So today, I want to go over eight things that you can do immediately to reduce and prevent bloating.
First you’re going to want to limit the foods that are known to cause bloating.
Bloating is usually caused by something we eat so reducing these foods from our diet will go a long way for fixing this problem.
Foods like onions, cauliflower, beans, and lentils can be major contributors to the bloating you might be experiencing from time to time.
That’s because they contain what are known as FODMAP carbohydrates. These types of carbs cannot be digested.
Instead they’re fermented by gut bacteria in the colon. This produces gas and may cause discomfort and bloating.
In one study, two groups were given either a low of high FODMAP diet for two days.The high FODMAP group had a greater level of gastrointestinal discomfort and bloating and they were much more slugish.(1)
The good news about beans is that you can reduce the FODMAPS in beans by soaking and sprouting them.
This won’t completely get rid of them, but it’ll help with bloating. Other than beans you’ll want to also avoid things like carbonated drinks.
When you drink soda, seltzer, or tonic you can’t help but swallow a lot of gas, in the form of carbon dioxide.(2)
That gas will end up in your small intestine causing you to feel bloated. Out of all the carbonated drinks out there one of the worst in relation to bloating is beer.
That’s because it also contains fermentable carbohydrates like barley and maize, which can further contribute to gas build up and bloating.
Dairy products can also cause bloating especially since 75 percent of the population has a lactose intolerance.
Lactose is the sugar in milk and lactose intolerant people aren’t able to break it down. This can lead to gas, cramps, diarrhea and of course bloating.
The last group of foods you may want to look out for are cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower and brussels sprouts.
While all of them are very healthy and they contain lots of fiber and essential vitamins and minerals. Unfortantely, they’re also high in FODMAPs.(3)
So if you’re struggling with bloat and you eat a lot of cruciferous veggetables I suggest experimenting by cutting these types of veggies out of your diet for a couple weeks to see if your symptoms improve.
The second thing that you can do to reduce bloating is reduce your intake of sugar alcohols.
These are commonly used as sweeteners in foods that are labeled as sugar free. However the problem is that these sugar alcohols are considered to be once again high in FODMAPS.
Out of all the sugar alcohols available the worst ones are sorbitol, mannitol and xylitol.
So you’ll want to look out for these ingredients whenever you get something that’s labeled as sugar free or contains sugar alcohols.
In one study involving sorbitol, participants that ate 10 grams of sorbitol per day had a significant rise in gas and bloating,
while the participants that ate 20 grams experienced even worse digestive upset like diarrhea and stomach cramps. (4)
Not only do a lot of sugar free diet foods contain ingredients like sorbitol, mannitol, and xylitol,but sugar free chewing gums are also notorious for containing these sugar alcohols.
However usually with sugar free gum it’ll be such a small amount of sugar alcohols per piece that it won’t really cause problems as long as your not chewing more than like 5 pieces of gum per day.
In either case whenever possible instead of having sugar alcohols go for stevia which is a natural sugar free sweetener that won’t cause bloating.
Another often overlooked cause of bloating is that you have a gut infection known as overgrowth, or SIBO.
You see, there are tens of trillions of both good and bad bacteria in your gut. The majority of them are located in your large intestine and your colon,
but A lot of the bad bacteria feeds on sugar, so when you eat too much sugar, it can cause the overgrowth of this bad bacteria which winds up spilling over into the small intestine.
Other contributing factors to sibo are low stomach acid, stress and some antibiotics that upset the balance of bacteria in the gut.
What will happen is that the excess bacteria in the gut will feed off of undigested carbs in the small intestine.
This causes the carbs to ferment and produce hydrogen gas. The hydrogen then feeds single celled organisms in the small intestine called archea.
This produces methane gas and that excess gas in the small intestine causes bloating, burping and flatulence.
This is what ultimately causes SIBO, and out of all the negative consequences of this bacterial overgrowth the big symptom of Sibo is bloating. (5)
It can also cause diarrhea, constipation and abdominal cramping, but since SIBO is linked to a diet that’s high in sugar and alcohol there are immediate steps you can take to improve this overgrowth of bad bacteria.
The first step is to get rid of the foods that are feeding the bad gut bacteria. That means cutting back on sugary carbs and alcohol.
Obviously you would want to eliminate simple carbs like baked foods, breakfast cereals and packaged cookies.
But to help rebalance your gut bacteria you may have to get rid of complex carbs like whole grains for some time as well until your symptoms start to improve.
Replace these carbs with non-starchy vegetables, berries, and leafy greens. After cleaning up your diet
the next step is to help restore your good gut bacteria by taking certain probiotics.
While most people would assume that you need to fight a bacterial infection with antibiotics studies show that probiotics can be even more effective.
In one study, one group of SIBO sufferers were given probiotics for five days, while another group was given antibiotics.
Surprisingly the probiotic group showed significantly greater improvements than the antibiotic group. (6)
The important thing is however that you don’t go to the store and just get any random probiotic, because believe it or not that could make your bacteria problem even worse.
The one you should get is called Floraster, because it’s been proven in studies to work specifically for sibo (10) I’ll include a link in the description in case you want to try this probiotic.
The next way to reduce bloating is to check to see whether your bloating is caused by a food allergy.
This is because many common food allergies can cause bloating. Some ingredients that you might be allergic to include lactose,
which is the main carbohydrate found in milk, fructose, or fruit sugar, eggs, wheat and gluten. You can test for these allergies by going on an elimination diet.
You would remove one of these ingredients from your diet Over a period of two weeks, and see if your bloating problem has resolved.
However, before assuming you have an allergy you’ll want to first make sure that you’re applying the other bloat reducing tips to rule out other causes.
If you want a more precise allergy test, you can get your doctor to do an allergy skin test.
Let’s move on to another effective way to reduce bloating which is to take a peppermint oil supplement.
Bloating may be caused by spasms in the muscles of the digestive tract. One study showed that peppermint oil can act as an antispasmodic to reduce the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome which includes bloating.
After four weeks of supplementing with two peppermint capsules per day, 75 percent of the peppermint oil group showed a 50 percent reduction in irritable bowel syndrome symptoms.
This was double the amount of people that improved their symptoms compared to the non-peppermint oil group. (7)
Peppermint oil has this effect because of the menthol in it which helps to improve digestive function and minimize symptoms of indigestion, gas, and bloating.
It relaxes the muscles in the gastrointestinal tract by blocking the calcium channels that are involved in the wave like contraction
and relaxation of the muscles in the digestive tract. Peppermint oil also improves digestion by stimulating digestive enzymes and bile.
A systematic review of all available studies showed that peppermint oil was more effective than psyillium husk fiber and anti spasmodic medications in combating bloating and gas. (8)
You can take peppermint oil in a supplement form, just make sure that you don’t eat close to taking it because it’ll give you heart burn.
Also make sure you get delayed release or enteric coated capsules. This way the peppermint oil gets released in the intestines rather than the stomach.
Now the final way to reduce bloating is to regulate your fiber intake. Fiber passes through your body without being digested.
However, soluble fiber can be partially digested by the bacteria in the gut. A by-product of this digestion is gas and bloating.
Another potential reason why fiber causes bloating is because it soaks up water.
This can slow down its passing through the digestive system,
making your stomach feel heavy. So adding fiber to your diet too quickly can definitely cause bloating. (9)
To get around these problems with fiber, make sure that you are drinking at least a half gallon, or around 2 liters, of water each day.
Also introduce fiber slowly and eat more soluble fiber such as oats, apples and berries rather than insoluble fibers like wheat and barley.
Next up is a really easy thing you’ll want to do to reduce bloating which is to simply slow down while eating.
This is more important than it may sound because not only will eating too quickly often lead to the same problem where too much air enters into the digestive tract,
and ends up being trapped in the loops of the intestine… But everything that you eat has to also be effectively digested and broken down.
When you eat too fast, your body doesn’t have enough time to properly process the food you ate.This is because the digestive process doesn’t only involve organs like your liver, your stomach and your intestines,
it actually begins in your mouth. As you chew the food in your mouth, the enzymes in your saliva begin to breakdown the food you’re eating.
By the time it goes down your throat and into your stomach, a large portion of the digestive process has already occurred.But, when you simply gulp down food without chewing properly, you’re placing extra stress on your gut.
As a result, large pieces of unprocessed food can become trapped in the stomach, leading to further gastric discomfort and bloating.
Eating slowly will require what’s known as mindful eating on your part. Mindful eating simply involves consciously thinking about the food you’re eating as opposed to eating it mindlessly,
which is pretty much unconsciously shoveling food into your mouth without really tasting what you’re eating.This can help not only with bloating, but it can also help you feel more full without eating as much food.
This is because you’ll only feel full after your brain reacts to the chemicals that are released by your body after eating.The problem is that your brain doesn’t detect these chemicals right away, it takes around 20 minutes to register them.
This is why eating really fast will also usually lead to overeating. However, if we slow down by chewing our food we give our brain the chance to catch up to our body,
ultimately allowing us to feel fuller from smaller portions(2). And like I said it’ll also make the digestive process easier,
and reduce the amount of air you accidentally swallow which will all reduce bloating.
Let’s move on to the last method that’ll reduce bloating which is to reduce the size of your meals.
Now even though some people will do great with diet plans that involve eating larger meals less frequently like intermittent fasting and the one meal a day diet,
if you’re experiencing a lot of bloating and stomach discomfort you may not do so well with these kinds of plans.
Eating too much at once can make you feel overly full, which will make you feel as if you’re bloated,
even if you don’t have an enlarged stomach or trapped air in your intestines. If you feel bloated after eating large meals you may find that your symptoms go down if you get into the habit of eating more frequent smaller meals throughout the day.
Remember not everyone is the same so you want to make sure that you’re structuring your eating pattern in a way that works optimally for you and your body.
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