Bye bye, Bloat! Relieve Your Bloat After Eating
Eating food? Bloating. On your period? Bloating. Existing? Bloating. Why the heck am I always bloating? I drink water and recycle! When I bloat after eating, I sometimes feel like Violet Beauregarde when she turns into a blueberry.
Why do we bloat?
I think the first rule to bloating is to accept that it is normal. Yes! Believe it or not, before food babies became a thing on the Internet, I’ve spent much of my teenage years thinking that I was the only one who bloated. I blame unrealistic beauty standards from social media. The truth is, having a flat stomach all the time isn’t the norm.
There’s no way to completely eliminate bloating because it’s a natural bodily function. The breakdown of food during the digestion process produces gas and mild distension. When we chew, swallow, and drink, we are ingesting air into our systems, which also leads to bloating. But fear not, bloating after eating is temporary and will go down in a couple of hours.
When Bloating Becomes a Problem
Now, after we normalize bloating, there are times where bloating might be a sign of a gastrointestinal issue. But keep in mind that bloating would usually be accompanied by other symptoms such as pain, diarrhea, constipation, or nausea. If bloating after eating is seriously affecting your quality of life, it might be a sign of food sensitivity, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s Disease, or other undiagnosed conditions.
Bloating could also be a byproduct of hormonal or mental health factors. So if you suspect your food baby to be more than mild bloat after eating, it’s best to talk to your doctor to diagnose the cause behind the bloat.
Common Bloating Foods
While bloating is commonplace, there are ways to reduce bloating after eating. Our bodies have a mind of their own, and sometimes certain foods don’t agree with them.
1. Carbonated Beverages
Fizzy drinks why do you have to hurt so good? The carbonation in the drinks traps gas in your stomach. This is the reason why we feel the need to burp after sipping on a can of soda.
Beans make you toot! Beans are high-FODMAP, meaning they are rich in a type of carbohydrates that are known to cause gas and bloating. According to Healthline, you can reduce the FODMAP in beans by soaking and sprouting them. But worry not for your Chipotle order, pinto and black beans are easier on the digestive system than other types.
3. Wheat and other grains
Wheat has gluten. Word on the street is that gluten is the devil. (I kid, I kid). Without gluten, we wouldn’t have many tasty foods. That being said, wheat is a high-FODMAP food and does not mesh well with people who have gluten sensitivities. It’s possible that a diet rich in gluten can exacerbate your bloating.
Well, well, well. If it isn’t my lactose intolerance that I choose to ignore. Almost everyone loves dairy, but as we get older, our ability to digest it decreases. Our love for cheese, cream cheese, ice cream, and yogurt might be to blame for bloating.
What is childhood but having a pack of gum and your classmate always asking for a piece? The act of chewing naturally floods your body with air. Moreover, the sugar alcohols in gum are high-FODMAPs, hence causing bloating.
Relieve Your Bloat After Eating
Watch out for FODMAPs
By avoiding high-FODMAP foods, you can potentially decrease bloating, assuming you have food sensitivities to certain foods. Simple, substitutions in your diet may improve your quality of life, but for big changes, consult your doctor. I would hesitate before immediately jumping into a low-FODMAP diet. It’s quite restricting, and some high-FODMAP foods such as broccoli are quite nutritious.
Don’t eat too late at night or too much in one sitting
When you’re asleep, your digestive system doesn’t work as hard as when you’re awake. Eating a meal right before you sleep can make you feel heavy. Moreover, overeating can increase your bloat after eating. Small portion sizes and eating slowly may feel more comfortable for your digestive system.
Reduce your sodium intake
A high-salt diet increases water retention, which worsens bloating. Try reducing the amount of salt you consume by relying on other spices.
Take Care of Gut Health
Become one with your bloat. Remember that bloating is okay because it’s just your bodily response to eating food. If bloating is affecting your quality of life, then you should take action. Always start with small and simple changes first. Assess how your body responds and adjust accordingly to find what works for you.
Written by Jessica Lu