10 Ways To Beat Bloating
From your waistband suddenly feeling tight to pain and discomfort in the lower abdomen, bloating can interfere with your ability to work or socialise. Luckily, there are some natural, science-backed tips to manage and treat bloating.
The symptoms of bloating can be vague and difficult to pinpoint, but most people describe it as an uncomfortable feeling of tightness or swelling in the abdomen. That sense of fullness or gassiness commonly occurs due to a buildup of gas in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. It can also occur due to medical conditions such as heartburn, IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), hormonal flux or mental issues (stress, anxiety and depression). Studies in Gastroenterology and Hepatology find that you also feel bloated if you are allergic and intolerant to some types of food like eggs, gluten, lactose, wheat and fructose. Other signs of bloating include frequent burping, abdominal gurgles, pain in abdomen and excessive flatulence.
10 Ways To Beat Bloating
1. Drink Kombucha: This fizzy, probiotic drink has a stack of benefits. From fighting off the bad bacteria to normalising the bowel functions, a study published in World Journal of Gastroenterology suggests the use of plant based probiotics such as kombucha, tempeh or sauerkraut to treat bloating. Probiotics stabilise the immune dysregulation in IBS, enhance cellular integrity to protect the colon and modify the intestinal microbes to reduce flatulence and bloating.
2. Have fennel tea: Fresh fennel bulbs are loaded with essential nutrients like folate, potassium, fibre and Vitamin C. Add a pinch of these green seeds to prepare a warm, sweet aromatic tea. According to a Gastroenterology Report, anethole, the major component of fennel oil seeds, is chemically similar to the neurotransmitter dopamine and has a relaxant effect on intestinal muscles, thereby easing bloating.
3. Say yes to lemon balm: A perennial herb from the mint family, this lemon-scented herb is an effective cure for bloating. The journal of Medicinal Food states that the phenolic compounds in lemon balm can treat complaints of bloating and flatulence. How to use lemon balm? Chop the leaves and steep them in hot water for a few minutes. Add some honey if you like and drink warm.
4. Drink ginger tea: The journal Food Science and Nutrition encourages the use of ginger tea for bloating. The rhizomes in the ginger such as carbohydrates (50–70%), lipids (3–8%), terpenes, and phenolic compounds (Grzanna, Lindmark, and Frondoza) treat gastric ailments including bloating. Further, the anti?inflammatory, antioxidant, antitumor, and antiulcer effects of ginger helps with good digestive health.
5. Try acupuncture: A study Acupuncture for irritable bowel syndrome confirms that acupuncture reduces IBS symptoms such as bloating. Acupuncture over the abdomen increases the microcirculation of blood and reduces local inflammation. When done on other parts of the body such as arms and legs, it too has a beneficial effect on bloating. Study notes that acupuncture also benefits digestion and helps relieve gas.
6. Follow a low FODMAP diet: FODMAP (Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols) foods are short chain carbohydrates and sugar alcohols that stay for longer in the gut. Examples include certain vegetables such as asparagus, chicory leaves, leeks, mushrooms, high fructose corn syrup, lentils and artificial sweeteners. Reducing these foods can be beneficial to reduce bloating. A paper in World Journal on Gastroenterology recommends following a low FODMAP diet, that is rich foods such as capsicum, kale, carrot, tomato and spinach to manage bloating.
7. Use peppermint oil capsules: Peppermint oil has been used traditionally for indigestion and irritable bowels but research shows that it can be safely used to reduce chronic bloating. Peppermint oil has been shown to induce anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic effects on the abdomen when taken via capsule. L-menthol in the peppermint oil blocks the calcium channels in abdomen smooth muscles thus relieving bloating and associated pain.
8. Drink blueberry smoothie: This is a natural antispasmodic. A diet consisting of 25% of fruit and fibre is considered naturally good for gut and digestion. But, blueberries in particular are beneficial as natural antispasmodic and can relieve pain and bloating. A study in Nutrients says that IBS and bloating are caused due to low microbial diversity such as methanobacteria and butyrate producing bacteria. Blueberries, which are also a natural prebiotic, help maintain microbial balance.
9. Have a hot cup of chamomile tea: The extracts of chamomile are used in several herbal products suggested to treat bloating. As such, drinking a hot cup of chamomile tea post meals can reduce abdominal pain—a major symptom of bloating, says a study titled Complementary and Alternative Medicines in IBS. Chamomile prevents Helicobacter pylori bacterial infections, a common cause of stomach upsets and bloating.
10. Add cinnamon powder to your smoothies or teas: Cinnamon is rich in antioxidants. Further, it reduces the pressure on the abdomen and provides relief from bloating. The best way to use this spice is to add a pinch of it in your regular smoothies and teas.