You have just had your meal and your stomach feels swollen, you become uneasy, your waistband tightens all of a sudden- these are the common symptoms of bloating after meals. Bloating generally occurs due to the following reasons:
1. Overeating is one of the most common causes of bloating.
2. Rich and Fatty foods are difficult to digest. Bloating is very common after eating heavy food. Reheated starchy food changes their molecular structure and leads to Bloating
3. Gulping down food very quickly is also a reason for Bloating. Eating quickly or drinking through a straw can result in gulping down air bubbles in the stomach, which causes bloating
4. Dehydration also causes Bloating as the body tends to retain fluid. Drinking aerated drinks further adds to the bloating.
5. Gassy foods are also responsible for bloating – apples, cabbages, broccoli, etc. are known to cause bloating. Eating too much salt also results in water retention.
6. Chronic Medical Conditions like celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, ovary cancer, etc. also cause gas and diarrhea
7. Hormonal changes also lead to bloating (like excess of progesterone in females before their period)
8. Stress also induces Bloating.
Given the causes, Bloating can be avoided if proper lifestyle is followed:
1. Food habits:
– Eating small, frequent meals is very necessary for preventing bloating and gas. Smaller meals are easily digestible and body functions better.
– Eating food slowly and chewing it properly aids the body in digestion. Insufficient chewing reduces the body’s ability to digest carbs and can create gas in the intestine.
– Avoid Bloat-inducing/ Gas-inducing food, some of them being:
* Beans and Lentils
* Aerated Drinks
* Artificial Sweeteners like Sorbitol, Fructose – a natural sugar added to processed foods all needs to be avoided
* Fruits and Vegetables that lead to Bloating like cabbage, cauliflower, prunes, etc. are very difficult to breakdown and digest
* Reheated food also causes bloating (especially starchy food) as reheating causes molecular changes in food
Sometimes eating a lot of fibre without enough water can also lead to gas and distended stomach. Fibres like whole grains are very healthy but they are also indigestible. This can lead to gas, bloating and constipation. Fibre when had with a lot of fluid, becomes easily movable through the body and prevents constipation and bloating.
2. In taking Fluid
Drinking plenty of liquids is very important for avoiding Gas and Bloating. It helps flush out body toxic, aids in moving fibre through the body and keeps the body hydrated. One should avoid carbonated drinks as they are artificially sweetened and very difficult to digest.
Even if bloating does not stop after making appropriate lifestyle changes once should get proper diagnosis done to detect any bowel or hormonal issues.
4. Avoid Stress
In cases of stress, the body tends to drive away blood from the digestive process and often causes stomach disorders. Moreover, a stressed person is prone to binge eating and eating junk food that triggers bloating. Proper exercising (Yoga, Running, etc.) is very important for relieving stress and keeping the stomach healthy
A few natural ways to stop Bloating
1. Practice Yoga
– Lie on your back. Hug your right knee into your chest. Inhale deeply, then exhale and reach your knee toward your nose. Hold this position for a few seconds, then inhale and release. Order is very important here — Do the exercise 3 times on the right side first, and then 3 times on the left. This follows the natural movement of the colon so that you’re literally pushing gas out. Lastly, hug both knees into the chest and hold for a few seconds. Repeat three times.
Nauli Kriya and Agnisar Kriya are also extremely beneficial for keeping the stomach fit.
2. Other Cures
– Fennel Seeds help in treating Bloating – have a spoon with water to relieve bloating and abdominal pain. Fennel and Cardamom (Elaichi) can also be taken together.
– Ginger and lemon juice is also a very good cure for preventing gas and stomach issues
– Triphala is also known to treat the digestive tract. Take 1/2 teaspoon triphala mixed with 1/2 cup warm water and eat 1 tsp of honey with it every evening at bedtime. Triphala can also be taken with tea as it is very intense.
– Proper eating and sleeping time also aids Digestion. As per Ayurveda, one can best digest lunch between 12-2 pm, and dinner before 8 pm
o Avoiding cold drinks and cold food at night also results in a health and happy stomach
A disciplined and informed lifestyle can definitely help one stop Bloating and other stomach disorders.
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