Bloating is one of the most common gut symptoms people reports. Most people describe it as ‘trapped air in the stomach’ with a feeling of the distended stomach that feels like having an ‘air baby’.
Bloating gives you a feeling of fullness, abdominal discomfort, and at times even can cause cramps/pain.
Why do we bloat?
For those of you who struggle with bloating, you must have wondered how come some people experience bloating and others don’t, even when they eat the same food in the same quantity?
The cause of bloating is complex and triggers will be different for everyone. It can be triggered by a wide range of factors from diet to stress.
There are several factors that decide this . But one of the main reasons some bloat and others don’t is the sensitivity of your intestine.
There are two main types of bloating: Continuous and intermittent.
Continuous bloating is always present and may or may not be always related to what you eat, whereas the intermittent type is more common where people report bloating symptoms getting worse towards the end of the day, after a big meal or its onset is sporadic.
In case of continuous /persistent bloating, it is important to see your GP and rule out Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD ) or coeliac disease prior to making any dietary changes.
Despite the complexity around the causes of bloating, in many cases, it can be reduced, or even eliminated with simple dietary and lifestyle changes.
Keeping a food and symptoms diary is a good idea to help identify any food-related triggers.
How to beat the bloat?
There is no one size fits all treatment for bloating.No matter what you might hear, there’s no magic superfood or supplement to fix it.
Some of the simple things that you can do to help the bloat are:
• Avoid large meals and try having a little and often approach instead.
• Do not drink and eat at the same time
• Avoid caffeinated drinks
• Try having little and often meals. Watch your meal portions.
• Monitor your fiber intake, aim at having at least 28g/day.
• Take time to chew food. Yes, chew it at least 10-20 chews per mouthful.
• Keep to no more than one piece of fruit per sitting
• Avoid smoothies and juices and should you wish to have them, have no more than 150ml/day.
• Avoid wearing tight clothes
• Try mindfulness and yoga.
• Try peppermint oil capsules. It is known to relax the gut muscles and may help relieve bloating triggered by trapped gas.
You can either try one of the above strategies at a time or a few at once. If you choose multiple strategies and they help, reintroduce one at a time to see which one of them has been of most benefit.
If the above does not make any difference to your symptoms of bloating, it is best to make an appointment with the registered dietitian before altering your diet any further to prevent any unnecessary dietary restrictions, that may be detrimental to your gut health.