Stomach bloating describes what happens when too much gas fills up a person’s gastrointestinal tract. People tend to experience a stretchy, puffy sensation in their tummy, accompanied by painful abdominal cramps. While cutting out foods known to cause wind may reduce the risk, it’s no use if the bloating has already taken effect. A certain drink may help to counter the effect of bloating, however.
Good old H2O restores the sodium balance in the body
According to Dr Oz, when the stomach feels on the brink of bursting, downing water may be the best quick fix.
“Good old H2O restores the sodium balance in the body and normalises your digestive tract,” he said.
A person should keep hydrated to keep the symptoms from returning, he said.
“Drink the daily recommendation of eight 8-oz glasses of water to rid the body of harmful toxins,” he added.
According to medical website LiveStrong, drinking water may help to flush out the system if the bloating is due to fluid retention, which can be caused by easting too much salt or from premenstrual syndrome.
A person may want to make sure they’re drinking enough water if they’re adding more fibre-rich foods to their diet to help prevent constipation – another underlying trigger of bloating, the health site added.
If a person’s bloating persists, it may be signify a food intolerance.
According to the NHS, a food intolerance can lead to bloating when:
- A person’s bowel does not empty properly
- The food causes gas to be trapped
- Too much gas is produced as a reaction to the food
One of the main offenders is wheat, according to Isabel Skypala PhD, specialist allergy dietitian at the Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust.
She said: “Some people find certain foods are simply hard to digest, and wheat appears to be one of those.”
If wheat is the underlying trigger, Skypala advised trying an elimination diet.
This is where a person completely cuts out wheat from their diet for four weeks, then gradually bring it back in to see if symptoms reappear.
“When you bring wheat-based foods back in, I recommend trying Weetabix or pasta first for a few days before starting on bread. It’s better to start with wheat in a more pure form, as bread has so many other ingredients,” Dr Skypala said.
Wheat-free substitutes may also keep the risk of bloating at bay, explained Dr Skypala: “There are great wheat substitutes you can buy off the supermarket shelf now. Go for gluten-free bread, and try other types of grains, such as quinoa, corn and rice.”
According to the NHS, foods that contain wheat include:
- Cakes and pastries
- Hydrolysed vegetable protein (HVP)
- Soy sauce
It is worth keeping a food diary to identify the worst culprits, added the health site.
“But do not get rid of food groups long-term without advice from your GP,” it cautioned.
Emotional health may also play a role in bloating. Find out more here.
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