Enjoying some delicious food is wonderful until you're left feeling bloated, backed up, and sluggish afterwards. Likewise, certain habits and lifestyle choices can cause further digestive upset, so if you've ever regretted your mealtime selections, keep reading!
Post-meal upset can pose a challenge, but the upside is that we have control over many of the various factors that can help to avoid or mitigate symptoms like uncomfortable bloat, embarrassing gas, or binding constipation that can really disrupt a person’s day.
Fortunately, a tune-up in the area of digestive hygiene can turn things around and set you on the right track for success with simplicity and ease. Here are a few best practices to consider to banish, gas, bloat, and constipation:
1) Pinpoint the Source of the Bloating
Gas builds up in the stomach or intestines, leading to bloating. In most cases, bloating after a meal resolves on its own, but sometimes its dissipation can be accelerated.
Bloating is best managed by determining its cause as it is often caused by the following triggers:
Digestive issues. Bloating can be caused by constipation, food allergies, and intolerances. The large bowel can become backed up with stool, causing bloating and discomfort. It is also possible for gas to accumulate behind the stool, contributing to bloating.
Diet. Consumption of fizzy drinks, too much sugar or salt, as well as a lack of fiber can all contribute to bloating.
Hormonal changes. Hormonal changes and water retention often cause bloating before and during menstrual periods.
2) Eliminate Foods that Promote Bloating, Gas, and Constipation
Beans, peas, lentils, cabbage, onions, broccoli, cauliflower, whole-grain products, mushrooms, certain fruits, and beer are all common gas-causing foods. See if your gas improves with the removal of one food at a time. And pay attention to food labels to avoid inflammatory ingredients that disrupt digestion.
3) Rule Out Dairy Intolerance
Those suffering from a lactose intolerance can’t fully digest the sugar (lactose) found in milk, typically causing diarrhea, gas, and bloating after eating or drinking dairy products. While lactose malabsorption is usually harmless, the symptoms can be uncomfortable.
You'll be given a drink of lactose solution when performing a lactose intolerance test, and a blood sample will be taken as well. The blood will be screened to determine how much blood sugar (glucose) is present.
If you're lactose intolerant, your blood sugar levels will either rise slowly or not at all during the testing period.
4) Improve Bowel Hygiene to Remain Regular
Some simple changes in your approach to your diet and your eating schedule can do wonders in supporting improved digestive health.
Moreover, you can easily prevent indigestion, bloating, heartburn, and other digestive health issues by eating smaller meals more frequently.
And slow down and savor your food, too. Make sure to enjoy every single morsel. It takes time to begin feeling full. If you take your time when eating, you are much less likely to overeat.
5) Try a low FODMAP diet
Most people experience gas after eating a lot of FODMAP foods, but those with IBS are more sensitive and may experience more discomfort. Limit intake if you notice an adverse digestive reaction after consuming these foods.
In order to ease symptoms of IBS and SIBO, you should avoid foods high in FODMAPs, including:
Dairy-based milk, yogurt and ice cream
Wheat-based products like cereal, bread and crackers
Beans and lentils
Certain vegetables, like artichokes, asparagus, onions and garlic
6) Incorporate Probiotic Supplements
Premium supplements, like Emma, or food-based items like kefir or kombucha can aid in boosting gut microflora, limiting the potential of instances of leaky gut and other digestive disorders.
7) Eat Smaller Meals Throughout the Day
Eating smaller portions and avoiding overeating can reduce bloating.
Furthermore, be aware that the more air that is forced into the stomach when you eat fast, drink from a straw, or drink bubbly drinks like soda and beer, the more likely you are to get bloated.
8) Avoid Salty and Fatty Foods
Consuming too much sodium in the diet can cause bloating, heart failure, and kidney disease. Furthermore, fatty foods slow digestion, causing bloating–even healthy fats, like avocados, nuts, and seeds, as well as less-healthy options like fried food and vegetable oils, and processed foods like chips, cookies, and pastries.
9) Commit to Exercise Regularly
Exercise may aid in alleviating bloating by shifting some built-up gas through your digestive tract. Reduced gas equals less bloating. Moreover, exercises that facilitate strengthening the abdominal muscles are also incredibly beneficial, along with walking which is also a fantastic bloat buster.
10) Prevent Rapid Weight Gain
Consider your lifestyle choices. Eliminate excess salt, increase regular physical activity, boost hydration levels, and monitor your macronutrient budget well to avoid calorie surpluses that will eventually lead to unwanted weight gain.
11) Focus on Fortifying Abdominal Muscles
Here’s more incentive to do a few extra sets of crutches throughout the week: note that inactive abdominal wall muscles, particularly the "antigravity" internal obliques, remaining relaxed instead of contracted and activated throughout the day, results in retaining more gas in your intestine.
Furthermore, weak abdominal muscles may directly contribute to a more visible appearance of abdominal bloating. So, focus some of your exercise routine on toning your midsection to create a sleeker physique while supporting digestive health.
12) Commit to Clean Eating
Comprise your diet of the following foods to aid in healthy and regular digestion, detox, and elimination:
Yogurt: The beneficial probiotics (good bacteria) in yogurt help your gut digest and absorb nutrients, preventing gas and bloating. Go for plain, unsweetened yogurt with active cultures, and sweeten it with a little fruit or stevia.
Ginger: This wonderful root is said to accelerate the transportation of food through the GI tract, while also guarding the gut. Furthermore, ginger may also lessen bloating, cramping, and gas. You may want to boil some fresh ginger in water and steep it well if you have an upset stomach; it’s nature’s perfect digestive aid.
Fennel: Herbalists have coined fennel seed as an effective, natural aid to digestion. Furthermore, it can help soothe and relax muscles of the gastrointestinal system, reducing gas, bloating, and stomach cramps.
Bananas: Foods brimming with fortifying minerals such as potassium—like bananas, avocados, kiwis, oranges, and pistachios—discourage water retention by balancing sodium levels in your body, reducing salt-induced bloating. Plus, bananas also contain soluble fiber, which can lessen or prevent constipation.
Lemons: Drinking a cup of lemon water first thing in the morning on an empty stomach can relieve bloating, gas, and constipation. Lemon water contains minerals that encourage healthy digestion, relieve heartburn, and promotes healthy bowel function by reducing bloat and stimulating bowel movements.
Avocado: Like bananas, this creamy fruit filled with healthy fats also aids in digestion thanks to its fiber and potassium content—as well as regulating fluid and sodium levels to avoid water retention.
Cucumber: These crispy and crunchy rounds are fantastic additions to salads and perfect for snacking, but this water-rich food is also incredibly hydrating, comprising about 95% water, making them a perfect food to prevent or remediate bloating. Plus, selecting a diet filled with foods with a high water content can aid in promoting adequate hydration to meet your daily fluid needs.
Asparagus: These mean and green stalks are an anti-bloating superfood. Sure, your urine may take on a distinct and sharp smell, but it also makes you pee, period—helping you flush any excess water your body may be retaining, thus eliminating any discomfort and bloat. Moreover, these phytonutrient-rich veggies also contain prebiotics, which aid in the growth of “good” bacteria to help balance your gut flora.
Kiwi: These colorful cuties are rich in minerals and naturally prevent constipation, while reducing bloating and gas due to its ability to promote laxation and gastric motility (facilitating bowel regularity and movement through the GI tract).
Papaya: The natural digestive enzyme called papain, found in papaya, facilitates the breakdown of the foods so that you can easily digest and absorb the nutrients from items you eat. Papain also helps relieve symptoms such as bloating, constipation, and gas.
Pineapple: Adding tropical fruits like pineapple to your meal plan can also provide hydration, being made up of 85 percent water, which can help alleviate painful bloating. Plus, pineapples also contain an enzyme called bromelain that can help decrease bloating by encouraging proper digestion and breaking down proteins in the body.
Celery Root: These water-rich root veggies can help prevent bloating triggered by dehydration. Besides, celery root is also a natural diuretic, so it helps remove excess water and sodium from your system.
Beets: These ruby red root veggies help relieve constipation, gas, and bloating. Plus, they're a fantastic source of prebiotic fiber, providing optimal support that the good bacteria your body needs for continued digestive health.
Artichokes: This bulbous veggie will bolster your digestion, thanks to its fiber and cynarin content. Fortunately, cynarin alleviates bloating and helps relieve digestive discomfort. Plus, fiber enhances bowel movement mobility, thus preventing constipation and gas.
Lentils: The high-fiber content of these foods can cause bloating in some people. The problem is especially pronounced for people who have never eaten much fiber before. Beans and lentils both contain FODMAPs, and as a result, the sugars in these foods may cause excessive gas production and bloating, especially in people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Tomatoes: The tomato fruit contains a high level of naturally occurring acids. Some people report bloating and gas as a result of eating tomatoes because of their acidic content.
Spinach: Spinach is an excellent source of magnesium, an essential nutrient that many people lack. Consequently, it is one of the most effective foods that prevent gas formation.
Oatmeal: Beta-glucan, a type of soluble fiber found in oats, helps move matter through your digestive tract and keeps you regular by bulking up your stool, making bowel movements easier.
Blueberries: Blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries, which contain 85 to 95 percent water, can help reduce bloating. Moreover, they contain fiber, which helps food move through the intestines quicker and reduces bloating and abdominal pressure.
Mint: Antispasmodics like peppermint oil help to relieve muscle spasms. You can use it to relieve stomach cramps, bloating, and flatulence (flatulence), particularly if you suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Moreover, a relaxing effect is achieved by helping the muscles of the bowel wall rest.
13) Avoid Intake of Excess Air and Limit the Following Other Activities That Lead to a Higher Probability of Developing Gas and Bloating:
Talking while eating
Eating when upset
Smoking or chewing tobacco
Using a straw or sports bottle
Overloading your stomach
Drinking very hot or cold beverages
Chewing gum or eating hard candy
Drinking from a water fountain
Long-term use of medications for relief of cold symptoms
Plus, steering clear of the following foods is ideal when looking to prevent constipation and banish bloat:
Spicy, fried or fatty foods
Broccoli, cabbage, onions
Apple or prune juice
Anything including sorbitol, mannitol or maltitol, found in many low-carb or sugar-free foods
Also, heeding the following tips will likely prove beneficial when attempting to banish the bloat:
Chew your foods well
Beverages should be consumed at room temperature
Engage in physical activity throughout the day
Sit up straight after eating
Walking after eating is a good idea
14) Consider Natural Remedies and OTC Solutions to
It is common to see advertisements for remedies or medications that claim to reduce gas and bloating. Clinical studies have proven some of these to be useful. Others, while not scientifically proven, have been discovered to be helpful anecdotally.
Consult your doctor before trying anything. However, here are some suggestions to consider to decrease gas:
Natural remedies for gas include:
Over-the-counter gas remedies include:
Lactase enzyme (Lactaid or Dairy Ease)
15) Go for a Walk Daily
Regular physical activity can help release excess gas and stool by stimulating the bowels to move more frequently. And stimulating the bowels to move is especially helpful if a person is feeling constipated.
Plus, a brief and brisk walk around the block can provide immediate relief from minor gas pressure, as well.
16) Experiment with Abdominal Massage
Massaging the abdomen can aid in stimulating bowel fluidity. Moreover, a massage along the path of the large intestine is particularly beneficial. Experiment with massage as a digestive aid following the tips below:
Placing the hands right above the right hip bone and applying gentle pressure.
Rubbing in a circular motion with mild pressure directed up toward the right side of the ribcage.
Rubbing straight across the upper abdomen area about the left rib cage.
Moving slowly down toward the left hip bone.
Repeating as necessary.
If the massage causes any pain, it is best to discontinue it immediately and consult your physician.
17) Use Essential Oils
Peppermint soothes stomach muscles, reduces pain from cramping, and helps expel gas from the intestines. Furthermore, ginger, cardamom, and fennel are excellent calming aids. Plus, lemongrass and chamomile essential oils can be beneficial for your digestive tract as well.
Chamomile is revered for its soothing, calming, and antispasmodic properties which are fantastic to quell stomach discomfort. Peppermint offers menthol which helps to battle inflammation within the intestines to aid in fluid and effortless digestion.
Cardamom brings significant antibacterial compounds to the table that work to fortify the intestinal tract.
Ginger is known to soothe an upset stomach, and it is also rich in anti-inflammatory properties to soothe an irritated stomach and banish unwanted bloating.
Fennel is a fresh and crisp addition to dishes, but it also offers powerful antifungal elements and compounds to prevent everything from gas to chronic colitis.
Lemongrass is a fragrant and flavorful addition in culinary dishes, and this ingredient also supports a healthy and well-sealed intestinal tract to prevent ulcers and tamp down intestinal inflammation.
18) Relax in a Warm Bath and Soak Sore Muscles
It’s such a simple solution, but it works! The gentle heat of the bath can offer welcomed relief for a sore abdomen and ease tummy cramps. Plus, a relaxing bath can reduce stress levels, which may better support proper functioning of the GI tract, helping to reduce bloating and constipation.
19) Increase Fiber Intake
Consuming more fibrous foods will aid in easy digestion and elimination as it helps carry food waste through the intestine to keep you regular without additional effort.
However, it’s essential to add fiber to your macros gradually to avoid the unintended and unwanted opposite side effect of increased constipation and subsequent bloating.
20) Clean Up Your Beverage Game
Drinking plenty of fluids throughout the day is ideal for added hydration, but your choice of beverage truly matters. Opt primarily for water rather than soda or other caffeinated, fizzy, drinks that offset optimal hydration and assimilation of fluids consumed.
Drinking soda and other fizzy, carbonated drinks inherently containing gas can cause a build up of gas in the abdomen. Unfortunately, the carbon dioxide that comes in handy to make soda and similar beverages fizzy may also lead to bubbling and bloating.
Furthermore, sugars and artificial sweeteners can also cause gas, bloating, and endocrine disruptions that can cause various metabolic problems and disorders. Drinking water eliminates these issues and helps to treat constipation as well.
21) Limit Chewing Gum
There’s nothing inherently wrong with chewing gum, but doing so allows an opportunity to intake more air, which can subsequently lead to gas and bloating. Opt for ginger mints, or peppermints to sweeten breath, instead, without consuming increased amounts of air.
22) Rule Out Other Medical Conditions
Most gas, bloating, and constipation is related to mild digestive disruptions or consuming items that don’t agree with you. However, these symptoms can evidence a more serious medical condition in rare cases.
For instance, inflammatory bowel diseases, like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, may cause people to feel bloated. Moreover, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), can also cause bloating and abdominal discomfort.
Plus, additional gynecological conditions like endometriosis and ovarian cysts, can also cause symptoms of pain, swelling, and experiencing bloating in the abdominal area.
Those experiencing these symptoms should consult a doctor, who can evaluate any relevant family medical history and other medical conditions and make an educated assessment for potential treatment.
23) Keep a Food Diary
Many cases of bloating are the result of reactions to food intolerances, which can increase the presence of gas in the intestinal tract, causing everything from bloat to gas and overall abdominal discomfort.
Bloating is typical in people who have lactose intolerance, unable to digest the lactose sugar in dairy products. Furthermore, an autoimmune intolerance to gluten, aka Celiac Disease, is another potential culprit for post-meal upset.
Logging your food-mood after eating can help you to best identify which food do or don’t agree with you and help you track patterns to later discuss with a nutrition professional.
24) Consider the Impact of Supplements and Medications
Certain supplements, like iron, can promote constipation and other symptoms of indigestion, which can trigger unwanted bloating. However, potassium, conversely, may prevent bloating by balancing the body’s sodium levels.
Furthermore, medications can create side effects that affect GI function or lead to indigestion. In these cases, a doctor or pharmacist can recommend gentler alternatives to pamper your digestive tract while addressing your other supplemental needs.
25) Try Probiotics
Premium probiotics and full-spectrum products, like Emma, that support women’s intestinal and digestive health offer many benefits to keep you feeling light and fluid—supporting the female’s unique digestive needs.
So much of our overall health relies on the health and well-being of our gut microbiome, and maintaining a system of diverse beneficial bacteria in the gut goes a long way to prime the body for regular and effortless digestion and elimination. Consider adding premium probiotic supplements to your health meal plan to best support optimal gut and digestive health.
A Time To Be Concerned
It is generally not necessary to seek medical attention for occasional gas and abdominal discomfort. A change in eating behavior or a self-assessment of habits can typically help remedy the situation. Nevertheless, if the symptoms become more severe, frequent, or localized, you should seek medical attention. It is especially true if weight loss, diarrhea, vomiting, or heartburn are also present.
Moreover, bloating that lasts for days or weeks could indicate a health issue that requires medical attention. Consult a doctor about ongoing bloating that persists over time.
People whose bloating occurs in tandem with the following symptoms should seek medical advice:
Appetite changes or trouble eating
Severe abdominal pain
Bright red blood in the stool
Black or dark maroon stools
Everything from the foods we eat, the beverages we drink, and how often we’re active all contribute to whether we feel fit and light or bloated, gassy, or bound when attempting to go to the bathroom.
Take a look at your current lifestyle and routines, and start making small adjustments you can commit to following long-term.
Fortunately, there’s no need to accept or normalize flatulence, cramping, and constipation. Making subtle adjustments to your diet and lifestyle can create lasting changes, improving your digestive health and eliminating the uncomfortable and sometimes embarrassing symptoms related to gas, bloating, and constipation.
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