Gassy? Retaining water? Feel like you have a weighted ball in your stomach? There are many ways to describe bloating, but no matter how you cut it: bloating is uncomfortable and can be embarrassing. Fortunately, there are things you can do to treat bloating naturally and even prevent it in the first place.
The cause of bloating could better lead you to the right treatment or prevention. Generally, bloating is caused by the foods you eat, lack of activity, or hormonal fluctuations in the case of women. Two of these factors can be changed. And if hormones are to blame, there are natural solutions for that as well.
1. Eat Smart
Some foods cause gas. Unfortunately, many of these foods are really good for us. Legumes and vegetables like broccoli, kale, and cabbage can make you bloated, but aren’t worth eliminating from your diet. The good news is that as your body adjusts to eating more of these fibrous foods, it will respond less dramatically. So as you introduce more vegetables, expect an adjustment period and increase consumption slowly.
Drinking plenty of water can also help move these foods along and minimize bloating. What’s more, water helps if you are bloated due to excess salt consumption. While it may seem counterintuitive to drink water when you are “retaining water”, the hydration can help immensely.
If certain foods cause uncomfortable gas and fiber isn’t to blame, you may be sensitive or intolerant. Gluten and dairy sensitivities often present themselves as bloating. In these cases, eliminating the culprits will bring relief.
Eating too fast and eating too much are other sources of abdominal discomfort and bloating. Slow down and eat until you are no longer hungry, not until you are uncomfortable.
2. Get Moving
Everything slows down when you are sedentary, and this includes digestion. By exercising regularly and staying active, you can reduce bloating while reaping additional benefits. Taking an evening walk after dinnertime can be enough to move things along and avoid bloating. It can also help water retention if you pick up the speed enough to break a sweat.
3. Herbs and Natural Solutions for Bloating
If you need relief and you need it now, there are herbal and food remedies that can help combat the bloat. Ginger is a great solution for many digestive ailments including indigestion and bloat. Fennel seed is another well-known bloat remedy—simply chew on a few or make a fennel tea. When ginger and fennel aren’t available, peppermint tea can soothe your digestive system.