Do you have a go-to list of natural remedies for bloating that actually relieve your symptoms?
We’ve all experienced bloating, even when you’ve done your best to avoid your dietary triggers. If you’re looking for a more holistic approach to relieve your symptoms then this post is for you. Here we share 11 proven natural remedies for bloating.
But first, let’s take a step back and explore what bloating is and what causes it.
What Is Bloating?
Bloating is uncomfortable, and sometimes even painful. But have you ever stopped to think about what is causing your discomfort?
The answer is excess air. This air can build up in your gastrointestinal tract (GI tract). Your GI tract includes your stomach, small intestine, and/or large intestine.
The symptoms of bloating include:
- Excess gas or flatulence
- Burping and belching
- Sensation of feeling full and tight
- Distended abdomen that feels hard to the touch
These symptoms range from mild, to debilitating and can interfere with your daily life. Bloating can be caused by a myriad of triggers. Many can be solved with natural remedies. In most people, occasional bloating is normal and can occur after a large meal or bubbly drink. It’s when bloating becomes chronic that it can indicate that something serious is going on and a visit to your physician is required.
7 Common Causes of Bloating
Bloating can be caused by a wide range of triggers, including but not limited to:
- Foods you eat
- How you ate them
- Beverages you drank and when you drank them
- Underlying medical issues
Next we’ll discuss in depth, 7 of the most common contributors to bloating:
1. Food Sensitivities and Intolerances
Food sensitivities and intolerances occur when an individual is unable to breakdown (digest) a particular food. This can lead to bloating. Common food sensitivities and intolerances include:
- Wheat intolerance includes celiac (gluten) and non-celiac sensitivity. Symptoms are similar to Crohn’s disease and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
- Lactose intolerance (dairy) occurs when an individual lacks the enzyme lactase and they are unable to digest lactose.
- FODMAPs (fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols) foods include beans, garlic, onion and high fiber vegetables and occur when an individual is unable to digest the sugars in FODMAP foods.
Food sensitivities and intolerances should not be confused with food allergies. A food allergy occurs when a specific protein in your food triggers an immune response.
2. Microbiome Imbalance
Did you know that there are trillions of microorganisms living in your GI tract? These tiny creatures are referred to as the microbiome and they help you to digest and absorb the food you eat. Some microorganisms are helpful, and others are harmful. What we consume influences the type of bacteria that reside in our gut, and if they get even just the slightest bit out of balance, bloating can ensue. Causes of this imbalance range from antibiotics to stress, to excess intake of alcohol and refined carbohydrates.
3. Low Stomach Acid
Stomach acid (hydrochloric acid) plays an important role in the breakdown of our food. So when your stomach doesn’t release enough acid, the food you eat will sit in your stomach undigested. This condition is known as hypochlorhydria. This undigested food cannot be absorbed properly and the undigested particles ferment in your stomach and can lead to bloating and burping.
4. Sugar Alcohols
Ever wondered why you feel bloated after munching on a few too many paleo cookies or keto chocolate? The likely cause is sugar alcohols. Whilst sugar alcohols provide a sweetness to foods without spiking blood sugar levels, there is a down side. The sugar alcohols erythritol, xylitol, sorbitol, and d-mannitol are linked to gastrointestinal disturbances including bloating.
When you’re backed-up, your belly will probably show it and you will feel the heaviness and discomfort.
7. Eating Too Fast
We all lead busy lives and have to eat on the run sometimes, but quickly eating your food can cause you to swallow air along with each rushed bite. Same idea applies to drinking too fast, drinking carbonated beverages, and using a straw. Excess air leads to excess fullness and bloating.
Other Causes of Bloating
If you suffer from chronic bloating, then you may have an underlying health issue. Here’s a list of 6 medical conditions known to cause bloating:
- Hormonal imbalances
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Celiac disease
- Colitis infection
- Crohn’s disease
If you’re unable to manage your bloating with simple dietary or lifestyle changes, then you should consult your physician.
Natural Remedies for Bloating
Now that we’ve established the causes of bloating, it’s time to explore 11 natural remedies. Some of these natural remedies for bloating can be used as preventative measures, whilst others may ease your symptoms.
5 Immediate Natural Remedies for Bloating
When discomfort hits and you want to alleviate it fast, the following natural remedies for bloating may offer some respite:
If you’re feeling bloated and want some relief pronto, get moving. A study published in 2021 found even just a short, 10-15 minute walk could be effective in relieving abdominal bloating.
Along those same lines, a handful of yoga poses, specifically twists, may also offer a little reprieve. A 2015 study found yoga as an effective treatment for IBS.
3. Abdominal Massage
Since we’ve already established bloating is caused by excess air, helping move that air through your GI tract with self-massage can relieve bloating. It’s as simple as gently running your fingertips in a counterclockwise motion over your abdomen starting above your right hip bone.
A study published in 2014 concluded peppermint oil aids in bloating. A capsule of the oil, or perhaps even just sipping on some peppermint tea, may offer relief.
Although not yet confirmed by science, fennel has been used all over the world for centuries to relieve bloating. Whether in a bag of fennel tea or tincture form, or simply chewing on a small handful of raw seeds, the spice may help alleviate some pressure in your belly.
6 Preventative Natural Remedies for Bloating
If your goal is to nip bloating in the bud before it even starts, there are several lifestyle and behavior modifications you can try:
Grandma was right—sometimes you just need to chew your food more! Many of us are in a rush or stressed, or just very hungry! Try chewing your food for 30 bites before you take a swallow. It should be the consistency of a smoothie. This will help your stomach to breakdown your food, especially if you’re low on stomach acid. You want to “drink” your food.
When you’re stressed and in a sympathetic state, or that “fight or flight” mode, that can inhibit the release of that all important stomach acid, per WebMdD. Try turning off the television, putting down the phone, taking a few deep breaths, and being present before you begin your meal. The opposite of a sympathetic state is a parasympathetic state…and the opposite of “fight or flight” is “rest and digest.” Mindful eating may do wonders.
3. Monitor Beverage Consumption
Chugging a drink shortly prior to, during, and after you eat can dilute your stomach acid. There’s no need for a dry mouth with your dinner, but try taking smaller sips while you eat, as well as spacing out any large intake of fluid to either 30 minutes before or after your meal. Reducing carbonated beverage intake will also help mitigate excess bubbles and air in your digestive tract.
4. Elimination Diet
If a food sensitivity or intolerance is at play, an elimination diet such as the autoimmune protocol diet (AIP), low-FODMAP diet, or gut and psychology syndrome (GAPS) may be extremely helpful. Cut out common suspects for a period of time and keep a food diary as you make reintroductions to identify the offender. Even just adhering to a primal or paleo way of eating and limiting the typical culprits, such as gluten and refined sugars, may be the solution.
In addition to offering a quick fix, movement may also be of help in prevention of bloating. Implementing a regular exercise routine, even just short walks, into your daily life may combat bloating by keeping your bowels moving. Staying hydrated with adequate filtered water intake will do the same!
6. Boost Your Gut Health
Introducing microbiome superfoods to your diet or starting a probiotic supplement can help bring your gut flora back to balance, potentially eliminating any bloating issues.
For every cause of your discomfort, there seems to be at quite a few natural remedies for bloating. Whether you’re dealing with an ongoing nuisance or the occasional inconvenience, there’s a natural and simple solution to try. If you suspect a food sensitivity, stress, or a sedentary lifestyle may be contributing to your bloating, a myPrimalCoach can help you with the necessary behavior modifications to get to the bottom of your belly woes. Get started today and be bloat-free in no time!