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Beat the Bloat

Have you noticed your belt squeezing a bit too tight or that sundress pulling at your midsection? Bloating is uncomfortable but it can also sap your energy and enthusiasm. Don’t worry—bloating usually isn’t serious, and there are things you can do today to beat the bloat.

We’ll walk you through some common causes of a ballooning stomach and some strategies for deflation.

Watch your portion size

If you tend to feel uncomfortable after a meal, it may be that you’re simply eating too much. Shrink your portions, but eat more frequently during the day so your digestive system has less to manage all at once.

Check for food sensitivities

You may not have a full-blown food allergy, but a sensitivity to a particular food may cause excess gas and bloating. Food sensitivities can alter your gut microbiome, causing inflammation and a buildup of gas and bloating. (1)

Common problem foods include wheat, (2) dairy, artificial sweeteners, and processed sugars (like high-fructose corn syrup).

Keep a food diary. For two weeks, eat as you normally do and write down everything you consume and how you feel afterward and throughout the day. This record may reveal patterns and help you identify foods that are problematic for you.

You may also try to eliminate certain foods, always tracking with your food diary. If you feel less bloating during the elimination of a food, you might have a food sensitivity to it.

Avoid swallowing air

It’s normal to swallow air during the day, but certain habits might cause you to swallow more than usual, which can cause bloating. Eating too fast, chewing gum, and drinking carbonated beverages are major culprits.

Skip the gum and suck on a mint if you need a breath refresh. Chewing your food carefully and eating more slowly will prevent you from swallowing air. This also means less work for your digestive system.

And one more thing: quit smoking. We know many negative side effects of smoking, and now we can add swallowing excess air to the list—one more reason to kick this unhealthy habit to the curb.

Take care of your gut

Did you know you have 2000 different species of microbes in your gut? (3) Keeping the trillions of bacteria healthy and balanced is critical for your health, too!

Support your gut with a probiotic[a], which can protect the bacterial ecosystem in your digestive tract. One study found that people who took a quality probiotic for 8 weeks reported an improvement in their symptoms of bloating. (4)

You might also try a turmeric supplement[b] to increase turmeric levels. Turmeric’s main ingredient is curcumin, a known anti-inflammatory. Preliminary research showed that turmeric eased symptoms of bloating in people with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) because it supports healthy gut microbes. (5) If it worked for them, it might help you.

With a few lifestyle changes you can escape the cycle of bloating and focus on what matters most to you.

Let’s get healthier, together,

Your friends at Santo Remedio

References

[1] Cann, P.A., Read, N.W., Brown, C., Hobson, N. Holdsworth, C.D. Irritable bowel syndrome: relationship of disorders in the transit of a single solid meal to symptom patterns. Gut 1983 May; 24(5): 405–411 https://doi.org/10.1136/gut.24.5.405 

[2] Biesiekierski, J., Newnham, E., Irving, P., et al. Gluten causes gastrointestinal symptoms in subjects without celiac disease: a double-blind randomized placebo-controlled trial. American Journal of Gastroenterology 2011 Mar;106(3):508-14. https://doi.org/10.1038/ajg.2010.487

[3] Almeida, A., Mitchell, A., Boland, M., et al. A new genomic blueprint of the human gut microbiota. Nature 568, 499–504 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-019-0965-1

[4] Ringel-Kulka, T., Palsson, O., Maier, D., et al. Probiotic bacteria Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM and Bifidobacterium lactis Bi-07 versus placebo for the symptoms of bloating in patients with functional bowel disorders: a double-blind study. Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology 2011 Jul;45(6):518-25. https://doi.org/10.1097/MCG.0b013e31820ca4d6.

[5] Ng, Q.X., Sen Soh, A.Y., Loke, W., et al. A Meta-Analysis of the Clinical Use of Curcumin for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Journal of Clinical Medicine 2018 Oct; 7(10): 298. https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm7100298

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