10 ways to beat the bloat

Apr 29, 2015, 11:31 IST


If your belly often feels like it is uncomfortably full even when you don’t have a biryani dinner to blame for it, there are little things you can do to ease the fullness.


That embarrassing little problem you have that makes you feel about as sexy as a hot-air balloon? Turns out you’re not alone. One of the most common complaints that nutritionists get are from fellow hot-air balloons whose daily concerns hover around words like indigestion, flatulence, heart burn, acidity and that faithful companion: bloating. We talk to the experts to find out if small changes in your lifestyle—like not reaching for the sugar-free gum so often—can help make the situation a little less uncomfortable. So while you make that appointment with your nutritionist or GP, see if you can manage a few of these tweaks.

But first, why do we bloat and what can be done to avoid it?

1) CHEW RIGHT: The most common reason for the bloat is indigestion, a problem that starts when you wolf down meals on the go. “In our childhood, we were always told to chew our food at least 32 times. This was to ensure that the food was adequately mixed with the juices thus aiding its proper digestion. But these days, we just gulp in a hurry, explains Neelanjana Singh, nutritionist, Pushpawati Singhania Research Institute, Delhi. Talking while eating or chewing gum can make you swallow air and make things worse. Eat slowly and give your brain at least 20 minutes to realise youre full and dont really need that third serving of mutton curry.

2) DON’T OVEREAT: If you graze frequently, you could get acid reflux, which is the condition that causes food, stomach acids, and other digestive
juices to flow into the oesophagus. When there is acid reflux, the oesophagus muscle that opens when food enters the stomach and closes to prevent acid from going back up, does not work properly.“

Exercise portion control and limit to one serving of protein per meal. Ayurveda recommends a gap of five hours between meals to give your body enough time for digestion,” says Taranjeet Kaur, senior nutritionist and metabolic coach, AktivOrtho, Delhi.

A common ingredient in artificial sweeteners is sorbitol, which metabolises very slowly. Another ingredient, fructose, a natural sugar is difficult to digest. Strictly limit this stuff. Ditch diet sodas, artificial sweeteners, energy bars and anything else with sorbitol in the ingredient list. Spoon jaggery in your tea instead of sugar.

“Processed foods contain a number of preservatives, colours and additives that do not allow the good bacteria in the intestine, responsible for digestion, to function properly. That can cause bloating and indigestion,” says Taranjeet. The additives also prevent you from getting even whatever meager nutrition there is in the food. Eat food in its natural form, and keep walking when you see something

Colas and other carbonated drinks cause gas to stay trapped in the body. Pick natural and freshly squeezed juice, coconut water,buttermilk or a tall glass of jaljeera ,instead of aerated drinks to to go with yr meals.

Studies show that smokers tend to inhale a lot more air, which can lead to the build-up of gas in the body. If you are intolerant to some of the ingredients in an alcoholic beverage, it can cause indigestion and gas. Cut down on smoking and drinking, if you can’t quit it altogether.

7) EXERCISE REGULARLY: The waste in the lower intestines tend to build up when you are constipated and this increases the amount of gases being released in your bowel. “Exercise or any form of activity can help relax muscles and reduce this problem,” says Taranjeet. Keep sipping on water, and listen to your doctor when she tells you to fill up on fibre.

Water retention can be related to bloating, which is caused from not drinking enough of it. The body starts to store water because it senses a scarcity. The water molecules combine with sodium and stay in your body,” Taranjeet says. So cut down on salt and stay generously hydrated, so your body can let go and flush out the toxins it’s been holding onto along tempting wrapped in plastic. with the water.

Tea, coffee and other caffeinated drinks work as diuretics and leach water from your system. This can result in irritable bowel syndrome, which can be identified by abdominal pain, cramping and sudden, urgent visits to the loo. All these can build up the bloat.

10) NO CLUE WHY? If the bloating persists no matter what you’ve tried, you could be lactose intolerant, gluten sensitive or have other food allergies. Infection, intestinal obstruction and hernia could also be culprits. “Your body could also have developed an intolerance to citrus fruits or high-fibre foods,” says Neelanjana. Ignoring this could affect your intestines in the long run, so t his is not an appointment you want to put off.