Abdominal bloating happens when the gastrointestinal tract is filled with air or gas. Bloating is best described as feeling tight or swollen, or a feeling of fullness in the abdomen.1 The food you eat, the way you eat it, and even your thoughts while you eat plays a crucial role in the digestion process. Simple, yet effective practices while eating and after meals can help prevent bloating.
1. Avoid Water Intake Just Before Meals
Drinking too much water adversely affects the digestion process. Your digestive system, including your stomach, secretes many gastric juices and acids, which helps in assimilation and absorption of the food. The digestive system performs optimally only when the conditions are right, which includes optimal pH levels.
Ideal pH levels help in the release of gastric juices and the activation of digestive enzymes that break down food particles into smaller compounds. If you drink too much water just before your meal, the pH becomes diluted and prevents the enzymes from functioning optimally.
This causes the larger unbroken food particles to reach the GI tract, which leads to irritation and inadequate micro-nutrient absorption. This, in turn, results in cramping, bloating, or distention. Hence, it’s important to avoid drinking too much water just before or even in between meals.
2. Chew Your Food Properly
As mentioned above, it is crucial that your food is broken down properly before it reaches the GI tract to prevent bloating. The first stage of this assimilation takes place in your mouth when you chew your food and it blends with your saliva.
If food is not chewed properly, you bypass this stage and large unbroken food particles enter your digestive system. Chewing your food properly ensures the adequate release of the digestive enzyme in your saliva called amylase, which essential to break down starch.
3. Eat Healthy Organic Foods
Due to commercialization, most foods today are loaded with pesticides or grown with genetically-modified ingredients, which can damage your intestinal lining. Over time, this results in digestive issues and other chronic problems. To prevent bloating, it is vital to consume organic foods that are free of pesticides and other harmful chemicals.
When the foods you eat are organic and natural, your digestive system does not have to work overtime to break down the foods. Moreover, it prevents harmful substances from entering your GI tract and keeps your gut feeling light.
4. Focus On Your Meal
Eating healthy is not just a physical activity but also involves the mind. If you don’t focus on your food, you hardly enjoy the flavor and the texture of the food. When you eat, ensure that you enjoy the taste, color, smell, and texture of your food. This enables your brain to register satiety, which prevents overeating and indigestion. It can also lower stress, which hinders digestion and efficient nutrient absorption. When this occurs, you experience constipation and bloating.
5. Eat Slowly
Some people proudly claim that they eat very fast. It’s not an eating contest nor is anyone waiting to award you for eating quickly. Take your time to finish your food and relish each bite to savor the taste. Normally, it takes around 20 minutes for your digestive system to send a signal to your brain indicating that your stomach is full and it’s time to stop eating.
By shoveling down food, you tend to eat more than you should and end up with a full stomach resulting in bloating. Reducing your eating pace can also help in weight loss and prevents overburdening your digestive system.
|↑1||Lacy, Brian E., Scott L. Gabbard, and Michael D. Crowell. “Pathophysiology, evaluation, and treatment of bloating: hope, hype, or hot air?.” Gastroenterology & hepatology 7, no. 11 (2011): 729.|