We live in an age of paradox. There is a greater level of awareness about the importance of diet and fitness in recent years, yet at the same time the levels of obesity on one hand and malnutrition on the other are higher than ever. There can be few things that are more uncomfortable than a swollen feeling in the belly after eating. While in some cases this might be caused by an underlying disorders or hormonal imbalance, in many cases it is caused simply due to the buildup of gas in the digestive system and disturbances in the functioning of the muscles of the system. About 16-30 per cent of people experience bloating on a regular basis, so this is a fairly widespread phenomenon.
Here are a few techniques that you can try to reduce bloating and indigestion
Eating big meals can lead to bloating as the quantity of food that you have taken in can be simply too much for your digestive system to handle. If this is the issue, having smaller, more frequent meals might reduce bloating. In some cases, it might not be because you have eaten a bigger meal, but because your stomach experiences greater discomfort even from a smaller portion of food when compared to those who rarely experience bloating. When you were a child and your mother told you to chew your food properly, she was absolutely right. Chewing not only reduces the amount of air you swallow along with the food, it will also make you eat slower, thus limiting portion sizes.
When you eat too much salt, it can lead to fluid buildup and increase in blood volume. This causes your heart to work harder and can lead to bloating.
Many people are allergic to certain foods like yoghurt, chocolate, wheat etc. When you consume foods that you are allergic to, it can lead to excess production of gas, resulting in bloating. Foods containing lactose like milk, eggs and those containing gluten like wheat can all cause bloating. It would be best to either avoid or minimize your intake of such foods
There can be build up of air in the digestive system due to two reasons: gas produced by bacteria in the digestive system and gas that is swallowed when we eat and drink. Taking in fizzy drinks is not a good idea if you are prone to bloating. Eating in a hurry, talking while eating and using straw while drinking are all behaviors that can cause buildup of swallowed air
While foods having high fiber content are good for you, some of them like beans can cause production of large amounts. It would be a good idea to keep a food diary to find out which foods are likely to make you more bloated of gas Some high fiber foods can make people produce large amounts of gas.
Eating foods that are high in potassium like spinach, tomatoes, bananas and mangoes will help reduce bloating. They have amino acids that can help eliminate water from your body
Many studies indicate that indigestible carbohydrates called FODMAPS can aggravate symptoms of bloating in patients having irritable bowel syndrome. FODMAPS stands for food groups like Fermentable, Oligo, Di-, Mono-saccharides And Polyols. A diet that is low in such foods can reduce bloating. Common culprits include apples, beans, pears, cabbage, beans, broccoli, onions, wheat, garlic and watermelon.
Sugar alcohols like sorbitol, mannitol, and xylitol are commonly found in chewing gums and sugarfree foods as they are considered as safe alternatives to sugar. They can cause digestive issues and they can lead to greater production of gas by the bacteria in our large intestine. So, though you might avoid all other irritants, it could be your chewing gum that is to blame for boating.
Many clinical trials have shown that probiotic supplements can reduce bloating and the production of gas in people having digestive issues.
Chronic constipation can aggravate symptoms of bloating. Intake of more soluble fiber, increasing you levels of physical activity and using magnesium supplements can help minimize constipation.
Manju Mathew, an MBA in marketing, completed publisher training courses from the Oxford Brookes University and New York University. She started with marketing and PR roles before moving on to her current position as a full time writer. Currently living in Dubai, her life as an expat has sharpened her observation skills and flair for writing. She enjoys writing about luxury cars like Ferrari, Lamborghini, etc even if she can only dream of owning them.
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