Everyone has experienced bloating at one time or another. That uncomfortable, gassy, feeling can leave us struggling to button our favorite pair of jeans. It can even lead to some embarrassing social situations. The following looks at common causes of bloat and what you can do to flatten your stomach and ease your discomfort.
There is a misconception that bloat is caused by excess water weight. In an otherwise healthy individual, water retention is seen in the feet and ankles first. Excess intestinal gas is the real culprit behind bloat. The buildup of gas causes your stomach to feel full and distended. Your body will attempt to expel the gas through belching or flatulence. Bloating may cause your stomach to gurgle and can be quite painful.
What Causes Bloating?
- Swallowing excess air by eating too fast, drinking through a straw, or chewing gum.
- Intolerance to foods such as dairy or gluten.
- Drinking carbonated beverages.
- Constipation caused by a lack of fiber.
- Gastrointestinal issues such as irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, or bacterial infection.
- Hormonal changes related to menstrual cycles.
- Foods containing artificial sweeteners.
- Cruciferous foods such as broccoli, cabbage, Brussel sprouts, and beans.
Ways to Prevent Bloat:
Of course, the best remedy is to avoid foods and situations that may cause bloat.
- Eat slower to avoid overeating and swallowing excess air.
- Limit carbonated drinks and artificial sweeteners.
- Increase fiber and fluid intake and physical activity to prevent constipation.
- Avoid foods that tend to make you gassy.
Getting Rid of Bloat:
The following herbs that you probably have in your kitchen can help break up excess gas:
- Teas made from chamomile, peppermint, spearmint, or wintergreen
A drink made of the following can help flush your system and get rid of unwanted bloat:
- 60 ounces of distilled water
- One tablespoon of sugar-free cranberry juice
- Two tablespoons of lemon juice
- One dandelion root tea bag
Can Bloat Be Dangerous?
You should consult your doctor if your bloating is accompanied by the following symptoms:
- Severe abdominal pain
- Unexplained weight loss
- Chest pain
- Diarrhea or vomiting
- Fluid accumulation in the abdomen
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