If you have a distended stomach and painful gas, one thing’s for certain: you want fast-acting relief that lasts! Whether you’ve over-eaten, suffer from food intolerances, have period-related bloating, or struggle with an underlying medical condition that causes pain and discomfort in your stomach and abdominal area, we’re sharing 8 gas and bloating remedies for fast and effective relief!
What is Gas and Bloating?
Many people use the terms ‘water retention’ and ‘bloating’ synonymously, but they are actually very different. Water retention occurs when excess fluids build up in your body and cause swelling in the hands, legs, ankles, and feet. Bloating is a result of excess gas production and causes your stomach to feel full and distended, which often leads to pain and discomfort.
Gas is very common and a normal part of the digestive process, and generally nothing to be concerned about. Diet and eating habits are often to blame, and small lifestyle changes can often alleviate symptoms and prevent them from recurring. Persistent and painful bloating can be caused by a food allergy or sensitivity, or an underlying medical condition – see below for warning signs and symptoms.
What Causes Gas and Bloating?
While gas is a normal part of the digestive process, certain factors can make it more pronounced, leading to bloating, pain, and discomfort. These include:
- High-fiber foods, including beans, legumes, fruits, and vegetables
- Fiber supplements
- Carbonated beverages
- Sugar substitutes/artificial sweeteners
- Eating too much and/or too quickly
- Drinking through a straw
- Chewing gum
- Food intolerances, including dairy and gluten
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Irritable bowel disease (IBD), including ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, and diverticulitis
If you have persistent gas and bloating in conjunction with one or more of the following symptoms, but sure to speak with your health care provider:
- Persistent diarrhea/constipation
- Change in frequency and consistency of stools
- Blood in stools
- Weight loss
8 Gas and Bloating Remedies We Swear By
1. CONSIDER AN ELIMINATION DIET
If you’re looking for gas and bloating remedies, a great first step is to commit to an elimination diet. This involves removing potential triggers from your diet for a period of time, and then reintroducing one at a time to evaluate how your body reacts, allowing you to pinpoint which foods trigger bothersome symptoms. Common triggers for gas and bloating include:
- High-fiber foods, including beans, legumes, fruits, and vegetables
- Cruciferous vegetables, including Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and broccoli
- Fiber supplements like Metamucil
- Carbonated beverages
- Sugar substitutes and artificial sweeteners, including sorbitol, mannitol, and xylitol
- Foods that contain lactose, including milk and cheese
- Fermented foods, including sauerkraut, kombucha, kimchi, kefir, and tempeh
Of course, everyone’s triggers may be different – the foods that cause gas and bloating in one person may have no effect on another. One of the best ways to determine what to avoid is to cut out the above-mentioned foods and any other items that cause you discomfort for an extended period of time. Ideally, you want to be symptom-free for a period of a few weeks before you begin to re-introduce each food back into your diet so you can properly gauge how your body reacts. Be sure to keep a log of how you feel after consuming each food, and be careful to only introduce one new food a week so you can pay attention to the effect it has on your symptoms.
If you suspect you have a food intolerance or allergy, make sure to talk with your health practitioner.
2. MAKE SIMPLE LIFESTYLE CHANGES
Drinking through a straw, chewing gum, and smoking all cause you to take in excess air, which can exasperate symptoms of gas and bloating. Consider removing each of these habits from your daily life to see if you notice an improvement.
3. EAT MORE FIBER
Eating a fiber-rich diet can have lots of positive benefits on your health. It will help you stay full for longer, aid in weight loss, lower your blood pressure, and reduce your risk for heart disease and diabetes. Fiber can also help relieve gas and bloating as long as you eat the right type of fiber.
- Soluble fiber helps support regular bowel movements by drawing water into your gut, which helps soften stool so it can pass through your gastrointestinal tract more easily. Foods like black beans, flaxseeds, avocados, Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, and carrots are all great sources of soluble fiber.
- Insoluble fiber does not absorb water, and remains intact as it passes through your digestive system. Foods like leafy greens, broccoli, cabbage, flax and chia seeds, rolled oats, bran, breakfast cereals, and whole grains are all excellent sources of insoluble fiber.
Knowing which kind of fiber to eat for your body can be tricky. If you suffer from diarrhea, many experts recommend increasing the amount of soluble fiber in your diet to help absorb excess water and slow digestion down. On the flip side, if you suffer from constipation (and associated gas and bloating), increasing your insoluble fiber adds bulk and helps move food through your digestive tract more quickly.
If you’re looking for gas and bloating remedies, remember that too much of either kind of fiber can be a bad thing, so start slowly and experiment to figure out which one works best for you and your symptoms. And be sure to drink plenty of water!
4. PRACTICE MINDFUL EATING
Eating too much, too quickly can contribute to gas and bloating, which often happens when we mindlessly munch at our desks, in front of the TV, or while driving. Mindful eating uses the Buddhist concept of mindfulness to enjoy meals and snacks without distractions so you can eat more slowly and pay attention to your hunger cues. By focusing on your senses, you can appreciate your food more fully, and distinguish between emotional and physical hunger. Mindful eating is a fabulous tool for weight loss, but it’s also one of the easiest gas and bloating remedies you can try to determine if your symptoms are simply due to eating too much in one sitting.
5. DRINK HERBAL TEA
While I’m not one to push essential oils, herbal teas are definitely on the top of my list when it comes to gas and bloating remedies. Herbal tea has always been one of my go-to solutions when I’m feeling stressed or anxious, and certain blends are known to relax muscles and soothe cramping and abdominal pain. Here are some of my favorite herbal teas to consider:
- Peppermint tea. Peppermint has antispasmodic properties, which can be highly beneficial to those who suffer from gas and bloating. If you’re not comfortable with essential oils, peppermint tea is a great alternative.
- Anise tea. Similar to peppermint, anise tea is known for its antispasmodic properties, and also helps reduce stomach aches, gas, and bloating.
- Chamomile tea. The anti-inflammatory properties of chamomile can help relax and reduce muscle spasms. Chamomile tea is also known to soothe stomachs and reduce intestinal gas, making it another great option for those who suffer from gas and bloating.
6. TRY THE LOW FODMAP DIET
The Low FODMAP diet was created for people who experience IBS, but it can also be beneficial for those who are looking for gas and bloating remedies. FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligo-, Dis-, Monosaccharides, and Polyols, which are carbs that are poorly absorbed by the body and cause digestive issues. Eating a high FODMAP diet can lead to abdominal pain, bloating and other digestive symptoms. On the flip side, reducing certain foods from your diet can help digestive issues and lead to a healthier, happier stomach, which is where the Low FODMAP diet comes in.
If you’re interested in hearing more about the Low FODMAP diet, Mollie Tunitsky’s book, The Low-FODMAP Diet for Beginners offers a great introduction to this dietary approach to treating IBS symptoms. She explains the principals behind the diet, and provides a 7-day meal plan along with shopping lists, delicious recipes, and a symptom tracker so you can monitor your symptoms.
7. EXPERIMENT WITH PROBIOTICS
You may have noticed the terms ‘gut health’ and ‘probiotic’ popping up more often these days. Why? Because 70% to 80% of our immune system is located in our gut, and improving our gut flora by consuming probiotics has been shown to improve our immune health.
WebMD defines probiotics as…
‘…live bacteria and yeasts that are good for your health, especially your digestive system. We usually think of these as germs that cause diseases. But your body is full of bacteria, both good and bad. Probiotics are often called “good” or “helpful” bacteria because they help keep your gut healthy.’ (SOURCE)
While it may be weird to think about eating living foods or supplements, probiotics are really important to have in our bodies. From supporting our immune health and helping to decrease inflammation, to improving our digestion and increasing our energy levels, the benefits of probiotics cannot be ignored. This is especially true for those who struggle with IBS-type symptoms, as probiotics have been shown to reduce abdominal pain, bloating, and irregularities with bowel movements.
8. EXERCISE DAILY
My final tip for those who are looking for gas and bloating remedies is to ensure you are engaging in 30+ minutes of physical activity each day. Not only is this good for your physical and mental health, but it can also help your body expel excess gas so it doesn’t get trapped in your digestive tract. If you struggle with the symptoms of gas and bloating, try walking after meals and snacks to keep things moving.
I hope these natural gas and bloating remedies prove useful to you! Remember to identify and remove problematic foods and beverages from your diet, make sure you’re consuming enough fiber, eat smaller meals, add probiotics and probiotic foods to your daily meal plan, and sip on herbal teas when you need fast relief!
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