Feeling bloated? We’ve all had that uncomfortable too-full feeling before from the occasional overindulgence. But overeating isn’t the only source of bloating. And if you’ve been dealing with that bloated feeling on a regular basis, you know how frustrating and annoying it can be. Read on to see what causes bloating and what you can do to relieve it.
What Causes Bloating
Eating Too Much, Too Fast
As mentioned above, this is an obvious and common cause of bloating. Your stomach is only about the size of your fist and while it is meant to stretch when you eat, eating too much can overstretch it and cause a lot of discomfort.
In addition, eating quickly can also cause bloating. It’s normal to swallow some air while eating or drinking, but eating too fast leads to swallowing an excess of air. This trapped air can cause your stomach to swell and build up in your digestive tract, contributing that that bloated feeling.
Salt is a necessary nutrient our bodies need to function properly but too much can also make you retain water. This can make you feel bloated as well as contributing to other potential health issues. Prepackaged and processed foods have a lot of added salt and are often the culprit.
Too Many Simple Carbs
Carbohydrates provide your body with a quick-burning fuel that can used quickly and efficiently when needed. However, simple carbs — think: white bread, baked goods, chips, etc — tend to flood the body with too many carbs that are digested too quickly, making your body retain water and feel bloated.
The bubbles in drinks like soda, beer, seltzer, and champagne are created by gas. Which means that when you drink them, your digestive system can fill up with that excess gas. If this gas then reaches your intestines, it can make you feel bloated.
Sensitivity To Dairy
If you find yourself feeling bloated and dealing with gas and uncomfortable cramps after eating dairy, it’s likely your body doesn’t digest lactose well.
High Amounts Of Poor Quality Fat
Fat is another vital nutrient used in our bodies to make cell walls, nerve tissue, and hormones. However, not all fats are created equal. Eating large amounts of poor quality fat found in highly processed and refined foods can be difficult on your digestive system, slowing down overall digestion and making you feel bloated.
Fructose is a type of sugar that can be more difficult for your body to digest, sometimes leading to gas and bloating. It’s found naturally in some fruits, as well as honey. But the biggest culprit is added sugar in the form of high fructose corn syrup.
Other Gassy Foods
There are other foods that are known to create excess gas in the body, such as beans, legumes, and some brassica vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, etc). Foods high in FODMAPs, a type of carb that can be difficult to digest, are also common causes of bloating in sensitive individuals. While these foods are often nutrient dense and can be healthy, they could also be making you feel bloated if your digestive system isn’t used to breaking them down.
For women, it’s not uncommon for your body to retain water the week before your menstrual cycle, making you feel bloated. Hormones are likely to blame and this bloating will usually go away on its own.
Most people have experienced some irregularity from time to time, usually caused by lack of water or fiber, changes in diet or routine, or illness. But getting “stopped up” can also make you feel bloated, especially if is a recurring or chronic issue.
Other Medical Conditions
In addition to the above lifestyle factors, there are several medical conditions that can cause bloating. These include things like celiac disease, IBS, GERD, and inflammatory bowel disease. If you’ve tried everything and you’re still feeling bloated, it’s best to talk to your doctor about what might be causing the symptoms.
How To Reduce Bloating
While bloating can be incredibly uncomfortable, it can also usually be remedied by a few simple changes.
The most common cause of bloating is the food you eat, so it’s important to pay attention to how you feel after eating different foods so you can get a feel for the way your body reacts. In addition, there are some basic dietary guidelines that can help reduce bloating.
- Avoid highly processed, refined foods. This will help you lower the amount of excess salt, simple carbs, high fructose corn syrup, and low-quality fats in your diet.
- Prioritize complex carbs and healthy, whole-food fats.
- Avoid dairy products if you find you’re sensitive to them.
- Limit your intake of carbonated beverages.
Make an effort to eat more slowly, chew more thoroughly, and stop eating before you actually feel full. You can always go back for seconds or, better yet, save room for dessert! Exercise and movement can also help with bloating caused by PMS symptoms or constipation.
Supplement With A Probiotic
Probiotics have been shown to help improve the bacterial environment in the digestive tract, which can help reduce bloating. The Earth Echo Probiotics contain 12 powerful strains to boost your gut health and reduce occasional bloating, as well as boosting immune health, taming cravings, and improving metabolism. *
Want to learn more about how you can improve your gut health? Check out these articles!
- WHAT'S YOUR GUT TRYING TO TELL YOU? 9 WEIRD SIGNS OF GUT IMBALANCE
- HERE’S HOW TO FIND THE PROBIOTIC THAT MAY WORK FOR YOU
- GUT BACTERIA CHANGES WITH THE SEASONS: HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
- YOUR GUT AND YOUR BRAIN: WHY GUT HEALTH IS CONNECTED TO EVERYTHING
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.