Tired of dealing with a bloated stomach? Trying to figure out what causes bloating? Looking for some quick and easy remedies? Well, get ready to say bye-bye to bloating!
Read more: Check out our 15 easy ways to beat bloating
We’ve got the info to help you find the source of your tummy troubles and a few practical tips to help combat those causes.
You’re eating too much fibre
‘Most people increase their fibre intake when they have digestive problems, like constipation,’ says gastroenterologist Professor Peter Whorwell.
But if you’re prone to Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), this may actually end up making the problem worse. ‘Cutting out cereal fibres improves symptoms to some degree for most people with IBS,’ says Peter.
It may sound counter-intuitive, but think white: swop whole wheat bread and pasta for the white versions, and avoid muesli, oats, cereal bars, digestive biscuits and all breakfast cereals, apart from Rice Krispies. Try this for three months to see whether this is what causes bloating for you.
There’s a strong link between stress and tummy woes. The ‘gut-brain axis’ refers to the signals carried between your brain and digestive system, partly via the bacteria in your stomach.
Some doctors think that stress and anxiety can have a direct impact on the working of the gut, disrupting digestion and leading to bloating. Make time to de-stress with relaxation practices such as yoga, tai chi, and meditation.
Read more: How to deal with stress: Use your body
You’re eating on the run
If you’re not chewing your food properly, it’s likely to end up in your gut without having been properly broken down. The result? It can ferment in your gut and produce gas, leading to that tell-tale bloated stomach.
Try to eat mindfully, without talking too much or watching TV, so you can focus on chewing your food. Put your knife and fork down between mouthfuls to help slow you down.
Ideally, make sure you always sit to eat; otherwise, you’re more likely to gobble down your food. Even if you’re at a party with a buffet, try to find a seat, rather than nibbling canapés while standing.
You have an intolerance
One in five of us is intolerant to lactose, a carbohydrate found in dairy foods. This could be what causes bloating for you, along with pain and diarrhoea.
This doesn’t necessarily mean a ban on all dairy foods, though – Greek yoghurt and hard cheeses like Parmesan have fairly low levels of lactose, so many people can tolerate these. But avoiding milk, soft cheeses, cream and ice cream can make a big difference.
Many people also get quite bloated from eating onion, garlic, wheat, pulses and certain veg, like Brussels sprouts, so try minimising your consumption of these.
Read more: How to eat your way to a flatter tummy
Been on a salty-food binge or indulging in one too many glasses of red wine? While it may seem contradictory, when you become dehydrated, you often end up bloated as your body will hold on to any excess water when you start hydrating – and generally storing it in your stomach area.
Dehydration can also be the cause of constipation, only adding to your bloated stomach. So be sure to constantly drink water – even on a night out – and eat water-dense foods like cucumber and watermelon.
You have PMS
Research has shown the hormone progesterone can slow gut motility, which means food passes more slowly through your digestive system. Progesterone rises in the second half of your cycle, so you might notice bloating before your period.
Activity helps, so try to walk for at least half an hour every day, even if you do nothing else.
Here are 3 of the best bloat-busting supplements
Probiotics help balance your gut bacteria. We like Reuterina Acute Intestinal Health Probiotic Chew Tablets, R69,95
Activated charcoal can help absorb excess gas. Try Nature’s Choice Detoxinol Activated Charcoal, R27,95