Bloating can be uncomfortable at best and painful at worst. The frustrating ailment can take a hit to your self-confidence by making your jeans a little tighter and your flatulence a little more frequent. For those who endure bloat more often than they'd like, there is hope. Certain foods, like papaya, can provide the digestive tract with what it needs to either pass the gas or stop it before it starts. There are also habits that may help, like kicking the chewing gum and trying out yoga. Read on to discover more ways to help fight bloating.
Incorporate Ginger Into Your Diet
It's no secret that ginger is a gentle aid to the digestive tract. According to Livestrong, the root soothes the digestive tract by calming down intestinal activity and expelling gas. Gingerols in ginger can also ease abdominal pain associated with bloating.
The University of Maryland Medical Center recommends taking 2 to 4 grams of fresh root each day, or one gram of powdered ginger daily. You can also grate a small amount of ginger and add it to hot water. Stir in some honey and lemon and you have a refreshing tea.
Lower Your Sodium Intake
While bloating is often associated with gas, another culprit is water. Salt can cause the body to retain water, leading to more bloating. Researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health conducted a study to test how a high-sodium diet impacts bloat.
They found that high-sodium diets increased the likelihood of bloating by 27%. Other than water retention, scientists also speculate that sodium may alter the gut microbiome. If you're expressing bloating frequently, you may want to test out a low-sodium diet.
Up Your Potassium
Another way to ease bloating that may be related to high sodium is to increase your potassium. Potassium helps remove sodium from the body. Harvard Health Publishing reports that during the Stone Age, humans consumed 16 times more potassium than sodium.
Today, the average American consumes twice as much sodium as they do potassium, which may explain why bloating is so common. They also state that lowering sodium and raising potassium is far more effective than changing only one of them.
Avoid Foods That Contain Raffinose
Beans are often correlated with gas. However, the same ingredient in beans that leads to gas is also present in broccoli, cabbage, and brussel sprouts. The substance is called raffinose. According to WebMD, the body produces gas when it breaks down raffinose, causing bloating.
The effects vary from person to person, but experts suggest easing into these foods to allow the body time to adjust. Rather than avoiding these foods altogether, it may be beneficial to start with a small amount and gradually increase from there.
Eat More Slowly
WebMD reports that eating quickly leads to swallowing more air. This air gets trapped in the stomach, leading to bloating. This gas can also pass to the intestines, causing further digestive unease.
On top of that, eating faster doesn't give your body time to realize how full it is because it takes 30 minutes for your brain to catch up. Eating too quickly can lead to overeating, which can also cause bloating. Portion out your meals, eat them slowly, and pause before stuffing down anything else.
Do Some Yoga
When it comes to the bowels, relaxation can do wonders for allowing things to pass. Yoga helps the body relax by increasing blood flow and releaving tension. Certain poses are especially helpful for bloating as they target the abdominal area.
When gas becomes trapped in the digestive tract, gently moving the body in ways it's not used to can sometimes help shift those pockets of air. The focus on breath encourages the abdomen to relax and expand, creating a pathway for gas to escape.
Keep Peppermint Around
Dietitian Amy Shapiro told The Cut that peppermint helps relax muscle spasms, which helps air, liquids, and foods pass through the digestive tract. The popular herb is present in many products, such as candy and toothpaste.
According to Amy, one of the best ways to ingest peppermint is in tea. You can add the fresh herb to hot water and drink as many as three to five cups each day, accounting for a teaspoon of peppermint in each cup.
Drink Chamomile Tea
As you've probably gathered by the past few recommendations, it's all about relaxation when it comes to alleviating bloating. That's what makes chamomile tea so effective at subduing the condition. Its calming properties relax the intestines, which in turn helps allow the gas to pass.
Time magazine states that chamomile tea also helps ease stomach discomfort by soothing the body into a more relaxed state. For those who are not a fan of the strong taste of peppermint, chamomile may be a helpful alternative.
Mix A Teaspoon Of Baking Soda Into Your Water
With all of the uses of baking soda, it may be worth keeping a box around the house at all times. According to Healthline, baking soda helps neutralize stomach acid which can help relieve bloating associated with indigestion.
Experts recommend stirring 1/2 a teaspoon of baking soda in warm water and drinking it, then waiting at least two hours before repeating. An article published by the Journal of Medical Toxicology stresses the importance of not exceeding more than seven 1/2 teaspoons in 24-hours, or three 1/2 teaspoons if you're over the age of 60.
Steep Fennel Or Caraway Seeds
Medical News Today reports that fennel seeds are an effective aid to digestion. More specifically, it helps reduce gas and bloating by relaxing the gastrointestinal system. That's because it contains compounds such as estragole and anethole that calm muscle spasms.
Caraway, sometimes called Persian fennel, can also alleviate excessive bloating. Caraway seeds contain carvol and carvene, which have a similar effect on the digestive tract as fennel seeds. Steep a teaspoon of seeds in hot water for about 10 minutes and drink once a day.
Consume Citrus Fruits
According to Livestrong, the high water content in citrus fruits tells the body that it doesn't need to continue retaining water. The body holds onto water when it thinks it's at risk of dehydration.
Consuming citrus fruits can help hydrate you, enabling the body to rid itself of extra water and eliminate excess salt. Additionally, lemons are a natural diuretic. Ingesting lemon juice in warm water can help alleviate constipation, which also may be the cause of your bloating.
Take A Tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar
MedicalNewsToday reports that while there isn't extensive research that's been done regarding apple cider vinegar and bloating, some of its properties may still help. For instance, the substance is highly acidic, which may help those with low stomach acidity that results in slow digestion and bloating.
Another possible reason why this home remedy has been sworn by is that it is antimicrobial. That means that it may help kill bacteria in the stomach and intestines that release gas and lead to bloating. To give it a try, mix a tablespoon in warm water or add it to a salad.
Massage The Abdomen With Essential Oils
Rather than consumming fennel or peppermint, another option is to purchase the essential oil form of these substances. The high potency of the oil makes it effective when applied as a topical. Experts recommend adding a drop to a less potent carrier oil, such as olive oil, for safety before applying it to the skin.
One benefit of applying them this way is that the massage may offer an added boost. The University of Michigan reports that massaging your stomach can help move stool along in the colon and may relieve bloating.
Incorporate Cucumber Into Your Diet
Cucumbers have been used at spas for decades to help reduce eye puffiness. That's because they contain quercetin, caffeic acid, vitamin C, and silica, which is said to alleviate swelling and may help with bloating.
Additionally, cucumbers are high in potassium, the mineral that helps flush out sodium in the body. Like citrus fruits, the also contain a high amount of water, which can help keep you hydrated and prevent excess water retension. Throw a few cucumbers in your salad or try chilled cucumber soup.
Try Aloe Vera Juice
Dietitians told the UK's Express that aloe vera has anti-inflammatory and laxative properties. This means that consuming it may reduce swelling of the abdomen and boost digestion. It also helps to balance acid levels in the stomach and supports digestive bacteria.
As an added bonus, all of these properties are also said to soothe stomach ulcers. Researchers suggest that drinking 30 ml of aloe vera juice twice a day may help with stomach ailments, such as bloating.
Eat Some Papaya And Pineapple
The Food Network calls papaya a "digestive champion." That's because it contains papain, an enzyme that acts as a gentle laxative. That combined with its fiber make papaya helpful in getting things moving and preventing trapped air from causing bloating.
Similarly, pineapple contains the enzyme bromelain which helps reduce bloating and gas. Have a cup of each regularly to maintain digestive balance. You can also combine both fruits into a smoothie for an ultra bloat-fighting blend.
Have Some Asparagus
When suffering from bloating, asparagus may not be the first thing that comes to mind. However, the reason why it's one of the best foods to eat while bloated is due to a compound called asparagine. Today reports that the compound acts as a natural diuretic.
Furthermore, it's a good source of folate, which some people with digestive issues may be lacking, according to an article published by Haematologica. Folate, or folic acid, helps with many bodily functions, including digestion.
Take Your Probiotics
Researchers at Lund University found that taking probiotics helped reduce gas production and abdominal pain. While probiotics don'ts get rid of the gut bacteria that causes bloating, they do add healthy bacteria to the gut, which may improve its overall environment.
You can reap the benefits of probiotics by eating foods such as yogurt and sauerkraut, which have probiotics in them. As an alternative, there are many probiotic supplements that will proved you with several different strains of helpful bacteria at once.
Consume Coconut Oil
Healthline reports that coconut oil may have a laxative effect, helping food pass more frequently. The more efficient your body is at properly digestive food, the less likely air will get trapped in your gut and cause bloating.
Researchers at Payap University found that virgin coconut oil may have moderate anti-inflammatory effects, meaning it may help your bloating by reducing inflammation of the digestive tract. Consuming too much coconut oil may have adverse effects on the heart, so be sure to use it in moderation.
Avoid Chewing Gum
The Active Times broke down several reasons why chewing gum may increase abdominal upset. For one, it can increase the amount of air you swallow which may cause more air to become trapped in the stomach and cause bloating.
Secondly, it causes the stomach to produce digestive enzymes. Without any food to process, these enzymes can cause bloating. Lastly, some people are sensitive to sugar alcohols, which can also lead to bloating. If you suffer from frequent bloat and don't know why, chewing gum may be the culprit.