Bloating is a seriously uncomfortable and extremely common condition. According to WebMD, 1 in 10 Americans reports bloating regularly. What causes bloating and how can you fix it? Continue reading to find the answers.
1. Overeating. The most common cause of bloating is overeating. This is a feeling most people know all too well. The feeling of being “stuffed” or “in a food coma” are common sensations. To prevent bloating from overeating, eat smaller portions.
2. Rich and fatty food. Fats take longer than protein or carbohydrates to digest. Therefore, fatty foods make you feel fuller and your stomach is more likely to bloat. To prevent bloating, simply limit your consumption of fatty foods.
3. Eating too fast. The body takes up to 20 minutes to communicate its satiety with the brain, therefore people who eat slowly tend to eat less. Their brains get the signal that they are full before they can overeat. To slow down, eat with another person so conversation naturally slows down your pace. You can also try eating with awareness, thinking carefully about each texture and flavor.
4. Artificial sweeteners. Sorbitol and fructose are common ingredients found in artificial sweeteners. Neither can be fully digested and therefore are common bloat-inducing culprits. To avoid bloating, eliminate artificial sweeteners from your diet.
5. Whole grains. While whole grains are a healthy source of fiber, that same fiber can sometimes cause bloating. To avoid bloating when eating whole grains and other fiber-rich foods, drink plenty of water. This works because fiber absorbs water and the water helps to move the fiber through the digestive system.
6. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Between 25 and 45 million Americans suffer from IBS, which in addition to bloating, can cause abdominal pain, diarrhea, and constipation, says the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders. If you think you have IBS, prevent bloating by eliminating cereal fibers like bread, oats, crackers, cakes, and biscuits from your diet. You can also ask your doctor about taking a probiotic supplement or including probiotic yogurts in your diet.
7. Flatulence. This is, of course, a very normal part of being human. But if it is bothersome and causing uncomfortable bloating, limit non-absorbable carbohydrates like broccoli, cabbage, prunes, apples, and beans. The Mirror UK advises chewing food thoroughly to prevent gas.
8. Hormones. The ups and downs of hormones can cause bloating, particularly in premenstrual or pregnant women. The Mirror UK recommends exercising at least thirty minutes daily to promote the movement of food, which is slowed when the hormone progesterone is raised during pregnancy.
Knowing the source of bloating can help you make appropriate steps to reduce bloating. It is advisable to keep a record of your diet, activity, and bloating incidents. After a few weeks or months, you will likely notice a pattern and learn your specific triggers. With this knowledge, you can avoid trigger-foods and take proactive measures like increased exercise.