Bloating as a health topic is not often talked about, but it is definitely one that many can relate to. Due to our increasingly sedentary lifestyle thrust upon us by the pandemic, the unprecedented stress and anxiety that have all come together have begun to wreak havoc on our tummies. To define bloating, it is a condition where your stomach feels tight and full due to indigestion or gas. According to studies, bloating affects approximately 24% of women, but that number is steadily climbing since the onset of the pandemic.
As it is with any gastrointestinal discomfort, remember to start by speaking with your medical practitioner on understanding the root cause of bloating. Ensure that a medical practitioner rules out conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth before opting for home remedies. Having spoken to your doctor and ruled out any serious issues, let us look at five fresh foods that can help relieve bloating symptoms, as well as essential tips to prevent bloating from returning.
Considered to be a delectable fruit with the right combination of water and fiber, blueberries are known to promote good gut health. These contain approximately 80 to 90% water and around 4 g of soluble fiber per serving. To help ease bowel movements, it is essential to consume soluble fiber as it attracts water and removes excess water smoothly.
Food and nutrition experts opine that celery contains 95% water and is rich in potassium. Regarded as an important micronutrient to maintain food balance in the body, potassium is essential for good bowel movement. Besides, celery also provides an excellent source of insoluble fiber that helps to add bulk to the stools and reduce gas bloating as it moves through the digestive tract to reduce water content.
Ginger is a traditional home remedy that has helped improve digestion for centuries. It has a carminative effect and helps reduce gas formation that could result in bloating. Besides, Ginger also accelerates digestion and helps move foods in your digestive tract to prevent fermentation and produce gas.
This herbaceous vegetable is instrumental in boosting digestion and improving the secretion of enzymes to help break down complex foods. When the rate of digestion increases, the possibility of bloating also reduces. Also, fennel displays the potential of acting as a probiotic that can ease gas and bloating.
Known to be a natural diuretic, parsley helps to remove excess water from the body. It brings down water-related bloating and, as a carminative herb, can also help in reducing gas formation.
There are numerous reasons why bloating is on the rise these days. With increased stress levels and sedentary lifestyles, both these factors cause the body to decrease gastric motility, increase stomach acid secretion and result in excessive bloating. With vast populations confined to their homes, people are not moving their bodies as much as they should.
To help stimulate your digestive tract and move forward more efficiently, you may want to do something as easy as walking after a meal that can enable your gastric muscles to move forward throughout your stomach. Regular strength training is also known to strengthen stomach muscles and reduce bloating. Besides, exercise is also known to positively modify gut microbiota, a key regulator of gas formation and digestion.
If you are experiencing excessive bloating, let’s look at some lifestyle changes you can make to ease the condition.
- Avoid highly athletic and spicy foods. These are known to exacerbate stomach discomfort and bloating, and hence limiting such foods can minimize the condition.
- Maintain a food log to help you identify which foods are causing bloating.
- Avoid going to sleep or lying down for at least three hours after you consume a large meal.
- Incorporate a slow walk after meals that can help in supporting digestion.
- Reduce alcohol consumption, carbonated beverages and drinks with artificial sweeteners that are known to increase stomach acid and cause bloating.
- Ensure that you eat food slowly and thoroughly before swallowing.
Despite mass vaccination drives, Covid-19 may not disappear overnight. With all routines having shifted due to work at home scenarios, severe symptoms of digestive issues, bloating, and stress have become a norm. Hence, it can help to take a proactive approach to modify your lifestyle and adapt to the new normal.