Have you ever had a meal that leaves you feeling full and tight in your abdomen? You’re not alone. Many people experience bloating after eating. Going for a post-meal walk, massaging the gut, or taking a supplement can all help reduce bloating.
However, when it comes to long-term changes in your digestive system and gut, there are certain things that we could all do a little bit differently to prevent bloat from reoccurring. Like any journey towards better health, this will take time to build habits that stick.
What is abdominal bloating?
Abdominal bloating commonly occurs due to a build-up of gas in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Bloating can cause the stomach to protrude and look larger than usual. Bloating can be extremely uncomfortable and tender to the touch.
Fluid retention can also lead to bloating in the body. This is when water builds up in the body and causes bloating and puffiness. If you notice your body is having trouble ridding fluids, it may be an issue with your kidneys or heart.
The most common symptoms of bloating come from over-eating, menstruation in women, or swallowing too much air (most of the time this comes from eating too fast). When this happens, it typically resolves itself, but there are ways to speed up the process.
It’s important to determine the common triggers for bloating so that you can decide what it is that triggers yours. Here are the top reasons you might be experiencing bloating:
- Diet: The bottom line is, you need to make sure you’re getting enough fiber in your diet. This will promote healthy digestion and will balance out the not-so-healthy things we put in our bodies. Also, processed foods and carbonated beverages may increase bloating.
- Hormonal changes: More so in women, bloating can be a direct result of hormonal changes, especially when it comes to your monthly menstruation cycle.
- Digestive issues: When your stool becomes backed up due to constipation, it can cause bloating and discomfort in the gut. Food allergies and intolerances may lead to digestive issues, too.
It seems easy to change your eating habits in order to reduce bloating, but we all know that changing your eating habits is harder than you think. Let’s go through tips for belly bloat now!
Top 5 Tips for Reducing Belly Bloat
Go for a walk.
Walking is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your health. Whether it’s in the morning or after a meal, walking increases your blood circulation which helps the rest of the function of your internal systems - including the digestive system. A brisk walk around the block can improve discomfort from bloat and work out some of that pressure you may be feeling in the lower abdomen.
Yoga is an excellent way to get your body moving because it is low-impact and promotes mindfulness (which can greatly improve your eating habits). It helps you engage with every part of your body including the muscles in your abdomen. Certain yoga postures are specifically designed to encourage the release of gas from the GI tract.
Take a long, warm bath.
Soaking in warm water helps to relax the body. The heat of the bath may reduce discomfort and soreness in the abdomen. Also, when you reduce your stress levels you allow your body to function the way it should. When we are stressed, our body is working in a fight or flight mode that may cease the regular function of our GI tract. Working on lowering stress is definitely a top priority when it comes to bloating and digestive issues.
Keep a food journal.
As mentioned before, your diet has everything to do with abdominal bloat. However, it can be challenging to keep track of what foods are affecting your gut in a negative way. Keeping a food journal helps you see what you consume each day. From there, you can make notes on what foods or beverages negatively affect your gut.
For example, if you start the day with a bagel and a coffee but notice that you are feeling bloating directly after, you know that it could be the bread, cheese spread, or coffee that doesn’t agree with you. From there you can take away and add foods until you’ve built a diet that feels good for your body.
Probiotics are a must for anyone who regularly experiences bloating or discomfort in the GI tract. Probiotics help balance your gut with good bacteria that we need to keep in our bodies. By taking a probiotic regularly, you may notice less bloating due to the regulation of bacteria in your gut and colon. Most people who take a daily probiotic report better digestion, reduced gas, and improved energy levels.
Belly bloat is a common symptom of eating too much, eating too fast, or swallowing too much air. It is the result of too much gas build up in the GI tract that can cause discomfort in the abdomen. To help prevent and soothe this tight feeling in the abdomen after eating, there are plenty of habits you can adopt. Our top 5 include: walking, yoga, taking a warm bath, food journaling, and taking a daily probiotic.