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Reducing Bloating

This blog was created for those who experience constant bloating. It will explain why bloating may occur and what we can do to reduce it.

Firstly, I'm sure we all know the feeling of bloating. It is the very uncomfortable feeling that makes us feel full of air and makes your stomach look a lot larger than it usually is. If we want to know how to reduce our experience of bloating, we need to understand what may be causing us the bloating. There are numerous reasons that may trigger bloating, it is about the process of elimination when it comes to figuring out what causes it. Be aware of what we are doing before we feel bloated, what we eat and when etc. Also keep track of what we are doing to stop the bloating, it may help to write down the practices we have put in place to stop bloating. If we put certain practices in place to reduce bloating, and our bloating reduces, than that's a good sign that what we were/weren't doing before was the cause or at least one of the causes of our bloating.

What may be causing your bloating?

As stated before, there may be numerous reasons, but we will go through some of the most common reasons that we can control from this moment onwards. If you have a most serious case of bloating that the below reasons/tips cannot reduce, you should check with your GP.

  1. Intolerance to certain foods - this is probably one of the most common causes. Whether we know it or not, we may be intolerant to some foods. This is not an allergy, intolerance just means that our bodies lack the enzymes to digest certain foods effectively, so we feel side effects after eating those foods. It is usually just to do with our digestive system. Whereas, allergy means our bodies think that the certain thing is toxic and our immune system reacts affecting many of our organs etc. If we have an intolerance, it is normal for our bodies to react with bloating due to our digestive system lacking efficiency in digestion. Most common things we may be intolerant to are gluten or lactose.

  2. Eating high amounts of food in short period of time - especially after fasting or not eating for a longer than usual amount of time. Our bodies are only so efficient as digesting food, especially if we are eating protein based foods as protein is harder to digest. This reason is a more obvious reason, if we are stuffing our bodies with food in a short amount of time, it is common sense to know that we will feel quite bloated. This especially happens if we eat quickly and don't chew our food properly. Not chewing our food fully will make it harder to digest, which slows down our digestive system as our bodies need to continue to break down the food because our teeth didn't. Not chewing our food also leads to eating fasting and higher quantity in shorter time which can lead to bloating. Bloating may be made worse if you do this after fasting, this is due to digestive system needing to start working after a complete stop, whereas eating 3-5 hours after a meal, the digestive system will start back up more efficiently.

  3. Swallowing too much air - this might sound silly, because no one goes around swallowing air intentionally, but we may be doing it unintentionally. As stated above, eating too fast can increase oxygen uptake. Also other simple things we do that may not even cross our minds such as constantly chewing gum, anything that involves constant chewing (fingernails etc) and smoking may also cause more oxygen uptake that may cause bloating.

Bloating can be caused by one or numerous of the factors above, so it is best to try out a few things to see which works best for us.

What may reduce your bloating?

There are a couple of practices we could do to reduce bloating, most of which is doing the opposite of the above.

  1. Cut out foods or food groups that we may intolerance to. We could do this by the elimination process. For example, you stop eating dairy for a week or two to see how you feel. If you're a coffee with milk drinker every morning and you find yourself bloated every morning, you can try to stop adding milk to your coffee or add soy milk. If your bloating reduces in the mornings, that is an indication that it was the milk and your intolerance to lactose that is causing your bloating. The elimination process of cutting out foods works best especially if we are not aware of what we are intolerant to. So we slowly cut our certain food groups to see how our bodies react and if we feel better, there's a high chance that we are intolerant, even if it's the slightest intolerance, to that certain food group.

  2. Make sure we chew our food properly and do not eat quickly. This is harder said than done, but we should not eat while we are in a rush or walking around doing something else. We should be sitting down giving ourselves a certain amount of time (15-30 mins) to eat and do nothing else. This way our bodies can initially digest properly. We should always be in a relaxed state when eat, so our bodies are focused on digestion, if we eat when we are stressed or rushing, our bodies are in a stressed state (fight or flight) which means the last thing our bodies would care about is digestion. So take our time to eat and chew our food properly.

  3. Attempt to chew as less as possible or do thing like drink from a straw. If we want to chew gum after a meal etc, do not continue to chew for long periods after. After all, chewing gum is mainly for fresh breath, so there is no need to chew for long amounts of time.

  4. Something that also helps with reducing bloating is Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV). ACV is known to reduce bloating in our stomachs. We don't need to have a lot also which is a good thing as ACV has a very strong taste and many don't seem to love the taste. But we cannot deny the debloating effects. Only a tablespoon is enough when we take it. This can be taken by itself, just swallow a whole tablespoon in one go, or we can add it in a glass of water to dilute the taste. We can even add it as dressing over a salad to try hide the taste a little more. However, something to know is that ACV works best when it is taken alone (or with water).

So these are the main causes and methods, or the most common, of bloating and reducing bloating. If you are someone that experiences bloating often, give some of these tips a try and see how you feel after a week or two. I hope you will experience some relieving changes.