There’s nothing like a hearty comfort meal, but the bloat that comes along with it is a little discouraging. Don’t worry, you’re not alone! Many people experience bloating.
Bloating is, unfortunately, just a part of life.
However, there are small habits you can make that can help deter bloating, but there are also some long-term changes you can make to prevent that pesky bloat from reoccurring.
First things first, though…
What is Belly Bloat?
Bloating can be described as the discomfort of having gas trapped or pressure in your gut. You may also experience an enlarged waited, known as abdominal distension. Luckily, this is often a short-term problem that can be resolved on its own.[1,2,3,4,5]
5 Tips to Beat the Bloat
Eating a big meal is not the only cause of bloating. There are numerous instances that can trigger bloating, including eating too much fiber, bacteria imbalance, swallowing too much air, or various other triggers.
Here are 5 science-backed ways to beat the bloat:
Certain foods can trigger bloating, especially those that contain high amounts of poorly digestible or nondigestible compounds, such as[7,8]:
- Insoluble and soluble fiber
- Sugar alcohols
- Sugars raffinose and fructose
These undigested fibers and sugars can end up in the large intestine, bacteria then ferments them, and that leads to increased gas.[8,12]
Here are a few foods that may cause bloating[7,9,10,11]:
- Fruits: Apples, pears, and peaches
- Vegetables: Brussel sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower
- Legumes: Lentils, baked beans, peas, and beans
- Whole Grains: Oats, wheat, wheat bran, and wheat germ
- Foods High in Salt and Fat: Fast food, fried food, chocolate, chips, and confectionaries
- Sugar Alcohols and Artificial Sweeteners: Xylitol, sorbitol, and mannitol found in sugar-free chewing gum and artificial sweeteners
However, not everyone will feel bloated after eating these foods. So to know what foods might be triggering your bloat, keeping a food journal may help figure out what exactly is causing bloat.
Also, eating smaller portions might help, too. Large portions may contribute to your bloat in two possible ways[5,10]:
- Large portions of food may stretch your stomach. This leads to gases and solids pooling up along the gut.
- The more foods that have non-digestible or poorly digestible carbs, the more that’s in your colon, and the more gases your body will likely produce.
Exercising offers a ton of benefits for your health—physically and psychologically.
Participating in regular exercise is the best way to beat the bloat long-term. It helps eliminate gases from your bowels, thus, reducing bloating. Additionally, light exercise after a meal can help reduce the feeling of bloat. Studies show that a simple 10 to 15-minute walk following a meal can improve the feeling of bloat.[5,13]
Yoga is another great way to help combat bloating. In fact, there are even yoga postures that are designed to specifically encourage the release of gas from the GI tract.
Your gut and brain are linked. Exercising and yoga help reduce psychological symptoms, like stress and fatigue, and encourages mindfulness. This in turn helps with gut-brain interactions.
Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate.
Your body needs water. And a lot of it. When you’re dehydrated, you’re more likely to suffer from gut issues like constipation, which then leads to bloating.
Once your body gets the amount of water that it needs to be hydrated, it lets go of the liquid it doesn’t need. Experts recommend at least:
- 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) a day for men
- 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) a day for women
Limit (or Avoid) the Sneaky Habits
Did you know that chewing gum and drinking through a straw can cause bloating?
Gum may make your breath fresh, but it can cause a bit of belly bloat. Same with drinking through a straw and drinking carbonated beverages. This is because you’re swallowing air.
Swallowing too much air—also known as aerophagia—is a possible cause of bloating. This is particularly true for those with gut disorders, such as IBS.
Probiotics are live microorganisms that can provide numerous health benefits when consumed. Many of these microorganisms in probiotics are about the same that naturally live in your body.
And probiotics have become increasingly popular over the years. One survey found that 4 million (1.6 percent) of U.S. adults had used probiotics in the past month. Probiotics were the third most used supplement besides vitamins and minerals.
So what’s the hype? According to some studies, probiotics may aid with digestive symptoms—like bloating—by increasing the number and types of good bacteria in your gut. This then leads to possible reduced inflammation, tension, and gases in your gut.[5,17]
Pattern Wellness crafted a naturally sourced Probiotic that contains 51 billion colony-forming units from 11 probiotic strains. This carefully formulated blend works in harmony with your body to support your gut health and promote other health benefits, like a boosted immune system.
Our Probiotics are made with delayed-release technology to help ensure the supplement is protected from harsh stomach acid and released in the intestines for maximum nutrient absorption, without possible stomach upset.
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- Mari, A., Abu Backer, F., Mahamid, M., Amara, H., Carter, D., Boltin, D., & Dickman, R. (2019). Bloating and Abdominal Distension: Clinical Approach and Management. Advances in therapy, 36(5), 1075–1084. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12325-019-00924-7
- Lacy, B. E., Cangemi, D., & Vazquez-Roque, M. (2021). Management of Chronic Abdominal Distension and Bloating. Clinical gastroenterology and hepatology : the official clinical practice journal of the American Gastroenterological Association, 19(2), 219–231.e1. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cgh.2020.03.056
- Mearin, F., Lacy, B. E., Chang, L., Chey, W. D., Lembo, A. J., Simren, M., & Spiller, R. (2016). Bowel Disorders. Gastroenterology, S0016-5085(16)00222-5. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1053/j.gastro.2016.02.031
- Kamboj, A. K., & Oxentenko, A. S. (2018). Workup and Management of Bloating. Clinical gastroenterology and hepatology : the official clinical practice journal of the American Gastroenterological Association, 16(7), 1030–1033. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cgh.2017.12.046
- Malagelada, J. R., Accarino, A., & Azpiroz, F. (2017). Bloating and Abdominal Distension: Old Misconceptions and Current Knowledge. The American journal of gastroenterology, 112(8), 1221–1231. https://doi.org/10.1038/ajg.2017.129
- Wheaton, K. (2022, August 26). Bloating - all you need to know. Probiotics Learning Lab. Retrieved November 16, 2022, from https://www.optibacprobiotics.com/learning-lab/in-depth/gut-health/bloating-all-you-need-to-know
- Barrett J. S. (2017). How to institute the low-FODMAP diet. Journal of gastroenterology and hepatology, 32 Suppl 1, 8–10. https://doi.org/10.1111/jgh.13686
- Mäkinen K. K. (2016). Gastrointestinal Disturbances Associated with the Consumption of Sugar Alcohols with Special Consideration of Xylitol: Scientific Review and Instructions for Dentists and Other Health-Care Professionals. International journal of dentistry, 2016, 5967907. https://doi.org/10.1155/2016/5967907
- Misselwitz, B., Butter, M., Verbeke, K., & Fox, M. R. (2019). Update on lactose malabsorption and intolerance: pathogenesis, diagnosis and clinical management. Gut, 68(11), 2080–2091. https://doi.org/10.1136/gutjnl-2019-318404
- Wilkinson, J. M., Cozine, E. W., & Loftus, C. G. (2019). Gas, Bloating, and Belching: Approach to Evaluation and Management. American family physician, 99(5), 301–309.
- Varney, J., Barrett, J., Scarlata, K., Catsos, P., Gibson, P. R., and Muir, J. G. (2017) FODMAPs: food composition, defining cutoff values and international application. Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, 32: 53– 61. doi: 10.1111/jgh.13698.
- Mao, B., , Tang, H., , Gu, J., , Li, D., , Cui, S., , Zhao, J., , Zhang, H., , & Chen, W., (2018). In vitro fermentation of raffinose by the human gut bacteria. Food & function, 9(11), 5824–5831. https://doi.org/10.1039/c8fo01687a
- Hosseini-Asl, M. K., Taherifard, E., & Mousavi, M. R. (2021). The effect of a short-term physical activity after meals on gastrointestinal symptoms in individuals with functional abdominal bloating: a randomized clinical trial. Gastroenterology and hepatology from bed to bench, 14(1), 59–66.
- Johannesson, E., Ringström, G., Abrahamsson, H., & Sadik, R. (2015). Intervention to increase physical activity in irritable bowel syndrome shows long-term positive effects. World journal of gastroenterology, 21(2), 600–608. https://doi.org/10.3748/wjg.v21.i2.600
- National Academy of Sciences. (2004, February 11). Report Sets Dietary Intake Levels for Water, Salt, and Potassium To Maintain Health and Reduce Chronic Disease Risk. Nationalacademies.org. Retrieved November 8, 2022, from https://www.nationalacademies.org/news/2004/02/report-sets-dietary-intake-levels-for-water-salt-and-potassium-to-maintain-health-and-reduce-chronic-disease-risk
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.). Probiotics: What you need to know. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Retrieved November 16, 2022, from https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/probiotics-what-you-need-to-know
- Niu, H. L., & Xiao, J. Y. (2020). The efficacy and safety of probiotics in patients with irritable bowel syndrome: Evidence based on 35 randomized controlled trials. International journal of surgery (London, England), 75, 116–127. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijsu.2020.01.142