Everyone’s experienced bloating at some point in their lives.
Not only is it uncomfortable, but it can affect how your clothes fit and even your confidence. Fortunately, there are many scientifically proven ways to help beat the bloat.
Here are 5 proven ways to fight signs of bloating.
1. Know the common culprits
There are certain foods that are commonly linked to bloating and digestive symptoms.
- Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, brussels sprouts, kale, and cabbage.
- Dairy products.
- Peaches and pears.
It’s worth noting that what foods trigger bloating can vary from person-to-person.
Also, keep in mind you don’t have to avoid these foods altogether. Instead, test each food/food group one at a time, and see which of these foods make you feel uncomfortable.
Summary Common foods that are linked to bloating are apples, beans, cruciferous vegetables, dairy products, lettuce, onions, peaches, and pears. If you eat any of these foods/ food groups often, test them individually to see if they are making you feel bloated.
2. Watch your fiber intake
While fiber is healthy, too much fiber may give you gas and make you feel bloated.
That’s because your gut bacteria break down fiber once it reaches the end of the colon for fuel. When this happens, gas is made as a by-product, which can make you feel bloated (1).
The most common culprits are legumes like beans and lentils, as well as whole grains.
If you eat a lot of legumes, try cutting back and see if it helps ease your bloating.
Summary Certain high-fiber foods may trigger bloating, especially legumes.
3. Cut back on sugar alcohols
Sugar alcohols are low-calorie carbs, used to replace sugar in sugar-free foods and gums.
The most common types include sorbitol, mannitol, and xylitol.
Like fiber, they may cause digestive problems and bloating when eaten in large amounts because they are broken down in the large colon by your gut bacteria for fuel (2).
Common sources of sugar alcohols are sugar-free foods and gums, and health products.
Summary Sugar alcohols are typically found in sugar-free foods, sugar-free chewing gums, and health products. They may trigger bloating when eaten in large amounts.
4. Try a digestive enzyme
Some digestive enzymes may help treat bloating.
They work by breaking down carbs your body may struggle to digest otherwise.
The most common digestive enzymes for bloating are:
- Lactase: An enzyme that breaks down the milk sugar lactose, which is helpful for people with lactose intolerance.
- Beano: an enzyme supplement that contains alpha-galactosidase — an enzyme that helps break down carbs from many fruits, veggies, and whole grains.
Digestive enzyme supplements are fast-acting and provide immediate relief.
Summary Digestive enzymes provide immediate relief for bloating. Lactase can help people with lactose intolerance, while beano helps with bloating caused by various fruits, veggies, and whole grains.
5. Rule out intolerances or allergies
In some cases, bloating could be due to food intolerance or allergy.
Food intolerances are incredibly common and affect up to 1 in 5 people (3).
When you eat a food compound your body cannot tolerate, it can cause excessive gas, bloating, constipation/diarrhea, or other uncomfortable digestive symptoms.
Here are some common intolerances and allergies that may cause bloating:
- Lactose: A milk-based sugar, found mainly in dairy products.
- Fructose: A type of sugar found mainly in sodas, sweeteners like honey or agave nectar, and certain fruits like cherries, pears, and watermelons.
- Wheat and gluten: Some people feel bloated when they eat too many wheat-based or gluten-based products like bread, pasta, and cereals.
If you feel that an intolerance or allergy is causing your bloating, speak to your doctor.
Summary In some cases, food intolerance or allergy may be responsible for bloating. If you feel this is the case, it’s important to speak with your doctor.