Diet

The best ways to reduce a bloated belly

Bloating can become a major issue for many as they age.

As we age our body goes through all sorts of changes and unfortunately for many one of the side effects of these changes is bloating.

Women in particular are more prone to bloating as they age because of the change in hormone levels that occurs throughout menopause. Experts believe that decreasing hormone levels interfere with the digestive tract, which in turn causes gas and uncomfortable bloating.

It’s not just women suffering though, with many men reporting regular bouts of bloating and excessive passing of gas. Those who suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome, which can become more common with age, are also prone to bloating and belly pain.

What causes bloating?

Aside from the hormonal reasons, there are particular foods that can cause your stomach to fill up with gas and ballon after eating. A number of popular fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and beans can all bring on the bloat, with doctors recommending you reduce or even cut them out all together if bloating is a major issue for you.

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A few examples are:

  • Cabbage
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Legumes
  • Grains
  • Cereals
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Whole-grain breads

You can see a full list here.

How to treat bloating naturally

1. Find out what sets you off and then adjust your diet accordingly. While there are lots of foods that can trigger bloating, you might only be affected by a few. Keep a food diary to track what you’re eating and note down every time your belly flares up afterwards. This is a great way to track any food allergies or intolerances you may have and can help you figure out where your diet might need adjusting if you’re trying to manage your weight, too.

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2. Increase your good bacteria levels by taking a pro-biotic every day. Experts believe this form of bacteria can help your digestive system fight off illness and disease and keep your insides moving smoothly.

3. Eat your last meal of the day before 7pm to avoid heartburn and acid reflux; both produce gas in your belly that is difficult for your body to eliminate. Focus your evening meals on foods that are the least likely to bring on bloating and chew slowly to avoid gulps of air entering the stomach.

4. Drink plenty of water and fluids throughout the day. Water helps keep our insides lubricated, making it easier to go to the toilet and have a bowel movement every day – something that is very important to good health as we age. You should be drinking at least 1 litre of water a day and other fluids, like tea, coffee and juices, are all beneficial extras on top.

5. Speaking of tea, there are a number of natural herbal teas that can help reduce bloating and calm the belly. Try sipping on a cup after dinner or with your afternoon snack. Serve it at a comfortable drinking temperature so you’re not slurping air into the stomach.

Try these teas:

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  • Ginger
  • Bilberry
  • Peppermint
  • Lemon
  • Hibiscus
  • Fennel

6. Stress has been proven to cause bloating in some people which is why, in extreme cases, anti-depressants are sometimes prescribed for people with chronic bloating. If you’re not keen on this though, simple lifestyle changes can have a huge affect on your stress levels and can help keep you calm and happy. Exercise, meditation, reading and even taking 5 minutes out of your day to sit quietly and clear your mind can help.

Do you suffer from bloating? Does it affect you often? How do you treat it?

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