Bloating and inflammation happen to all of us. It occurs when your belly feels swollen after eating, making it appear bigger. A feeling of fullness or pressure in your abdomen is caused by excess gas production or interruptions in the movement of the muscles in the digestive system. This gas can be mild, intermittent or even severe and painful.
Bloating can sneak up in you in surprising ways and what we eat adversely affects how dire the symptoms will be. Sometimes it can be caused by serious medical conditions, but your diet and certain ingredients you are intolerant to can often be to blame. Other factors can also cause bloating, such as PMS, constipation, and dehydration.
Fortunately, there are many methods you can try to overcome the digestive problem. We asked Joanna Dase, fitness expert at Curves (opens in new tab), to share some lifestyle changes that can lessen the amount of gas your body produces.
Reduce salt and increase spices in your meals
"Spices can play a part in alleviating bloating caused by indigestion", Joanna says, "Reducing your salt intake and increasing spices consumption can make a big difference."
She recommends adding more Cayenne pepper to your dishes: it eases gas which could help to relieve pressure and cramping. You can also add spices to your meals and even add a sprinkle to a drink of your choice. "You can do the same with turmeric; add a teaspoon into tea or a smoothie", she adds.
Reduce alcohol intake
After alcohol consumption, you can be left in general discomfort the next morning. When our bodies are dehydrated, they retain water to compensate. So, after a night of drinking, you might feel slightly bloated as alcohol is an inflammatory substance, causing swelling in the body.
"If you drink more than your recommended intake (opens in new tab), more than 14 units of alcohol a week, you can irritate the stomach lining", Joanna explains, "Stick to the recommended unit for your age and keep hydrated in between drinks to flush out toxins and ease your hangover the next day."
Practice yoga daily
"Daily yoga sessions can make a difference to your digestive system", Joanna explains, "Yoga works by stretching your abdominal muscles and encourage movement through your intestines. Integrate a session into your morning routine, and you’ll see a reduction of bloating when paired with the right diet."
Yeast is found in food such as bread, pastries, flour, and biscuits.
"Experiencing gas after eating bread is common, but it could also mean that you have a sensitivity to gluten or a substance in wheat", Joanna suggests, "Try to experiment with eating different types of bread such as wheat-free. If you find your stomach is still inflamed, implement a yeast-free diet."
Avoid chewing gum
Chewing gum might seem innocent and is a quick fix for fresh breath, but it causes you to swallow tummy-bloating air. Many gums also contain artificial sweeteners like sorbitol, xylitol and sugar alcohols.
As Joanna says, "Since your body does not absorb these sugar alcohols, it can lead to bloating. Instead, choose organic gum: they are low in calories and don't contain sweeteners."
Eat high protein breakfasts
People often don't include enough protein in their breakfast. Having a toast with some butter or cereal with milk contain very little protein. Since we don't have protein reserves and most people don't eat enough protein as it is, having some protein first thing in the morning is highly recommended.
"You should start your day by eating protein", Joanna adds, "A high protein breakfast will reduce mid-morning or afternoon slumps. It will also lessen the chance of you reaching for a sugar snack for a pick me up; these contain bloat-inducing ingredients such as excess sodium."
Ditch the straws
Similar to eating too quickly can cause you to swallow excess air, sipping drinks through a straw can do the same. Extra air intake will leave you feeling bloated and puffy.
"If you’re drinking your daily water intake through a straw this could be the reason you’re retaining extra water in your stomach. Ditch the straw and drink slowly through glass or mug", Joanna adds.