We have all experienced the feeling of being bloated at some point in our lives. Not only does bloating make the body feel uncomfortable, but it also makes you feel groggy and lousy all throughout the day. Bloating is, in fact, one of the most common ailments that people all over the world face.
You would be surprised to know that a recent study(1) reveals that there are around 16-30 percent of people in the United States of America alone that face the condition of bloating in their stomach.
Usually, the causes of bloating arise from unhealthy lifestyles, or regimes such as consuming food after long intervals, thus forming excess gas in the stomach or drinking aerated drinks, such as sodas. In recent times, several natural remedies have come up to address bloating.
However, thankfully, bloating is not a very serious medical condition and can be taken care of by living a healthy lifestyle and ensuring that you resist yourself from having food items that you find hard to digest, or which can cause your stomach to be bloated.
In this article, we discuss some common steps that you can take so as to address the problem of bloating. These steps can be extremely beneficial for your body to regain its original functioning in addition to improving your digestive system.
Most of these recommendations involve consuming certain foods and drinks that can relieve the stomach from unnecessary gas. In addition, we also discuss some common queries with respect to bloating and their answers.
Naturopathic Remedies for Bloating
CURE 1: Foods for Bloating
1. Probiotics for Bloating
Probiotics are one of the most recommended natural ways to relieve bloating and gas in the stomach. Several researches indicate that good bacteria play an important role in digestion.
In addition, probiotics are quite helpful in promoting a smooth bowel movement which in turn ensures that you are not constipated and do not feel any discomfort. It has also been found out that probiotics are helpful in relieving several other gastrointestinal disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease, diarrhea, etc.
How to consume
You should be careful while deciding the dosage of probiotics. Make sure that you follow the guidelines and instructions given on the label or visit a doctor to know about the right way to consume probiotics.
It may be mentioned here that the dosage of probiotics varies from person to person depending on the symptoms of bloating, age, lifestyle, etc.
Regular consumption of probiotics can surely help relieve bloating by balancing the bacteria in the digestive system. Any side effects of probiotics are usually short-lived. However, if the condition persists, consult a doctor immediately.
[Read: Probiotics For Bloating]
2. Fennel Seeds
The word ‘fennel’ is derived from the Latin term foeniculum vulgare. Fennel seeds have been used since times immemorial to cure and relieve bloating. In fact, the benefits of fennel seeds in alleviating bloating have been verily proved by several types of research and studies over the years.
For instance, certain studies(2) reveal that fennel seeds act as an antioxidant and possess antibacterial, antifungal as well as anti-inflammatory properties which are beneficial for relieving the signs and symptoms of bloating. Fennel is also known to reduce bloating in children that may lead to a condition called colic. It has antispasmodic qualities that help reduce abdominal pain in infants caused due to excess gas in their stomach.
How to consume:
The best way to use fennel to cure bloating is to either chew fennel seeds or drink fennel tea. All you have to do is add a few fennel seeds to boiling water and strain before you drink its extract. Fennel tea is less processed and is much more likely to show better results than the consumption of extract of fennel seeds. In fact, most people love the taste of fennel tea and consume it twice or thrice a day.
Fennel shows maximum results when used with other herbal remedies for laxatives to relieve bloating. Studies reveal that fennel has a somewhat similar effect like estrogen. Hence, people suffering from cancer should avoid drinking fennel tea. Even pregnant as well as breastfeeding women should stay away from it.
3. Lemon Water for Bloating
Before mentioning how lemon juice helps cure the condition of bloating, it may be noteworthy to read that lemon juice is quite low in calories and is fat-free. It is also an excellent source of vitamin C. Lemon juice is also one of the FODMAPs (Fermentable-Oligo-Di-Monosaccharides And Polyols), therefore a good remedy to cure bloating and gas. FODMAPs are a type of carbohydrate for which the body takes a lot of time in absorbing and digesting.
Such foods must be avoided by people who suffer from gas and related ailments. It is pertinent to note that the excessive consumption of sodium can be a cause of bloating. However, excess gas can be relieved by substituting sodium in sauces and in raw form by replacing it with lemon juice since it contains only 3 mg of sodium per tablespoon. For instance, you can replace your intake of sodium by replacing salad dressings to lemon juice.
How to consume:
Well, lemon can be used in multiple ways, it serves as a measure to cure bloating. Right from consuming it in the form of lemon water to adding it to your dishes or drizzling it on raw veggies or even drinking lemon tea, you can consume it as you like and reap the benefits that this fruit has to offer.
Adding lemon to warm water is yet another way by which you can benefit enormously. However, avoid lemon juices that are processed since the same may contain harmful sodas or preservatives that may do no good to your body.
4. Psyllium- A Commonly Known Laxative
Psyllium is actually a form of fibre. It comes from the husks of the seeds of the plant known as Plantago ovate. Psyllium helps make bowel movements smooth. If you think that constipation is one of the main causes that trigger the feeling of bloating in your stomach, try psyllium.
It helps cure flatulence quite effectively without any dangerous side effect. In fact, people suffering from irritable bowel syndrome should consume psyllium husk to relieve themselves of a bloated stomach. Psyllium is commonly known as a bulk-forming laxative and thus helps soften the stool. However, this is only possible if you consume enough water post the consumption of psyllium.
How to use:
The exact dosage varies with the type of psyllium husk that you are using. You may consult a doctor to know what dosage serves you best. Usually, the product has to be taken around twice or thrice a day with a glass of water. Even though psyllium does not pose any serious side effect, make sure that you do not consume more than the prescribed quantity since it may lead to worsening the situation by causing diarrhea, nausea, and even vomiting.
Artichoke is yet another well-known remedy to heal the condition of bloating. Over the past decade, artichoke has become quite a prevalent remedy to cure bloating. This food item contains flavonoids, as well as polyphenols in addition to other compounds that help improve the digestive system of the body.
These compounds not only help in curing indigestion, they also help in the production of bile which is an extremely important component for digestion. Artichoke leaf extract also aids in curing inflammatory bowel symptoms as well as constipation.
How to use:
You can consult your doctor to know the right amount of artichoke leaf extract to be consumed. In order to use it as a remedy to relieve bloating, artichoke can either be eaten hot or cold. You can eat it with a dip or mayonnaise.
Bloating does not mean that your digestive system is facing major diseases. The only reason why bloating occurs is due to your eating habits. They are an excellent way to cure painful bloating.
Banana improves bowel movement and helps to remove waste out of your body without any pain or discomfort. The key to having fiber-rich foods such as bananas is to increase your fiber intake gradually and make your body accustomed to it.
Banana also contains a good amount of potassium which is why it is a great way to get relief from gas and constipation. The potassium in bananas helps balance the level of sodium in your body to a great extent. It would also be worthwhile to mention here that bananas help the building up of healthy bacteria in the stomach which is absolutely essential for gut health. For optimal gut health, you need to consume a good amount of probiotics so that you can keep conditions like dysbiosis at bay, an ailment that can give rise to issues of bloating as well as gas.
How to use:
Consume 1-2 bananas each day, it can make a significant difference for your digestive health. Avoid eating bananas that are unripe, since the starch present in these bananas takes a lot of time for the body to digest. Having a banana smoothie can also be an interesting idea to inculcate fibers in your daily diet.
7. Apple Cider Vinegar for Bloating
Using apple cider vinegar is a remarkable way to overcome the feeling of bloating. It is interesting to note that one of the prime reasons as to why bloating occurs is the deficit of Hydrochloric Acid that is the acid present in the stomach. It helps break down complex food particles such as proteins and aids digestion.
However, irregular dietary regimes and processed foods reduce this acid in our body thus making digestion a challenging task for the stomach. This is exactly where apple cider vinegar steps in. It greatly helps to increase the stomach acid which in turn helps process food easily thus reducing the feeling of being bloated.
How to use:
Making a mix of apple cider vinegar to relieve bloating is quite simple. Mix a spoonful of this substance to your glass and add about 10-16 ounces of water. Stir it well so that the strong taste of vinegar at the bottom does not affect you much.
Ensure that you choose the best quality apple cider vinegar that is unfiltered, organic as well as unprocessed. Here is a word of caution, long term usage of apple cider vinegar can interfere with your potassium levels adversely. In addition, in case you are on medication for any heart disease or diabetes, make sure that you check with your doctor before consuming apple cider vinegar.
CURE 2: Herbs for Bloating
1. Peppermint Tea for Bloating
Peppermint is perhaps one of the common and the oldest remedies that are used to cure bloating. Peppermint is a herb which contains an active ingredient called menthol. It helps ease the digestive process and reduces any swelling caused due to it. It also works well to get rid of severe cramps and pain in the stomach caused due to bloating.
Peppermint, as a measure to relieve bloating, has muscle relaxant factors that help it create a soothing effect on the body. It also assists in helping the intestines allow air and liquids to pass easily. Apart from the above-mentioned benefits, peppermint is also great for inflammatory bowel symptom which is yet another cause of bloating.
How to consume:
Experts suggest that the best way to consume peppermint is by making its tea. You can find peppermint teabags quite easily from the market. Making peppermint tea is quite simple. All you have to do is add about 1 spoon of the tea in boiling water and consume it after straining. Yet another great way to use peppermint is in the form of oil.
Peppermint oil, however, is far more potent than in the tea form and hence must be used very cautiously. If you want to relieve bloating in a short span of time, it is suggested that you consume at least 3-5 teaspoons of this herb on a regular basis. It must be noted that children, as well as infants, should be kept away from peppermint. Anyone who suffers from a condition like acid reflux or GERD should also avoid peppermint since it can irritate the food pipe and add to the misery.
[Also Read: Tea for Bloating]
2. Ginger for Bloating
Natural remedies like ginger are an effective way to get rid of bloating. It is well known that ginger has been used as a form of medicine for a long time now. It is the best household remedy for stomach disorders in several cultures and countries.
Ginger further is quite useful in thinning the blood and improving blood circulation to a great extent. This further promotes smooth digestion and prevents bloating. It also cures abdominal pain that accompanies flatulence.
How to use:
Using ginger in your daily life is not rocket science. You can either consume it by adding it in your food or eat them raw by making it a part of your salad. Ginger tea is yet another way to relieve bloating. You can add a little bit of lemon and honey to add to the taste and get rid of any bitterness.
Around 2-4 grams of ginger daily can go a long way in ensuring good digestive health. Please note that since ginger promotes blood thinning, do not consume it in case you are on blood-thinning medication. Even though there are no serious side effects of consuming ginger, in rare cases, condition of diarrhea, heartburn or irritation in the mouth may occur. In such a case, discontinue the consumption and see a doctor immediately.
3. Turmeric for Bloating
Turmeric is a popular Indian spice and has been used for cooking since times immemorial. Its medicinal properties date back to the Ayurvedic age where it was considered as a magic spice for health and well being of people. The use of turmeric to get rid of bloating and other stomach disorders is nothing new. In fact, it is the most common remedy in most households.
The curcumin present in the turmeric gives it a yellow colour. This compound can help improve gut health to a great extent as well as relieve abdominal pain and excess gas in the stomach. Turmeric also has a relaxing and soothing impact on the intestines and helps relieve pains and spasms to a great extent.
How to use:
The World Health Organisation suggests that 3 mg per kg of the body weight of a person is the correct dosage of turmeric to be consumed each day. While you can add turmeric to your food while cooking, another helpful way to cure chronic bloating is to add a pinch of turmeric in warm milk and drink before sleeping. This helps improve digestion and improve bowel movement.
Cloves are quite an effective agent against bloating. It is useful in promoting digestive enzymes in the stomach thus helping the food digest faster.
Cloves also help to dispel the excess gas that may have been accumulated in the stomach. It is a great herb to alleviate signs of acidity as well as bloating.
CURE 3: Alternative Therapies
1. Yoga for Bloating
It is no surprise that most of us tend to overindulge while having our favourite foods which in turn becomes a major cause of bloating and feeling puffy. However, a great remedy to overcome flatulence and gas is yoga. Yoga, an ancient Indian form of exercise that is gaining widespread popularity all over the world. Yoga is a great way to heal bloating, gas and constipation. It soothes the mind and relieves the body from pains arising in the stomach.
In fact, in a particular study(3), it was found out that yoga helped get adolescents rid of stomach disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome and helped improve gut health. Not only does yoga involve all parts of your body, it helps you control your breathing through meditative techniques thus helping you feel relaxed and alert. Some beneficial yoga poses to cure bloating include apanasana, spinal twist, bridge pose, seated forward bend pose, etc.
How to do yoga:
Yoga can be done right in the comfort of your home. These days, several digital forums have opened their yoga learning platforms from where you can learn the art of performing yoga. Please note that in case you are pregnant or are suffering from bodily pain, or injury, make sure that you seek advice from a qualified medical practitioner before practicing yoga.
In a study(4) conducted in the year 2007, on the effectiveness of acupuncture on bloating and stomach pain, it was found that acupuncture was a great remedy to cure acute symptoms of bloating. Being in existence for more than 3000 years, acupuncture has not only been successful in treating indigestion and ancillary symptoms, it has also been instrumental in curing several other ailments. The technique of acupuncture can help optimize the digestive system of the body as well as balance the level of endocrines. It promotes the movement of food from the colon easily, thus helping to relieve bloating.
How to use:
It is strongly advised not to undergo an acupuncture course without consulting a doctor. Although there are no significant side effects of this treatment, slight irritation and bleeding have been noticed. Before opting for this treatment, it is essential that you need your acupuncturist to know about any health ailment that you previously faced or have been facing at present so that the right course of action can be decided.
Foods to Avoid
1. Reduce the Intake of Salt
Many a time, we consume foods that have a high sodium quantity not realizing that sodium is one of the key perpetrators of bloating and gas in the stomach. In fact, most of us tend to consume foods that may not taste salty at all, however, they contain a large amount of sodium in it. For instance, soups, bagels, and bread rolls are high in sodium. In order to get instant relief from bloating, start reducing your intake of salt in all forms. The reason behind this is that sodium affects the ability of your kidneys to get rid of the fluids and toxins from your body.
Keeping sodium levels well within control can help your body stay healthy in the long run. However, even a slight increase in the intake of salt can start making you feel bloated and full. Therefore, it is best to avoid salty foods and keep stomach disorders at bay.
In case you have consumed a lot of salty foods, there are a few quick ways to help you feel lighter:
- Drink a lot of water so that the excess sodium can flow out from your body at the earliest. Even though it may sound counterintuitive to consume plenty of water while feeling bloated, it is, perhaps, one of the most effective ways to relieve chronic bloating.
- Having potassium-rich fruits and vegetables, such as bananas are yet another way to get relieved after excess consumption of salt.
- Performing cardiovascular exercises can be helpful in relieving bloating. Whether you decide to go for a jog, or hit the gym, it is certain that you will feel much better after a strenuous physical activity. Sweating helps your toxins flow out from the body instantly.
2. Avoid Beans at any Cost
Beans belong to the class of legumes. Even though they provide several required vitamins and minerals to the body, they belong to the FODMAPs group and hence may lead to the condition of bloating. In several studies(5), it has been found out that individuals that suffer from irritable bowel syndrome or constipation should avoid having beans at any cost.
Beans not only form gas in the stomach, they also affect you with diarrhea. In fact, to help relieve bloating in your stomach, you can replace it with better alternatives such as grains, or quinoa.
3. Carbonated Drinks
Carbonated drinks may sound like the best option on a hot summery day. However, they can really harm the body in the long run, as carbonated drinks are one of the major causes of bloating. They are known to contain a high amount of carbon dioxide, which only creates excessive gas in the stomach.
Furthermore, this gas gets trapped in the digestive system and causes abdominal pains and other conditions. You can prevent bloating by consuming natural drinks such as water, coconut water, smoothies, and shakes.
4. Dairy Products
Dairy is otherwise quite a nutritious food option since it is a great source of calcium and protein. However, more than three fourth of the world’s population(6) is lactose intolerant. People who are lactose intolerant should not consume dairy products as it can cause major problems to their digestive system. Such people can shift to alternative foods, such as yogurt, lactose-free milk, such as soy milk, almond milk, and rice milk.
Apples are perhaps the most common fruit in the world. They are a rich source of fibres and vitamin C. However, apples cause severe bloating and other digestive ailments. This is because of the high fibre content present in the fruit along with fructose that gets fermented in the stomach causing excess gas. If you insist on consuming apples, try eating cooked apples rather than raw ones.
Tips to Prevent Bloating
Small changes in your lifestyle can help you overcome the problem of bloating and excess gas in the stomach, making a significant change.
Follow these easy tips to keep bloating and gas related issues at bay:
- Eat slowly and chew your food well. This helps the food break down quite easily when it reaches the stomach.
- Exercise for at least 30 minutes a day. It prevents the accumulation of gas in the stomach and helps in the promotion of smooth bowel activity.
- Do not stress. Stress is known to restrict the proper digestion of foods in the body.
- Bid farewell to alcoholic substances and foods that contain sorbitol, such as candies and chewing gums.
- Eat small meals at regular intervals. Avoid long gaps between meals since it leads to the formation of gas in the stomach.
- Avoid gassy foods such as broccoli, cauliflower, onions, and asparagus since they promote the excess formation of gas in the stomach.
- Say no to foods that contain a high amount of fat since they are quite difficult to process by the stomach.
- Insist on consuming a serving of yogurt every single day.
- Reduce your intake of antibiotics since they may contribute to the condition of constipation in the long run. Keep a check on the consumption of supplements too.
- Do not smoke at all. Smoking not only causes fatal ailments, but it also makes the body swallow excess air that is again a major cause of bloating.
- If you have dentures fitted in your mouth, get them checked regularly. Improperly fitted dentures can cause you to swallow excess air.
If you suffer from bloating more often than not, there is a high chance that the foods you consume are the prime culprit behind this digestive condition. Having said that, in case the signs and symptoms of bloating persist after preliminary remedies, it is best that you visit a doctor.
Bloating is a common disorder that a majority of the world’s population suffer from. The remedies to relieve bloating provided above can surely help you get back in action. A good diet plan coupled with enough physical activity can ensure that the bodily functioning is proper and the stomach is able to digest foods at its optimum efficiency thus keeping stomach disorders at bay.
In this section, we have answered some of the most common queries that people have with respect to bloating.
1. What Is the First Step to Do to Overcome Bloating?
The primary cause of bloating is improper or faulty diet. Therefore, the first step towards healing bloating is identifying what foods trigger gas and bloating in the body. It is best that you stay away from such foods or reduce their intake so that digestion is not tampered with. Once you have established foods to avoid, you can shift to better alternatives such as potassium and fiber-rich fruits, fresh juices, etc.
2. Do Herbs Help Prevent Bloating?
Herbs are one of the oldest and the most effective remedies to prevent bloating. The consumption of herbs can bring down the extra gases in the stomach and promote a healthy gut. Examples of such herbs are turmeric, ginger, etc.
3. What Is the Right Dosage of the Remedies Given Above?
There is no single dosage for all the remedies to prevent bloating. Consult a doctor to know the right dosage of the remedies listed. They will provide a better assessment based on factors, such as the intensity of your ailment, your age, previous medical history, etc. However, you can also refer to the ‘how to use’ section to know how to consume popular foods such as lemon or bananas.
4. Can Bloating Be Cured Completely Through Home Remedies?
Bloating is not a very serious medical condition. In fact, it is only a result of an unhealthy lifestyle. Home remedies, in this regard, play a crucial role in ensuring that flatulence and related ailments are prevented. Even though antacids are easily available over the counter, it is best that you shift to natural remedies to cure bloating since these remedies are known to provide maximum benefit to the body with minimum side effects.