Nobody likes to feel bloated. Our clothes fit tighter, our bodies groan and moan, and we don’t move as easy when bloating occurs. Here are some of the common causes for this unpleasant symptom and 5 basic tips on how to beat bloating.
Common Causes Of Bloating
Bloating occurs when our bodies retain fluids and/or air within our digestive systems. This can be caused by certain gas-producing foods or it can even be a sign that you are allergic to certain ingredients such as gluten or lactose. We can also retain extra water weight when we consume high amounts of sodium (salt). Another very common cause for bloating is constipation, which is the slowing of liquid and solid wastes in the digestive tract. This trapped waste is terribly uncomfortable, and can lead to much more serious health issues if not treated properly. Certain medications can also cause fluid retention and constipation, which can lead to bloating. Know the common side effects of your medicines so that you can choose the best remedy for bloating.
1. Over the Counter Treatments
There are two types of over the counter medications that act specifically as a cure for bloating. The first type is to prevent bloating and the key ingredient is called alpha-D-galactosidase. Taking this enzyme supplement before you eat, aids in the digestion of certain foods like vegetables and beans. The second type is a medicine containing simethicone, which you can take after the symptoms of bloating appear. Simethicone works by deflating bubbles or pockets of gas trapped in our intestines and stomach. Taking a simethicone treatment that contains magnesium and aluminum will also reduce stomach acid, and stomach acid’s been shown to worsen symptoms.
2. Control Our Portion Sizes
Another common cause of bloating is eating too much. This is just one more reason to pay attention, and control the sizes of our portions when eating. Know the basic rules of portions before sitting down to eat:
- 1 Serving of Pasta = ½ cup, or about the size of the front of your hand in a fist
- 1 Serving of Meat = 3 ounces, or about the size of the palm of your hand
- 1 Serving of Butter = 1 teaspoon, or about the size of your fingertip
In addition to keeping portion sizes in check, try eating more slowly also. It takes about 15 minutes for our stomachs to signal to our brains that we are getting full. Eating slower gives us more control over how much we consume. Eating too quickly can also introduce more air into our bodies as we swallow, adding to the problem of bloating.
3. Eat Less Fats
Fatty or oily foods can slow our digestive systems significantly, which means the food we eat isn’t moving through our bodies properly. Food that stays in the intestines for too long will release more gas as the body tries to digest it. This can cause painful pockets of trapped air in the gut, as well as frequent constipation.
4. Eat More Fiber
Try replacing some of that greasy meat dish with a bit of freshly steamed veggies or a salad instead. The fiber in the fresh food will help your body process the food you eat, which aids in digestion and alleviates excess gas.
5. Drink More Water
Drinking plenty of water does many wonderful things for our bodies. As a remedy for constipation, it is the best possible cure. If we drink enough water, the fiber we ingest will work more effectively, and keep our digestive tracts hydrated and clear as everything moves along continuosly. Staying hydrated also reduces our risk of water retention due to over-consumption of sodium. Additionally, drinking more water helps keep us from over eating, which as aforementioned, is a leading cause of intestinal discomfort.
There are several simple ways to prevent and to treat the causes of bloating. These tips, when used regularly can lead to better eating habits and even a cleaner diet. When you treat the symptoms of bloating with dietary modifications, you are likely to see not only less bloating but also less constipation, reduced water retention and even notable weight loss. Remember, if painful gas or bloating occurs often, a visit to your doctor is highly recommended.