With the festive season just around the corner, it is the return of family dinners, buffets and casual snacking during house visits and gatherings. Overeating can sometimes lead to bloating and stomach discomfort
Read on as we share tips on how you can treat or even prevent bloating.
1. Pace Yourself While Eating
Did you know that it may take up to 20 minutes before your gut signals your brain to let you know that you’re full?¹
Eating too quickly increases the risk of swallowing more air, leading to excessive gas and bloatedness. Savour your meals and chew thoroughly. This will also help to prevent overeating and feeling bloated later.
2. Avoid Overbuying Snacks
We understand how difficult it can be to resist the temptation to buy up snacks from every vendor you walk past. Those ‘2 for 1’ specials aren’t doing you any favours either.
FODMAP (Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides And Polyols) are types of carbohydrates found in certain foods. FODMAPs are fermented by the gut microflora, leading to production of gas and bloating.² High FODMAP foods include cookies and sweets, especially those made with fruits or wheat.²
Plan the amount of festive snacks you want to have around the house for yourself or your guests and stick to it to prevent overeating. Alternatively, you may also switch to low FODMAP snacks such as baked sweet potato chips.
3. Take Probiotics
Probiotics are live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the human body.³ Probiotics help to maintain gut health through various mechanisms such as lowering intestinal pH, decreasing colonization and invasion by pathogenic organisms, and modifying the host immune response.⁴ Some studies suggest that probiotics may be beneficial in reducing bloating and flatulence.³
4. Eat Foods that have Low Glycemic Index (GI)
The glycemic index (GI) is a measure of the relative effect of carbohydrate-containing foods on blood glucose. Carbohydrates like rice and noodles are staples in the Asian diet but they have a high GI.
You can choose to eat lower GI alternatives such as brown rice or whole wheat noodles. Low GI foods offer a number of health benefits, including lower risk of heart disease and diabetes, better blood sugar control and lower cholesterol levels.⁴ Another benefit of low GI foods is that they provide sustainable energy in contrast to high GI foods which provide a quick burst of energy.⁴ Thus, low GI foods can keep appetite and prevent overeating.
5. Physical Activity
Research has shown that exercise helps to improve gut motility and digestion. It also helps to reduce gas and bloating.⁶
Avoid lying down right after eating and maybe take a light stroll in the nearby park or go shopping to aid digestion and prevent excessive gas.
6. Over-The-Counter Medications
You can take medications like simethicone or charcoal. Simethicone works by reducing the surface tension of the gas bubbles in the gut and preventing gas pockets from forming.⁷ Activated charcoal works by trapping gas molecules, reducing the gas that causes bloating.⁸
There are also more effective medicines available so please approach your pharmacist or doctor for medical advice.
1. Breton J, Tennoune N, Lucas N, Francois M, Legrand R, Jacquemot J, Goichon A, Guérin C, Peltier J, Pestel-Caron M, Chan P, Vaudry D, do Rego JC, Liénard F, Pénicaud L, Fioramonti X, Ebenezer IS, Hökfelt T, Déchelotte P, Fetissov SO. Gut Commensal E. coli Proteins Activate Host Satiety Pathways following Nutrient-Induced Bacterial Growth. Cell Metab. 2016 Feb 9;23(2):324-34.
2. International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders [Internet]. Mount Pleasant, South Carolina (US). The Low FODMAP Diet Approach: Effects of FODMAPs on the Gut; 2021 Sep [cited 2021 Dec 13]; Available from: https://aboutibs.org/treatment/ibs-diet/low-fodmap-diet/effects-of-fodmaps-on-the-gut/
3. Hungin APS, Mulligan C, Pot B. Systematic review: probiotics in the management of lower gastrointestinal symptoms in clinical practice – an evidence-based international guide
4. Nancy Toedter Williams, Pharm.D., BCPS, BCNSP, Probiotics, American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy, Volume 67, Issue 6, 15 March 2010, Pages 449–458
5. Liu S, et al. Dietary carbohydrates. In: UpToDate, Post, TW (Ed), UpToDate, Waltham, MA, 2021
6. Villoria A, Serra J, Azpiroz F, Malagelada JR. Physical activity and intestinal gas clearance in patients with bloating. Am J Gastroenterol. 2006 Nov;101(11):2552-7.
7. Simethicone: Drug information. In: UpToDate, Post, TW (Ed), UpToDate, Waltham, MA, 2021
8. UCLA Health [Internet]. Los Angeles, California (US). Does Activated Charcoal Help with Gas and Bloating? 2018 Oct 22 [cited 2021 Dec 13]. Available from: https://connect.uclahealth.org/2018/10/22/does-activated-charcoal-help-with-gas-and-bloating/
Disclaimer: The article content is intended for informational or educational purposes only, and does not substitute professional medical advice or consultations with healthcare professionals. The disclaimer also provides that no warranties are given in relation to the medical information supplied in the article, and that no liability will accrue to Miraco Nutripharm Pte Ltd or any affiliated authors in the event that a user suffers loss as a result of reliance upon the information.