Do you feel bloated soon after most meals? It may not be so hard to believe, but a large percentage of Americans deal with chronic stomach bloating that can cause significant discomfort after meals. Some people may experience bloating after eating specific foods like gluten, dairy, and sugar, and many others feel like they experience it no matter what they eat. No matter what the cause or how often it happens, one thing is for sure — it’s uncomfortable! But it may also indicate a bigger underlying issue.
Let’s take a look at some root causes of belly bloat and ways to beat it, naturally.
Underlying Causes of Belly Bloat
There are a number of culprits that can cause that bloated feeling. Some of the most common triggers include an underlying food sensitivity, drinking carbonated beverages, overeating, eating too much sugar or fried foods, and even chronic stress or an intestinal imbalance. Getting to the bottom of what’s causing your stomach bloating will be an important part of preventing it from happening when you eat.
Here are 10 ways to naturally combat beat belly bloat:
#1 Supplement with Probiotics
Supplementing with a high-quality probiotic is an excellent way to support digestive health, which is a key step in possibly reducing stomach bloating. You may feel bloated due to an imbalance in the bacteria in your gut. Supplementing with a probiotic, can help restore the good bacteria in the gut and make you less likely to experience chronic bloating. When it comes to choosing a probiotic, be sure to choose a soil-based probiotic that is heartier than traditional ones sold in stores, as plant-based probiotics are much more effective.
#2 Try These Gut-Supporting Foods
On top of supplementing with a good probiotic, you can also add some gut-supporting foods to your diet. With the trillions of bacteria living in the gut, it is essential to feed the healthy bacteria and prevent the pathogenic ones from causing unwanted symptoms such as bloating and other gastrointestinal upset. Some probiotic-rich foods to add to your diet include: sauerkraut, kimchi, full-fat unsweetened coconut yogurt, miso, and kombucha.
#3 Try Eliminating These Foods
While it is beneficial to add probiotic-rich foods to your diet, there are also some foods to eliminate. Foods like sugar, conventional dairy products (milk, cream cheese, ice cream, cheese, sour cream,) processed foods, fried foods, and refined carbohydrates like bread, pasta, and white rice can all lead to bloating. It’s best to eliminate these foods from your diet and consume a diet more reliant on whole foods — those that don't come with a food label. Foods like fresh fruits, veggies, poultry, nuts, and seeds are all an excellent part of a healthy diet to help prevent bloating.
#4 Watch Your Food Combinations
Certain people get bloated when they combine foods from different food groups. Mixing fruit with protein can lead to stomach bloating because the sugar from the fruit may stay in your stomach for longer than it should when mixed with a protein. Fruit can also be an issue when mixed with any other food group for certain people, so you may be better off enjoying a piece of fruit on its own. Mixing dairy products with starches can also cause uncomfortable bloating. If you enjoy dairy products, try to stick to organic dairy that’s free from added hormones and antibiotics and enjoy a piece of cheese with dark leafy green veggies instead of bread.
#5 Watch How Much You Drink with Meals
Drinking too much water with meals can also make you feel bloated. If you chug down a glass of water right before you are about to eat, your stomach may already be full and adding food to the mix can lead to stomach bloating. Drinking too much water during meals can also neutralize the stomach acid you need to break down foods, so try to avoid this. Instead, drink the bulk of your water in between meals or at least 20 minutes before eating.
#6 Reduce Stress
Stress can lead to just about any unwanted symptom you can think of, even chronic diseases! When you are stressed, you are more likely to experience stomach discomforts. This may be a result of your body staying too long in its fight-or-flight response mode. Instead of the body working to break down and digest food, it’s working to fight off the stressor. The result may be an upset stomach and bloating when eat during periods of high stress. Try to implement some daily stress reduction into your routine to help support your digestive health and thus reduce the occurrence of bloating.
#7 Try Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is commonly used to help reduce digestive discomfort. Some people mix raw apple cider vinegar with a glass of water after a meal to help promote better digestion. If you are experiencing bloating, give it a try. Try diluting the apple cider vinegar with water and start with a small amount. A teaspoon or so is a great beginning serving. Work your way up to a tablespoon per one large cup of water.
#8 Skip the Carbonated Beverages
Carbonated beverages are notorious for causing stomach bloating, which is why you often feel the need to belch after consuming them. Sodas or bubbly beverages create little air bubbles which can be super uncomfortable from the inside out. If you are craving something other than water, try making a fruit infused water with some freshly squeezed lemon juice, sliced strawberries or cucumbers.
#9 Get Moving
Moving your body can help promote better digestion. If you feel bloated, try getting out for a walk or try gentle yoga. Sometimes something as simple as moving your body can decrease that uncomfortable feeling.
#10 Try a Warm Mug of Lemon Water
Lemon is extremely alkalinizing and detoxifying; mixing it with a cup of warm water first thing in the morning can help support digestion by resetting the digestive system and flushing out toxins. It can also help with constipation, which is another underlying cause of stomach bloating.
Belly bloat is uncomfortable and can even be embarrassing if it happens after a meal with friends or family. If you find yourself frequently suffering from this problem, try a few of these ten tips. With just a couple of dietary and lifestyle adjustments, you may be well on your way to experiencing far fewer episodes of belly bloat and be better able to enjoy meals without the worry!