How to Ease Bloating

Posted on: 30 May 2023

Bloating is very common and can be caused after consuming certain foods and drinks, or by swallowing air when we eat. It can also be a result of digestion issues like constipation, food intolerance, coeliac disease, and irritable bowel syndrome.

The good news is that we can avoid or ease bloating and relevant symptoms by changing certain eating and lifestyle habits.

Eating Habits:

  • Not eating too much at a time as being too full can make your tummy feel uncomfortable.
  • Chewing your food more.  This can make it easier for you to break down food and make it go through your body more easily. Chewing more means you don’t swallow so much air. Also, it makes you eat more slower which can stop you from eating too much in one go.
  • Eating 5-6 smaller meals/ snacks per day, so you don’t get too full at any one time.
  • Try not to miss any meals or eat late at night.
  • Eating less fat. Fatty foods can take longer to go through your body and means your stomach is full for longer, and this can cause bloating. Ways to have less fat include: 
    • eating less fried or creamy foods.
    • taking fat that you can see off meat before you cook it.
    • grill or oven bake foods rather than frying them.
  • Hot drinks can help food to go through your body more easily, but drinks such as too much coffee can make bloating and stomach problems worse. Try to only have 2-3 cups a day of drinks with caffeine in them. Instead try mint or fruit teas or decaffeinated tea and coffees.
  • Cutting down on what alcohol you have as this can also make stomach problems worse.
  • Certain foods can make you have more wind (gas).  If this wind stays in your stomach (and it doesn’t pass through your body and come out as wind) it can make you feel uncomfortable and bloated. There are some foods which might give you more wind, so try to cut down on foods such as:  
    • beans and pulses;
    • vegetables such as brussels sprouts, cauliflower, garlic, onions, cabbage, leeks, mushrooms;
    • fruit such as apples, cherries;
    • some artificial sweeteners such as xylitol, sorbitol and mannitol which are commonly added to sugar-free products like fruit squashes, mints or chewing gum.  If you cut down these foods, but it doesn’t help your bloating, you can start eating them again.
  • Eating more soluble fibre. You could eat more oats or oat bran (such as oat-based breakfast cereal or porridge) or try adding linseeds or flaxseeds (starting with ½ tablespoon a day and building to 1 tablespoon twice a day as required). Make sure you drink an additional 200ml water with each tablespoon of seeds that you add so that you don’t get constipated.
  • Add pro and prebiotics to your diet plan
    • Foods rich in Probiotics: yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, tempeh, kimchi, miso, kombucha, pickles, traditional buttermilk, natto, some types of cheese
    • Foods rich in Prebiotics:

  Lifestyle Habits:

  • In some people, stress slows down how food goes through your body, which can cause bloating, pain and constipation or it can cause an upset stomach and diarrhoea. Stress can make you not feel like eating, or it can make you gulp air. It can be difficult to avoid all stress but having ways to help you manage the stress can be useful. For example, when you are tense, practise slow breathing or mindfulness exercises. If you are feeling very anxious, stressed, or unhappy then it may help to try and calm yourself before eating. Try to keep mealtimes happy and relaxed and put off any difficult conversations until after a meal. 
  • Wear clothes that are not too tight around your waist, as these can increase the pressure on your stomach and make it harder for wind to pass along normally.
  • Having a warm bath, and spend time soaking, and relaxing. The heat of the bath can help a sore tummy. Doing this and finding other ways to relax can help you feel less stressed, and this helps your stomach.
  • Consider counselling to talk about the things that you are finding difficult or stressful. There may be things about your critical illness that you are upset about and need support with.
  • Exercise and massage.

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