The holiday season isn’t even over yet, but you’ve already had your share of stuffing, turkey, wine, pie, cookies, and every other goodie you can possibly imagine. Often, after indulging in all this food, a person can feel bloated, which is when the stomach is swollen after eating. This bloating can cause pain, discomfort, the feeling of being stuffed, and the perception of a bigger belly from increased pressure by excess gas production or by disturbances in the bowel system. It’s safe to say all the excess food and drinks you consumed is causing your bloating. Most people experience bloating after big meals, and up to 30 percent of people experience regular bloating.
Fortunately, there are several ways to reduce and eliminate bloating. Bloating isn’t a good feeling, especially when you’re trying to spend time with loved ones during the holiday season. Below, I’ve shared a list of some ways for you to beat the bloat.
- If you feel you’re starting to bloat or back up, take a psyllium husk fiber supplement with a glass of water.
- Keep track of your daily fiber intake from foods. Aim for around 30 grams of fiber per day from foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds.
- Steer clear of carbonated beverages; they are known to contribute to bloating and distention of the stomach.
- It may be tough around the holidays, but try to eat smaller meals. Overeating can make a person feel uncomfortable and enlarge the stomach, which creates the bloating feeling.
- Avoid chewing gum, drinking with a straw, and eating while talking. These activities lead to an increased amount of swallowed air in the body, which contribute to bloating just like a carbonated beverage would.
- Pass on foods with high fiber like beans, lentils, and some whole grains. If you already know what foods you’re sensitive too, try to eat them rarely or at a minimum to see if your bloating symptoms go away.
- Help replenish the good bacteria in your gut by either eating yogurt with active cultures or discuss possibly taking a probiotic product with your physician. Adding “good bacteria to your system theoretically reduces the bad bacteria that creates gas in the stomach.
- Go for a walk, or start to exercise regularly. Exercise helps promote movement within the intestines.
- Sugar alcohols are added as sugar substitutes in foods and can cause bloating. If you are experiencing excess gas avoid “no sugar” sweeteners such as sorbitol, xylitol, erythritol, mannitol, or lactitol. Common foods with these sugar alcohols are ice cream, sugar-free gum, cakes, and cookies.
- Constipating can make bloating worse. If soluble fiber in your diet isn’t helping, take a magnesium supplement to help things get moving. If you have kidney disease you should not supplement magnesium without clearing this with your physician.
If you have severe or chronic bloating it may be time to see the doctor. Around holiday season, most likely you had one too many helpings of stuffing, and the bloating should go away after the holidays. Persistent symptoms can be the sign of other medical conditions. If you’re looking for an evaluation or solutions to your bloating, contact Dr. Kordonowy of Internal Medicine, Lipid & Wellness of Fort Myers at 239-362-5000, ext. 200 or click here.