Bloating is very common and is usually not due to any serious medical problem. Bloating can leave you feeling very uncomfortable, sluggish, depressed and awkward and can also be associated with belching, extreme abdominal pain and constipation. Bloating is caused by excess air trapped in your digestive tract and can be caused by excessive air swallowing while eating and drinking too fast.
It usually takes hours for symptoms of bloating to go away. Changing your diet and bad eating habits can help avoid these uncomfortable symptoms. Listed below are a few tips to help you prevent bloating.
Tip #1: Chew Your Food More Slowly
Eating your food in a rush prevents you from chewing thoroughly and leaves large pieces of food in your mouth. Large chucks of food are more difficult to digest and may lead to increase intestinal gas. You are usually unaware as to how fast you are chewing or swallowing. When you are in a hurry, you’re eating pattern changes in a way that increases your chances of gulping air while swallowing large indigestible pieces of food.
To correct this problem, give yourself at least 20 minutes to eat. Sit down and chew your meals slowly, taking at least 5 chews before each swallow. When drinking with your meals, limit your liquid intake to fluids without bubbles. Also, sip your drink instead of gulping your drinks taken with your meals.
Tip #2: Milk & Diary Products
Eliminating milk and dairy products will reduce your exposure to lactose. Lactose is the primary sugar found in milk products. Approximately 65% of the population suffers from lactase insufficiency. Lactase is the enzyme which helps to metabolize lactose. When you’re unable to metabolize lactose because of lactase insufficiency, you will consume large partials of sugar which are difficult to digest and results in pulling more fluid into your intestinal tract causing bloating and gas. When eating milk products it is best that you drink water in between consumptions. Water may have the effect of diluting the lactose content of your foods and help them to digest the food. This process will also decrease your bloating.
Tip #3: Give up Soda
Carbonated beverages will increase your chances of bloating. Tiny bubbles found in carbonated drinks such as soda, cider, sparkling water, etc. can cause your stomach to swell. Even more so, diet soda contains artificial sweeteners that may also be difficult to digest. To lower your chances of bloating and to lower your chances of gaining weight, stop drinking sodas and eliminate carbonated beverages.
Tip #4: Eating Cruciferous Vegetables
Cruciferous Vegetables are vegetables that include cabbage, bok choy, broccoli, cauliflower and kale. Although vegetables are a good source of fiber, they can also cause gas and bloating. Cruciferous vegetables all represent foods that have hard-to-break-down fiber. This non-digestible fiber can result in gas and bloating. To counteract this problem, you may try steaming your veggies. This process will help soften the fiber and enhance the nutrient absorption.
Other products such as beans are high in protein but are difficult to digest. As a result, beans can cause gas and bloating.
Tip #5: Salt Intake
The suggested amount of sodium intake is 2300mg per day. By reducing your salt intake, you can prevent the side effects of water retention. Gas and bloating are all associated with access retention of water in all parts of your body.
Tip #6: Chewing Gum and Hard Candy
The process of constantly chewing and swallowing can generate digestive activity while not having food products to digest. This process will result in revving up your metabolic digestive system while having no foods within the tank to digest. The result is often times gas and bloating. By limiting your intake of gum and hard candy, you may decrease the amount of air that you swallow and as a result sever less digestive distress.
Tip #7: Time Your Meals Properly
A number of us, due to multiple jobs or overwhelming work actives, come home exhausted. After eating a meal we often times collapse and are fast asleep. It is this sleep period when your body is trying to digest your large meal that causes you to experience gas and bloating. You may also experience symptoms of reflux and/or heartburn from this close association between eating large volumes of foods and lying down for bed. Try to limit your food intake after 8pm. By that time you should reduce your diet to simple fruits and low portions of whatever product you decide to consume.
Overall, reducing your caloric intake and following diets low in fats and sugars will increase your chances of losing weight as well as decrease your chances of gas and bloating. Having regular bowel movements and eliminating constipation is the key factor to in preventing gas and bloating.
Dr. Donald Henderson is Medical Director of Encore Wellness & Weight Loss and has a private practice specializing in Gastroenterology and Internal Medicine in Los Angeles, CA.