Stomach bloating describes what happens when too much gas fills up your gastrointestinal tract (GI), a series of hollow organs joined in a long, twisting tube from the mouth to the anus. When gas builds up in the GI tract, it tends to cause your stomach to stretch and cramp up. These symptoms can be incredibly painful and inconvenient, and can make you self-conscious.
- Stomach bloating: Cut back on this food to ease bloating
The main advice to beat bloating, issued by the NHS, is to cut out foods known to cause wind.
These foods include:
If the problem persists, however, an alternative approach is to increase your intake of foods known to ease symptoms associated with bloating.
One item proven to provide bloating relief is ginger.
Ginger is a flowering plant that originated from China, and the rhizome (underground part of the stem), is commonly used as a spice in Chinese cookery.
The spice has shown been shown to provide myriad health benefits, including having a positive effect on blood sugar levels.
Ginger is also a particularly effective carminative, an herb that helps to soothe the digestive tract and relieve gas, according to James A. Duke, author of “The Green Pharmacy Guide to Healing Foods.”
Ginger calms intestinal activity and expels gas from your digestive tract.
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According to medical website LiveStrong, ginger also thins blood and improves circulation, which further helps to relieve bloating.
The heath body adds: “Gingerols in ginger are also effective pain relievers, which makes them useful in fighting the abdominal pain that often accompanies bloating.”
Additionally, research suggests that ginger supplements may speed up stomach emptying, relieve digestive upset, and reduce intestinal cramping, bloating, and gas.
How much ginger do you need to take to reap the bloating benefits?
To treat gas, which can lead to bloating, adults can take two to four grams of fresh root daily, or 0.25 to one grams of powdered root daily, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.
- Stomach bloating: Drinking this tea could reduce bloating
According to Duke, adding half a teaspoon of ground or freshly grated ginger to one cup of hot water to make a tea is an easy way to relieve gas.
Other dietary tips
According to the NHS, increasing your fibre intake may help to relieve bloating because it fibre eases constipation and digestion, common underlying causes of bloating.
“It’s important to get fibre from a variety of sources, as eating too much of one type of food may not provide you with a healthy balanced diet,” explains the health body.
To increase your fibre intake you could:
- Choose a higher-fibre breakfast cereal such as plain wholewheat biscuits (like Weetabix) or plain shredded whole grain (like Shredded wheat), or porridge as oats are also a good source of fibre. Find out more about healthy breakfast cereals.
- Go for wholemeal or granary bread, or higher fibre white bread, and choose wholegrains like wholewheat pasta, bulgur wheat or brown rice.
- Go for potatoes with their skins on, such as a baked potato or boiled new potatoes. Find out more about starchy foods and carbohydrates.
- Add pulses like beans, lentils or chickpeas to stews, curries and salads.
- Include plenty of vegetables with meals, either as a side dish or added to sauces, stews or curries. Find out more about how to get your 5 A Day.
- Have some fresh or dried fruit, or fruit canned in natural juice for dessert. Because dried fruit is sticky, it can increase the risk of tooth decay, so it’s better if it is only eaten as part of a meal, rather than as a between-meal snack.
- For snacks, try fresh fruit, vegetable sticks, rye crackers, oatcakes and unsalted nuts or seeds.
Another key tip to beat bloating for good is to establish whether you have an intolerance to certain foods.
The most common foods to cause problems are wheat or gluten and dairy products.
The best approach if you have a food intolerance is to eat less of the problem food or cut it out completely.
Keeping a food diary can help you to identify and eliminate the worst offenders, notes the NHS.
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