Are you feeling your tummy got bigger today? Did you start thinking it might be because you ate too much last night, or you got too much gas? If so, yes! You may have bloating of stomach. There are many reasons behind bloating of stomach. It may be because of eating too much or too less, too much sugar or salt in the food, drinking too less water or from constipation. Continue reading to know tips and foods to reduce bloating.
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What is actually bloating of stomach?
Stomach bloating is a feeling of pressure, fullness, or tightness in the stomach. It is the feeling of fullness of the stomach with or without actual change in stomach circumference. In fact, bloating of stomach may be associated with swelling in the abdomen area that is visible. It may result in lighter discomfort to strong pain in the belly. The most evident reason for bloating is constipation. Apart from that, indigestion and hormonal imbalance may also result in bloating of stomach.
Causes of bloating of stomach:
1. Eating gassy foods:
Some of the legumes, millets and cereals are rich in oligosaccharides such as raffinose and stachyose. These oligosaccharides are sometimes not properly digested in stomach and small intestine due to high levels of insoluble fibre and they pass to the large intestine where they are fermented by gut bacteria to produce gas. Because of this, the person feels bloated after eating such foods.
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FODMAPs refer to a group of carbohydrates that are not digested easily in some people. They may result in fluid build-up and gas trouble. FODMAPs include fructose present in honey, lactose in dairy products, beans and lentils, gluten-containing foods and also some foods such as apples, pears and cherries.
3. Eating too fast:
If you are a person with the habit of gulping down food too fast, you are more likely to have bloating frequently. When you engulf the food quickly, you swallow more air which may pass to your intestines and cause bloating.
4. Consuming fizzy drinks:
When you consume more fizzy drinks loaded with carbon dioxide gas, it may fill in your belly. Some of the gas is released through burping. The remaining gas may fill in tummy and pass to the intestines and even result in anal gas.
5. Drinking too little water:
When you consume fibre-rich foods and don’t drink enough water, it may tighten the stools and result in constipation. Due to constipation, you feel your belly is bloated and often feel pain in your stomach.
6. Eating junk foods:
Junk foods or fast foods are loaded with sodium, sugar and fat. They may be too easy to digest, but these processed foods cause an imbalance in your gut microflora. These microbes are responsible for the absorption of the digested nutrients in your body. So, any imbalance in the gut microbes might cause irritation and bloating of stomach.
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7. Not moving enough:
Having a big and hearty meal is so satisfying right!! Yes. There’s no harm in having a big meal often. But if you are a person who goes to bed right after your meal, then you may suffer from indigestion and gastric problems ultimately leading to stomach bloating. Not giving importance to physical activity is the key problem here.
How long does it take bloating to leave?
It depends on the reason behind your bloating of stomach. In the majority of cases, it goes away in one night or maximum two days. In case of severe constipation, it may extend upto 4-5 days.
How to prevent or relieve bloating?
Eat probiotic-rich foods:
Probiotics refer to the live microorganisms when consumed in the right amount, resulting in health benefits to the body. These microorganisms are present in fermented foods such as yoghurt, fermented vegetables, sauerkraut etc. These microorganisms usually skip the digestion process and straight away move to the gut. In the gut, they help to maintain a good balance of healthy microbes that benefit the body in digestion.
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It’s very important to consume 3-4 litres of water daily. When we consume fibre-rich foods, water helps to smoothen them and swell, helping in smooth bowel movements. Thus water helps in relieving constipation.
Prefer whole foods over processed ones:
When we consume complex carbohydrates rich in fibre, they help to maintain a good balance of healthy bacteria in the gut. Thus by avoiding simple sugars, fizzy drinks and sodium-loaded foods and consuming whole foods such as whole-grain cereals, millets and pulses, fruits and vegetables, the gastric problem can be reduced.
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Eat enough and move more:
It is important to listen to your stomach while eating. Eat only as required to fill your stomach. Don’t overload it. And having a small walk after your meal also helps in digesting the food. You also feel lighter. Involve in some form of physical activity daily.
Prefer a number of small meals a day rather than 2-3 bigger meals:
When you starve yourself for a long time, you indulge in more food than you require which ultimately leads to bloating and indigestion. Hence, it’s a smart move to have small meals every 2-3 hours because you don’t feel hungry all the time if you do so.
Avoid dairy if you are allergic:
Some people are lactose intolerant. That means, they cannot digest lactose in their food as they lack one type of enzyme ‘lactase’ which is important to digest lactose. So, it’s advisable to avoid dairy products if you feel bloated after consuming any dairy product.
Also, check Lactose Intolerance in Kids
Cook your veggies:
It’s healthy to eat a bowl of salad made of raw veggies, but some people may not digest the fibrous raw vegetables. So, it is important to cook your vegetables to reduce the bloating as the fibre breaks down while cooking.
Have an early dinner:
Your digestive system works very hard after you consume food. The digestive system slows down at night because of the low activity level. Hence it is advisable to have an early dinner or have at least 3 hour gap before you go to bed to make sure your food is digested properly.
Foods that help in reducing bloating of stomach:
PARTIALLY HYDROLYZED GUAR GUM:
Guar gum is a fibre made from guar bean or Indian cluster bean. It is used as a laxative that normalises the moisture content of the stool, absorbing excess liquid in diarrhoea, and softening the stool in constipation. Undoubtedly, it is one of the best foods for helping in bloating.
PHGG is a water-soluble dietary fibre and is used to regulate gut function. According to the study conducted by NIH, intake of PHGG improves human stool form by regulating intestinal microbiota. It has also been useful in treating Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms in both adults and kids.
Benefits of Guar gum:
- Treating diarrhoea/ constipation and bloating
- Lowering cholesterol
- Manages high blood pressure
- Control diabetes
- Weight loss
- Enhance Mineral absorption
Fructooligosaccharides (FOS) are composed of short fructose chains. They are a type of carbohydrate called oligosaccharides. FOS occurs naturally in many plants. They are prebiotic fibres that support the growth of healthy bacteria in the digestive tract. FOS is also a good source of soluble, dietary fibre and has been shown to reduce, or eliminate constipation and relieve bloating.
Citric acid is the weak organic acid found in the greatest amount in citrus fruits. We all have seen citric acid appear on the label of many products but don’t know exactly what citric acid is for our health. However, the primary reason for including this in any packaged foods is for its tangy flavour. But apart from this citric acid is associated with many health benefits also:
- Citric acid helps to convert food into energy.
- It enhances calcium, phosphorus and Magnesium absorption through the gut.
- This also prevents calcium crystals or kidney stones from forming.
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Oranges are the food to boost immunity. They are not only nutritious and rich in Vitamin-C but also loved by kids. Just one orange can meet 100% vitamin C requirements for the kid’s daily nutrition. The pith (white after between peel and fruit) of orange has 30% fibre of the fruit and this particular fibre (called pectin) is good for the gut which builds immunity, reduces bloating and supports digestion.
The papaya fruit contains two enzymes, papain and chymopapain. They can help with digestion, reduce bloating, inflammation and also improve gut health. Papaya is also high in fibre and water content, both of which help to prevent constipation and promote regularity and a healthy digestive tract. Also, it is a good source of folate, vitamin A, magnesium, copper, B vitamins, alpha and beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin, vitamin E, calcium, potassium, vitamin K, and lycopene, and pantothenic acid.
Lemons are rich in Vitamin C and have a potential to reduce gut inflammation and boost the immune system. Lemons are high in a fibre called pectin, which is a prebiotic that assists good gut health by feeding healthy gut bacteria.
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