Bloating sucks. It’s uncomfortable, in some cases painful and not very aesthetically pleasing. You wake up, ready to rule the day and bam, your stomach is hard and bloated. Super unfortunate because you were ready to slide into your tight, little black dress for the campus party tonight and couldn’t wait to show off your new bikini at the beach. Yikes. We’ve all been there - and that’s why we’re here to help. We’ve come up with the top ten tips to avoid and prevent abdominal bloating and help a girl (or guy) out!
What is abdominal bloating?
Abdominal bloating is a bloated stomach. It’s nothing more than a temporary expansion of the abdomen, i.e. the lower abdomen. Usually, this is just a harmless symptom occurring if there is too much air in your intestines or if your digestive tract is forming extra gas. You might be tempted to think you’re just stuck with a water belly, but water retention doesn’t typically manifest itself in your stomach, but primarily makes ankles and feet swell up first.
Being bloated and gassy is very annoying but there are plenty of tricks to ease your pain. If your pants are tight and the zipper won’t close, don’t reach for your cozy leggings and cushy couch just yet. Here are plenty of tips and tricks on how to not only avoid abdominal bloating, but also how to cure it once you’re stuck with it.
How to prevent prevent bloating:
1) Slow down
You just finished a long, sweaty training session and suddenly you want to devour literally anything edible in reach. Not taking your time to properly chew your food may result in exactly what we’ve been trying so hard to avoid: stomach pain and uncomfortable gas. Be careful not to overload your digestive track by not eating for hours and then having a super large meal either. Take your time, take each bite consciously and enjoy your food. Your body will thank you, and bloating will be a thing of the past!
2) Up your fiber intake to avoid constipation
Constipation is often the result of too little fiber, not enough fluids and little to no exercise. Not being mindful of a well-balanced diet, leads to bloating and gas. Dietary fiber helps you feel naturally full and as an added bonus, promotes weight loss. The recommended daily dose is around 25g per day for women and 38g for men (1).
Here you have an overview of foods which are particularly rich in fiber:
(g fiber / 100g)
- Pears (3.1g / 100g)
- Avocados (6.7g / 100g)
- Raspberries (6.5g / 100g)
- Artichokes (8.6g / 100g)
- Lentils (7.9g / 100g)
- Beetle beans (6.4g / 100g)
- Chickpeas (7.6g / 100g)
- Oat flakes (10.6g / 100g)
- Popcorn (14.5g / 100g)
- Chia seeds (34.4g / 100g)
3) It's Tea O’Clock, Baby
Luckily, since abdominal bloating isn’t a new thing, there’s plenty of scientific studies trying to find cures and natural home remedies. There are several herbs and plants that will naturally fight your bloated stomach and relieve your symptoms quickly. We’ve got these top contenders along for the ride: chamomile, ginger, lemon balm, sage, anise and fennel. If you don't have ready-made tea bags at home, you can just mix and match your herbs until you’ve found what works for you. Simply choose your favorite ingredients from the list of herbs mentioned above and add 3-4 teaspoons of your personal mix to 500ml of hot water. Cover your cup and steep your tea for 10-15 minutes. Drink 2-3 cups a day for optimal results.
4) Take a warm bath, soak and relax
This one may be a bit tricky. We know you don’t exactly have a hot water bottle at hand at work and you can’t very well relax if you’re struck with abdominal bloating during your weekend hike. But if you do have the opportunity, definitely make heat your best friend. The warmth will relax your digestive tract and calm down your bowel movements. Grab a nice blanket, make yourself a cup of tea and cuddle up on your coach with your favorite Netflix show. Just by relaxing and winding down your stomach will eventually debloat.
By the way - stress slows down your digestion and causes pain, bloating and constipation. Ease your level of tension and anxiety by winding down and getting into a deep state of relaxation. Add a little yoga or meditation session to your routine and help your body relax.
5) Check food allergies and intolerances
If you’re suffering from lactose intolerance (and yes, it’s suffering if you can’t have that delicious piece of Gouda without getting stomach cramps) - you’re probably regularly cursed with abdominal bloating and cramps. Cramping caused by intolerances or allergies is particularly nasty. When you’re lactose intolerant, your body cannot fully digest and break down the sugar found in milk. With other food allergies, usually some similar processes are set in place that cause the bloating and extra gas in your bowels. If you’re often bloated after having a particular kind of meal, keep a food diary for a while in order to rule out any kind of allergies.
6) Drink enough water
You’re already bloated and now we’re asking you to chug gallons of water? It sounds a bit counterproductive, but it actually isn’t. If you’re regularly struggling with bloating, make sure that you drink enough water throughout the day. You should be aiming for at least 8 cups of water per day, or half an ounce to an ounce of water for each pound you weigh. If your hydration levels are well balanced, less water will be withdrawn from the colon. This keep your stool soft and easy to pass and in turn reduce constipation and bloating.
# 1 Top-Tip: ginger water with lemon juice
Double-trouble: you’ve got your hydration down and additionally get tons of antioxidants with this drink as well. Perfect. The deliciously spicy aftertaste of ginger is not just a (for many) pleasant aroma, but has an incredibly high antibacterial effect. Ginger relieves you of nausea and stimulates your metabolism and blood circulation. The citric acid found in lemons, are rich in vitamin C and also antibacterial and anti-inflammatory. Your ginger lemon drink is best enjoyed with plenty of ice and is the perfect solution for a hot summer day. Hey summer, bye bloating!
Ginger also helps with sore muscles. A scientific study by Black, Herring et al. (2010) shows that the regular intake of raw and heat-treated ginger can lead to a moderate to high reduction in muscle soreness (2). In the study, subjects consumed 2 grams of ginger over a period of eleven days during a demanding exercise regime. The inflammation values in the blood decreased significantly in contrast to the test persons in the placebo group (ergo those who didn’t consume ginger)
# 2 Top-Tip: a spoonful of honey in your water or tea can also reduce the excessive accumulation of gas in your stomach. If you happen to be hungry and eager for a little snack, try our Weight Loss Shake in vanilla or chocolate . It contains high quality honey powder, which will calm your gastrointestinal tract.
7) Less salt, less bloating
If you’re one of those people who love to have a little food with their salt, you know that the sodium is to blame for your bloating. Too much salt can cause the kidneys to offset your water balance, which leads to gastrointestinal gas. If you feel like life and food doesn’t make sense without salt, just substitute it with other spices. Herbs and powders such as chilli, pepper or garlic give your dish a spicy taste without your stomach bloating and you becoming a gassy mess.
Excess of salt is almost always found in processed foods as well. You should try to stay away from frozen pizzas, chips and ready-to-go meals if you’re prone to bloating. Light and fat free products are salt and sugar traps as well. The taste has gotta come from somewhere
8) Leave your coke on the shelves
We don't like to disappoint, but there’s a harsh reality for coke lovers. Highly carbonated drinks can lead to a lot of extra air in the digestive tract. Normally this is nothing to worry about, as it is part of the metabolic process and usually released immediately. When the body produces more gases than usual and extra gas cannot escape, you’ll be left with abdominal bloating. Instead of reaching for the soda, try a variation with a milder carbonic acid content if you just can’t do without your bubbly passion.
9) Move more
If you’ve heard a rumor that taking a walk after a big meal helps, you’re on the right track. Particularly after a heavy, fatty or high-carb meal, an easy and light walk will help with digestion. This doesn’t mean you’ll have to go for an hour long run or struggle in the gym: just twenty minutes in the fresh air and light exercise promote a healthy digestion. Additionally, this whole-body movement leads to a higher heart and respiratory rate, which promotes blood flow to the intestines, and in turn will help reduce bloating.
10) Stay away from artificial sweeteners
Sugar is bad, sweeteners are good - not entirely true. If you want to know what's in your food, just take a look at the food label and its ingredients. Every ingredient that ends in "-ol" - such as erythritol, sorbitol, or xylitol, are artificial sweeteners that are very likely to contribute to bloating. This so-called sugar alcohol can be found in almost every sugar-free snack, like gummy bears, drinks and the like. Sugar alcohol is difficult for the body to digest, which in turn leads to bloating and gas.
If you have a tendency to bloat and still have a sweet tooth, it’s actually better to consume real sugar (in moderation!). If you’d like to find out more about sugar and how bad it really is for our bodies, check out this blog.
The short overview - tricks against abdominal bloating
You know the Dos and Don'ts now and hopefully, bloating will be a thing of the past. Here’s a little overview you can use as a cheat-sheet, if you ever need a reminder of what to avoid in order to avoid bloating.
- Carbonated drinks such as Coke, Fanta, Sprite & Co (plus, there’s just tons of sugar in there)
- Too much coffee
- High-fat dairy products (particularly if you’re lactose-intolerant)
- Sugar alcohols, which can be found especially in sugar-free, light products
- Excessive salt
- Unripe fruit or vegetables
If you’re prone to abdominal bloating and extra gas, a balanced diet, regular water intake and exercise will help you relieve all symptoms. Don’t forget to keep a food diary, which can be a perfect indicator of which foods cause your bloating. Up your fiber intake and you’ll keep your hunger in check and the bloat to a minimum.