We’ve all been there. One minute, you’re feeling fabulous — the next, your stomach looks distended, your pants feel tight, and overall, you’re incredibly uncomfortable. Yup, you’re bloated. To add to the discomfort, later that night (or the next morning), you feel gassy. How in the world did this happen?
How to prevent bloating and all that comes with it
It’s no secret that bloating, gas, and indigestion can quickly ruin an otherwise lovely evening. It’s worth noting, though, that bloating, in particular, is also super common. healthy people experience it. So, rest assured, you’re not alone in your discomfort.
Bloating, gas, and indigestion are especially common among those with GI disorders (like IBS). They can also happen in people who don’t have these types of conditions. Very often, we confuse bloating for weight gain. So obviously, it’s worth looking for ways to avoid experiencing this “false fat”. After all, who wants to add extra inches to their body with gas and water weight? Not me. Not to mention, gas can be a highly inconvenient and embarrassing issue to deal with on a regular basis.
Bloating and gas can happen for several different reasons. Most often, these symptoms are due to gas building up in the digestive tract. This leaves your stomach distended, and then eventually, that gas obviously has to escape. As for the causes of bloating and gas, they can include food sensitivities, abnormal gut bacteria, and psychological distress.
Often, the key to banishing these problems is to introduce certain foods and supplements into your diet and eliminate other troublesome foods that exacerbate the issues.
Ditch the hard-to-digest foods
Time and again, research has shown that ditching certain foods can really help to reduce symptoms of gas, indigestion, and bloating.
Specifically, it’s a good idea to eliminate fermentable foods that contain disaccharides (dairy products), monosaccharides (fructose), oligosaccharides (wheat), and polyols/sugar alcohols (chewing gums and candies).
Let’s break this down. When a food is difficult for your stomach to digest, you’ll end up feeling bloat and gas. And refined carbohydrates (especially those containing gluten) can be difficult to digest. In fact, when any foods made from flour (particularly the whole-wheat kind) are broken down, they form gas in the large intestine. Not to mention, bread, crackers, and pasta containing gluten (and other heavy starches) can lead to water retention. Processed foods with unnatural ingredients can also significantly slow down your digestion.
While we’re on the subject of foods that are difficult to digest, lactose — the sugar in dairy products — can cause bloating and gas in many people. The reason being is because we’re not making enough of the enzyme required to break it down (lactase).
Now, you may think that substituting artificial sweeteners for the real sweet stuff is a smart choice. After all, it’s fewer calories and less actual sugar, right? The problem is that artificial sweeteners are laden with sucralose and aspartame — chemical compounds that the digestive tract doesn’t know what to do with. Sugar alcohols that can’t be absorbed by your GI tract end up fermenting there. This leads to a buildup of gas, which then causes bloating. So, it’s best to avoid sugar-free gum, ice cream, and candy, and diet soda.
Carbonated beverages tend to be a top culprit of bloating
Speaking of diet soda, any carbonated beverages — including sparkling wine, beer, tonic water, and other soft drinks — are a no-no when you want to prevent gassiness and bloating.
In fact, studies have shown these beverages are one of the top culprits of bloating. The air bubbles in these drinks release carbon dioxide in the digestive tract. This causes uncomfortable bloating as well as gas. And, if you’re worried this means you have to give up Kombucha, don’t stress. The carbonation in this beverage is much milder on the GI tract. It’s naturally created as well. Just remember to only drink it in moderation!
While we’re on the subject of your diet, we should definitely address salt. You know how salt tends to cake up in the shaker when the weather is humid? That’s because salt attracts moisture. As a result, when you have more sodium in your bloodstream, your body starts to retain water.
Obviously, it’s a good idea to ease up on the salt shaker when you’re trying to avoid bloating. However, keep in mind that it’s hidden in so many foods, from salad dressings and bottled sauces to canned beans and breakfast cereals. So, make it a point to start checking the nutrition labels on your food for the sodium content. You can limit your sodium intake by avoiding processed foods. Cook as much as you can at home and look for products labeled as low-sodium.
Get friendly with Fiber
Now that we’ve talked about all the foods you want to avoid, let’s talk about foods that can help you PREVENT bloating, gas, and indigestion.
Foods that are rich in fiber help to push substances out of the body that would otherwise clog up the intestines. These are awesome choices for avoiding digestive issues. By helping to prevent constipation, fiber can also prevent bloating and gas as well.
Some high-fiber foods include lentils, black beans, artichokes, raspberries, broccoli, and avocado. Pumpkin is another food that’s high in fiber. But it’s also a chock-full of water. So, it helps to loosen and soften anything that’s digesting in your system. Helping it to move along more quickly so it doesn’t sit there, causing constipation.
Obviously, fruit is one of the best sources of fiber you can find. But it’s important to be mindful of when you’re eating fruit, and with what. It’s advisable to eat fruit on an empty stomach (or with just leafy greens) That means no fruit with your meal or as a dessert. Eating fruit after heavy foods can make you feel bloated because it’s got a high water content, so it digests very quickly.
Seek assistance from supplements
Cleaning up your diet will certainly do wonders for eliminating GI discomforts such as bloating, gas, and indigestion. But did you know that you can get extra help from certain supplements that can ward off digestive distress? Some of these can not only optimize how your body breaks down food, but also how it eliminates waste.
First and foremost, I recommend incorporating soil-based probiotics. You may be sick of hearing me talk about this – sorry! Probiotics are friendly little flora that plays a huge role in keeping your digestive system in tip-top shape. They regulate the bacteria in your system. And by keeping everything in balance, they can help your body to more effectively absorb nutrients while also normalizing your bowel movements.
Add Digestive Enzymes
These are so key to add to your daily routine if you haven’t already! I take them every single day and have been recommending them to clients for a long time. If your body doesn’t make enough of these chemicals, which help break down food, you may notice that you struggle with gas and bloating after eating particular foods.
For example, some people don’t have enough of amylase — the enzyme required to break down carbohydrates — and unfortunately, undigested carbs ferment in the gut, causing some serious bloating and gas.
That’s where digestive enzyme supplementation comes in. Digestive Enzymes include varieties of specialized enzymes to help metabolize fat, protein, and carbs. It also helps digest larger amounts of plant-based fiber, thus helping your body absorb critical nutrients while reducing bloating and gas and enhancing digestion overall
I hope this helps you understand how to prevent bloating, gas and indigestion in the future.
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In love and gratitude,