinks, fatty foods, beans, lentils, cabbage and others.

Try Probiotics

Probiotics are live microorganisms, such as bacteria and yeast, that are good for the body, according to the World Health Organization. They can be consumed through food or supplements, and research shows they may help reduce bloating.

One 2019 systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials shows a significant reduction in bloating in individuals taking probiotics, compared to those taking a placebo. The study also shows that probiotics may help improve stool frequency and consistency.

Reduce Salt Intake

Eating foods high in salt can contribute to bloating, as salt causes the body to retain water. To reduce salt intake, avoid processed foods and high-sodium foods like canned soups, deli meats, chips, and salted nuts.

Get Moving

Exercise hastens the movement of food through your digestive tract. Work out at Curves to get your heart rate up and your body moving to improve blood flow and oxygen to your digestive system, both of which help with bloating as well. Try a brisk walk, jog or bike ride, for example.

Reduce Stress

Stress can affect the digestive system, leading to bloating and other gastrointestinal symptoms. In fact, studies show a correlation between high levels of stress and increased symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, a common cause of bloating.

To help reduce stress, engage in mindfulness practices like deep breathing, yoga, meditation or guided imagery. Find a practice that works for you and make it part of your daily routine.

Take Digestive Enzymes

Digestive enzymes, such as amylase, protease, and lipase, help break down the nutrients in the foods we eat, making them easier for the body to digest. Some people may experience bloating due to a lack of digestive enzymes, particularly those who experience bloating after eating fatty meals.

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