Bloating is an equal-opportunity digestive troublemaker. What’s more, that unwelcome full belly, puffy, can’t-fit-into-your-favorite-jeans feeling is often accompanied by equally irksome upsets such as excess gas, burping, constipation, and more.
What exactly is bloating?
For that answer, let’s do a simple review of the digestion process that leads to this outcome.
When we eat food, it travels to our stomach, where it’s broken down into smaller pieces. Next, it moves to the small intestine, where key nutrients get absorbed for our body to use.
Remaining undigested food moves on to the large intestine (AKA colon), which hosts a huge colony of bacteria. The undigested food feeds the microorganisms, supporting their growth. Unfortunately, a by-product of this last stop can be excess gas which can translate into bloating.
Experts say that bloating is usually caused by excess gas production or disruptions in the movement of muscles in the digestive system. Bloating involves excessive amounts of solids, liquids, or gas in your digestive system.
Possible causes of bloating
We’ve established how common bloating is, but now let’s dive into a few of the top culprits.
Your Food & Drink Habits
The faster you eat or drink, the more air you swallow. For example, when you drink a bubbly soda, the air passes into your intestine, and viola, you feel bloated. You see, these drinks contain carbon dioxide, a gas that can be released after it reaches your stomach. When this gas enters your stomach, it can stick around and cause bloating. The same goes for gobbling down food. And not to sound like your mother but chew your food better. This will reduce the air you swallow. Also, opt for several small meals over the course of a day to reduce the chance of bloating.
Hard To Digest Foods
There are certain foods that are trickier for your body to break down or absorb well. These can include so-called “healthy” foods such as legumes and fiber-rich veggies. Other culprits include sugar alcohols, artificial sweeteners, fatty foods, and dairy.
When you’re irregular, it can lead to abdominal pressure that can promote increased gas as bacteria have more time to ferment foods and block our ability to clear gas effectively. Fixes for constipation include upping your fiber gradually, drinking more water, and taking a 10-minute walk after meals. And watch out for stress which can cause digestive problems via the gut/brain axis.
As if women don’t have enough to contend with! Female hormones and menstrual cycles can do a real number on digestion. When estrogen spikes and progesterone drops, you'll notice bloating from fluids. This, in addition to the increased uterus volume just before menstruation, can give you a bloated stomach. But hormones also interact with your digestive system.
What Can Help?
Fluids play a crucial role in digestion. And this is especially true when you’re upping your fiber game. In one study, 1.5 – 2.0 liters of fluid daily with fiber-rich foods was found to promote bowel movements in individuals with chronic constipation.
Pay Attention to Your Body
Unfortunately, some of the healthiest foods, such as legumes and cruciferous vegetables, can promote gas and bloating. And, we all have that one friend that knows how to make and consume a killer charcuterie board… even if that leads to them feeling less than their best. Our advice is to pay attention to how your body responds to different foods. If you identify a pattern, it may be time to explore how they are incorporated into your diet. Ultimately, moderation is the key to the diverse diet that your gut will love. And when your gut is happy, bloating becomes a thing of the past.
You may benefit from a dietary supplement that includes digestive enzymes and probiotics. After the age of 20 years our bodies begin producing fewer digestive enzymes, making it harder to break down hard-to-digest foods. If you ever wondered why that beer and pizza combo that got your through college no longer sit so well, you now have your answer. And while digesting your food properly will help you beat bloating, including a probiotic will help even more by improving the gut’s bacterial balance to further reduce bloating.
Herbs Can Provide Some Support
Herbs are a natural and effective way to give yourself some relief from the discomforts of gas and bloating. Ginger, fennel, and dandelion are three of our favorite herbs for soothing your gut when the going gets tough, and adding these herbs to your routine, or after an indulgent meal, can be as easy as relaxing with a cup herbal tea, or adding a supplement to your day.
Bloating is no fun, from the discomfort, to its ability to make you feel less than your best in that dress you just bought, 0 out of 10, we do not recommend. But the good news is that you can easily beat the bloat by supporting your gut health and being more aware of what your body want’s and needs from the foods you eat.
We care about you (and your gut) here at Zenwise® and developed our products to do just that. If you are looking for more ways to beat the bloat? Our knowledgeable customer service team is here to help. Reach them at firstname.lastname@example.org or M-F from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST at (800) 940-1972.
If you are ready to dive down the rabbit hole of supporting your health and wellness journey, we work hard to provide fact-based content you can trust. Check out our blog library for all things gut health and so much more.
† These statements have not been evaluated by the food and drug administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.