How to Reduce Bloating
Bloating can be described as an extended, tight, full, swollen feeling in the abdominal region. Some individuals may experience bloating with associated pain.
Bloating can be caused by a number of different factors including, but not limited to, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), food intolerance or allergy, consuming a large meal, eating foods that produce gas, constipation or underlying medical conditions.
Here are some ways you can reduce bloating:
1. Avoid overeating
Over indulging can make us feel full and uncomfortable, sometimes even sluggish! The best way to avoid bloating from overeating is to ensure you eat small portions regularly through-out the day. Cutting out processed and fatty salty foods can help as well as avoiding carbonated drinks like soft drink.
2. Rule out food intolerances and allergies
You will need to see an Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD). Dietitians are trained specifically to identify food intolerances and allergies. Food intolerances are sometimes confused with, or mislabeled as food allergies. Food intolerances involve the digestive system, whilst food allergies involve the immune system. If you are intolerant to a food you may experience bloating, gas/flatulence, diarrhoea or headaches, whereas an allergy is a severe reaction that can cause an anaphylactic reaction. Book in for a free dietitian consultation with a BFF dietitian here.
3. Foods that can trigger IBS
FODMAPs are a group of sugars (short-chain carbohydrates) that are not absorbed properly in the gut. Malabsorption of these sugars (lactose, fructose, sorbitol) in the intestine causes common symptoms, including bloating, cramps, nausea, flatulence, altered bowel movements (diarrhoea or constipation) and other IBS-related symptoms. This can also affect the absorption of other nutrients. High FODMAP foods include; garlic, onions, beans, legumes, artichoke and cauliflower to name a few.
It’s important you see a dietitian who specialises administering a low FODMAP diet, which limits the foods that contain the symptom-triggering sugars and will identify which FODMAPs are tolerated and the quantities they can be tolerated at.
4. If your bloating is caused by constipation
Constipation is passing of hard solid stools in a small amount, or infrequently, they may also be difficult to pass. You could try adding soluble and insoluble fibre into your diet, both these fibres can help soften the stool and help bulk the stool. Good sources of soluble fibre include legumes, fruits and vegetables, wheat bran, whole grain breads and cereals. Water intake and movement can help here too!
5. See your GP
If your bloating is severe or you experience this more commonly or has changed from what you would normally experience it’s important to see your general practitioner for further investigation, diagnosis and treatment!