We’ve all felt that horribly uncomfortable, too-full feeling. Whether it’s after a big meal or right before your period, bloating can seem like an unavoidable and frustrating fact of life. While being bloated is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of, there are steps you can take to help improve digestion, regulate your hormones, and keep that puffy side effect to a minimum.
In this article, we'll explore some of the common causes of bloating and provide you with practical tips and remedies to help alleviate your discomfort and prevent bloating from occurring in the future.
What Is Bloating?
Bloating is a totally-normal-yet-annoyingly-uncomfortable condition, most often in your midsection. When you’re bloated, your belly can feel swollen, full, or tight, and it may visibly protrude beyond your normal shape.
Common Causes of Bloating
Bloating can occur for a myriad of reasons:
- Eating too quickly
- Consuming gas-producing foods
- Swallowing air while eating or drinking
- Digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), lactose intolerance, or celiac disease.
- Hormonal changes during menstruation
While the symptoms might feel the same, bloating from food and bloating from hormones are completely different reactions that happen in your body.
Bloating from food is typically caused by the buildup of gas in your digestive system, often due to eating certain foods or eating too quickly. Some common foods that can cause bloating include beans, lentils, broccoli, cabbage, onions, carbonated drinks, and chewing gum. Eating large meals, drinking through a straw, and smoking can also contribute to bloating.
On the other hand, bloating from your period is caused by hormonal changes in your body that occur during your menstrual cycle. During this time, your body retains water and sodium, which can cause you to feel bloated and swollen in your abdomen, breasts, and face. This type of bloating usually occurs a few days before your period and may improve once your period begins.
If your bloating is more cyclical than reactive to food, consider taking a plant-based supplement like FLO PMS Relief vitamins, to help balance your hormones and alleviate symptoms like excess water retention, bloating & more.
Tips for Reducing Bloating While Eating
While some people are more prone to bloating than others, there are several tricks & tips to reduce the chances of bloating after a delicious meal.
- Eat slowly: Eating too quickly can cause you to swallow air, which can contribute to bloating. Take your time, making sure to chew your food thoroughly and enjoy your meals.
- Avoid fizzy drinks: Carbonated beverages like soda and sparkling water can contribute to bloating by introducing excess gas into your digestive system. To reduce bloat, choose still water or other non-carbonated beverages instead.
- Be mindful of your portions: Eating large meals can put extra pressure on your digestive system, which can cause bloating. Try to eat smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day.
- Limit high-fiber foods: While fiber is important for digestive health, consuming too much of it can cause bloating. If you're prone to bloating, limit your intake of high-fiber foods like beans, lentils, broccoli, and cabbage.
- Skip the artificial sweeteners: Some artificial sweeteners like sorbitol and xylitol can cause bloating and digestive discomfort. Check food labels and avoid products that contain these sweeteners if you're prone to bloating.
Take a digestive enzyme supplement: Digestive enzymes are naturally occurring proteins in the body that help us break down our food into smaller molecules so they can be absorbed by the body. However, some people don’t have as many digestive enzymes as they might need, which can result in excessive bloating. Taking a digestive enzyme supplement, like GOGO Bloating + Gas Relief Capsules, can help your body more efficiently break down food and thus reduce bloating and other digestive discomfort.
Lifestyle Changes That May Help Reduce Bloating
On top of more mindful eating habits, there are other lifestyle changes you can incorporate into your routine in order to help reduce and prevent bloating.
Drink plenty of water. Staying hydrated can help prevent constipation and promote regular bowel movements, which can in turn help reduce bloating.
Exercise regularly. Consistent physical activity can help improve digestion and reduce bloating. Aim to get at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week.
Manage stress. Stress can cause digestive problems, including bloating. Try relaxation techniques like deep breathing, yoga, or meditation to help manage stress.
Get enough sleep. Lack of sleep can disrupt digestion and contribute to bloating. Aim for at least seven to eight hours each night for optimal health.
Avoid smoking and alcohol. Smoking and alcohol can irritate the digestive system and contribute to bloating. Try to quit smoking and limit your alcohol intake.
Natural Remedies for Bloating
In addition to mindful eating habits and healthy lifestyle changes, there are some natural remedies that can help relieve bloating.
Ginger: Ginger has been used for centuries to aid digestion and relieve bloating. You can try drinking ginger tea, adding fresh ginger to your meals, or taking our GOGO Bloating and Gas digestive relief capsules, which contain a hard-working blend of digestive enzymes & soothing botanicals like ginger root, peppermint & dandelion.
Peppermint: Peppermint has a relaxing effect on the muscles in your digestive tract, which can help reduce bloating.
Dandelion Leaf: Some studies show that dandelion root can help relieve bloating, as it acts as a diuretic.
When to See a Doctor for Bloating
Although bloating is generally not a serious medical condition, it can be a symptom of an underlying health issue in some cases. If you experience chronic or severe bloating, along with other symptoms such as abdominal pain, constipation, or diarrhea, it's important to speak to your doctor or healthcare provider to rule out any underlying conditions and receive proper treatment.