When your stomach is bloated, you’ll feel puffed up and full, as though you’ve eaten a big meal. Being bloated typically feels very uncomfortable. Your belly will also look bigger, as it will be distended and feel swollen.
Bloating occurs in your stomach when your gastrointestinal (GI) tract is filled with air or excess gas. The onset of belly-bloating can be sudden, especially if you’ve just eaten something that has triggered bloating to occur.
The fact that being bloated makes your stomach look bigger and your pants feel tighter isn’t the main reason why you’ll hate being bloated. It also feels awkward and uncomfortable.
Nobody likes the sensation of a ballooning belly, so it’s natural to want to learn how to reduce bloating.
When you’re bloated, it’ll feel like there’s increased pressure in your abdomen, and it’s a similar feeling to being ‘stuffed’ after eating a large meal. Often, when you’re bloated, it’s not because you overate or just had a large meal – it’s because you ate the wrong foods. Many people have food intolerances that they’re unaware of, such as sensitivity to gluten or lactose.
Before we get into some tips for how to reduce bloating, let’s figure out why your stomach is bloated in the first place.
What Causes Bloating?
Many different things can cause bloating to occur. Below are some common reasons why people get bloated:
- Food allergies or food intolerances such as lactose intolerance
- Eating too fast
- Drinking too much liquid or drinking too fast
- Drinking too much carbonated soda
- Consuming too much salt (eating salty foods)
- Too much fiber
- Swallowing too much air (from chewing gum or smoking)
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Top Tips for How to Reduce Bloating
You may find that a few simple changes to the way you eat can drastically reduce how often you’re bloated. Below are some tips for how to reduce bloating:
Don’t Eat Foods that Give You Gas
Certain foods (especially foods high in fibre) can make some people have too much gas, which results in a bloated stomach. You can keep a food log or food diary to track which foods lead to excess gas and bloating.
Some foods that are known to produce a lot of gas include:
- Legumes (beans and lentils)
- Wheat or gluten
- Dairy products
Remember that salty foods can also cause bloating, so be mindful of the salt or sodium levels in the food you eat.
Train yourself to eat your meals more slowly, and chew your food for longer. When you chew your food for longer, you’ll eat slower and you’ll also reduce the amount of air you swallow with the food. Remember that swallowing too much air (which can happen when you eat too fast) can cause bloating.
Eating slowly also helps you not overeat. When you eat fast, your body doesn’t have time to realize it’s full and satisfying.
Change Up Your Liquids
Perhaps it’s time to cut back on the carbonated sodas, which are known to cause bloating and aren’t healthy, either.
While it can be difficult to break the bad habit of drinking soda, especially if you’re used to it, most people find that it only takes 21 days to form a new habit.
This means that if you can stick to the plan of drinking water instead of soda for 21 days, after that, you’ll be used to it and it won’t be as difficult to resist the sodas anymore.
Beer is another liquid that causes bloating. Try to limit the number of days per month that you drink beer.
Physical activity, such as going for a walk or doing some yoga poses, can help you release excess gas and get your bowels moving.
Certain yoga poses are known for helping people relieve themselves of trapped or built-up gas. These poses include Child’s Pose, Warrior Pose and Happy Baby Pose.
Massage Your Belly
Massaging your belly when you’re bloated might be a little bit painful, but it can help you release trapped gas and trigger a healthy bowel movement, which helps reduce bloating.
There are many YouTube tutorials that demonstrate how to perform a self-massage on your belly that follows the path of the large intestine, which is especially helpful for mastering how to reduce bloating.
A little pain or discomfort is normal when performing this type of massage on yourself, but if it’s very painful, you shouldn’t do it.
Eat Potassium-Rich Foods
Potassium is a bloat-busting mineral and electrolyte. Bananas, swiss chard, avocados, salmon and edamame are some examples of foods rich in potassium that might help reduce bloating.
Bananas are a great source of both potassium and soluble fibre, which is why eating a banana can help your body flush out excess sodium (a common cause for bloating).
Drink Peppermint or Ginger Tea
Peppermint tea is a herbal tea known to be a great natural remedy for many digestive issues, such as bloating. Other teas that can help combat bloating include ginger tea, fennel tea, and green tea.
Check for Food Intolerances or Food Allergies
It’s quite common for people to be unaware that they have a food intolerance since the symptoms aren’t too serious for many people. For example, lactose intolerance has very minor symptoms for many people, such as gas and bloating.
The food intolerances that cause bloating include an egg allergy, lactose intolerance, fructose intolerance and gluten sensitivity.
You might have a genetic predisposition to being lactose intolerant or sensitive to gluten. You can find out what food intolerances you might have by taking a DNA test with CircleDNA. You can find out more by getting your doctor to order lab tests for you, to find out which foods you should stop eating. If you want to find out specifically about your food sensitivities, a Circle SnapShot Food Sensitivity Test will be able to help.
The best way to master how to reduce bloating is by experimenting with the above remedies and keeping track of which ones work for you. It’s also wise to keep a food diary to keep track of which foods cause bloating.
There are over-the-counter digestive enzymes and gas relief pills that can reduce pressure and bloating, but you might not need to buy them if a natural remedy works for you. That’s why you should try out the natural remedies in this article first, to see if you can combat bloating at home on your own. If you can figure out which foods you’re sensitive to and cut them from your diet or modify your diet, you’ll likely also experience less bloating.