How To Reduce Belly Bloat

Bloating – we hate it for a while, we get over it and continue with our day, and then we hate it again. Though many of us rightfully may not have a problem with it, some of us hate how it makes us look in dresses and the physical feeling it creates. However nutritionist Zoha Matin emphasises on something important: ‘A little gas and stomach distention is very normal and nothing to be worried about.’

But despite knowing that it is entirely normal for our bodies to react this way, it stil lbothers and affects how many of us feel. Luckily, there are some simple and effective solutions, such as foods/drinks we can avoid. For more insight on this with the lens of ace nutritionist, Zoha Matin, keep reading:

The Triggers Of Bloating

To seek a solution, we have to understand the problem. The intake causes of bloating are indeed different for people, however there are certain things we consume that allow most of us to be prone to bloating. Here are some common intake triggers, that cause the most amount of stomach gas according to Zoha:

  • Carbonated beverages (fizzy drinks/soda)
  • Raw, uncooked vegetables
  • Lentils, beans and chickpeas
  • Cruciferous vegetables: the group of diverse vegetables that include broccoli and cauliflower
  • Okra

Zoha advises that ‘people who have trouble digesting home cooked chickpeas and beans can try canned versions. This can help reduce gas.’

There are also other bodily functions/internal issues that can lead to bloating. These include:

  • Not emptying your bowel entirely
  • Trapped gas in reaction to the food/food quantity

Foods containing large amounts of dairy can be fundamental to trapped gas. If you find you are having this issue upon consuming dairy products, reduce or cut them out of your diet (directly and as ingredients), to see if this reduces excessive bloating. A food diary may be helpful for this – you also want to ensure your required calorie count is not depleting as a result of dietary changes. Healthy levels of food consumption are extremely important. 

Specific Means Of Exercise Can Reduce Bloating

There are measures of exercise that you can practice in order to partly reduce your bloating. Faster practices of exercise are not entirely beneficial to this – you want to experiment with walking and perhaps yoga. By taking regular walks, you are moving your bowels at a safe pace in order to provide room for clearing out excess stools and gas – Zoha recommends 10-minute walks directly after meals. With yoga practice, you are efficiently exercising muscles in your abdomen area that trigger the same effects as walking. Our expert nutritionist also deems this piece of advice fundamental: do not lie down, recline, or sleep directly after eating. Sit completely upright for at least 2 hours.

Eating Habits

Your eating habits  contribute to bloating and its ability to develop quicker than usual. Our expert nutritionist recommends eating your meals slowly and to, ‘chew every bite very well before swallowing’. This subsequently prevents gulping large amounts of air into the gastrointestinal tract.

Stool Habits

A main cause of excessive gas can be constipation, i.e. not passing stool frequently or regularly. According to Zoha, not emptying your bowels properly can hold up lots of waste material in the large intestine. This gives something called the ‘microbial flora’ (a system for healthy bacterial manifestation) a chance to partially digest food instead of entirely, and thus produce gases.

Gas can be caused when someone has constipation/isn’t passing stool frequently. Not emptying the bowels regularly holds up a lot of waste material in the large intestine which gives the microbial flora a chance to partially digest food and produce gases. Use this as a flag for concern if you have other symptoms, as described later in the article.

Dietary Essentials

You will have to meet dietary and nutritional requirements to reduce bloating. But don’t take this as mundane instruction – you will feel better in yourself when you commit to a balanced lifestyle and relationship with food. Eating a fibrous diet is fundamental to preventing constipation and gas. Zoha Matin recommends specific amounts – ‘25 g of fibre per day for women, 35 g of fibre per day for men’.

Water consumption is also crucial to this issue. This is important for far more than toxins, content stabilisation and eased digestion. It has so many benefits to your skin’s glow and your energy as a result of hydration levels. Zoha recommends 2 litres of water consumption for women and 3 litres for men.

Cooking Habits

Your cooking habits are important to ensure that your dietary essentials are allowing efficient digestion.

  • Cooking your vegetables entirely can make them easier to digest. Try to avoid raw vegetables – their state and texture is naturally more challenging to smooth digestion.
  • Lower your salt intake, and refrain from using a lot of salt in your cooking practices

Zoha has  recommended that in order to prioritise and improve your gut health, you must consider adding probiotic rich foods and ingredients to your meals, as gut health is fundamental to reducing gas levels after meals. These include:

  • Yogurt
  • Pickles/ pickled vegetables
  • Achar
  • Sauerkraut
  • Kimchi
  • Kombucha.

You could even try soluble fibre supplements, which are extra beneficial. However, if you are really struggling with constipation issues and bloating, you should contact a doctor. This is if your symptoms of bloating and constipation are constant. This is important because it is inherently linked to concerning conditions that will need immediate attention. Don’t be afraid to seek help – it’s better to be safe about your concerns than let your health gradually decline.

Proportions

Substantial consumption is extremely important, as mentioned earlier. Do not undereat so much so that your energy levels are low during the day, and you feel constantly fatigued, and sometimes nauseous. Equally, know your limits when it comes to personal proportions. This depends on the calorie intake of each meal.

Don’t count your calories unless you have been advised or it helps you, but ensure that you keep a mental tally of the kind of foods you are consuming, to ensure your meals are balanced. Zoha Matin emphasises, ‘Limit the amount of beans/lentils/chickpeas in one meal, find your comfortable limit (it will vary from person to person). Eating too much in one sitting could cause gas in some people.’ It depends on your height, frame, and professional advice. If you are exercising routinely, drinking your required water consumption every day, and you don’t feel as though you have over-eaten after every meal – you are doing a good job.

It’s a great idea to experiment with your eating intake schedule to see how this affects your energy levels and ability to reduce bloating. Research shows that gas and bloating can be reduced by smaller but more frequent meal proportions. You may have 6 small meals throughout the day, ensuring that they each contain nutritional elements. This in no way means don’t treat yourself – you ought to. Ms Matin actually professionally advises, ‘Limit the amount of vegetables in one meal, find your comfortable limit’. 

Your body will call out in adjustment to these changes. It’s all about experimenting and learning about the ways in which your body responds best, all whilst keeping healthy and balanced. The aim is ensuring that digestion is taking place at maximum opportunity, and that subsequently, you don’t feel weighed down or physically burdened by your bloating – and remember, bloating is normal!

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