Bloating: when your belly sticks out so much that you look six months pregnant! Well, that’s what it feels like anyway!
Bloating is actually a build up of gas in the digestive system causing your abdomen to become visibly swollen. This gas is largely formed by the bacteria in your digestive system. Bloating can cause pain and discomfort in your stomach and colon and impact your day-to-day living.
Medical conditions, stress, diet and medications can contribute to this build up of gas. When it comes to what you eat, this can be one of the biggest contributors to bloating and also one of the best treatments too.
Probiotics are live microorganisms that help your digestive system. They are often referred to as “good bacteria” and studies have shown that certain probiotics can help improve the bacterial environment in the gut, which can help reduce symptoms of gas and bloating. Even when bloating is caused by food intolerances, irritable bowel and inflammatory bowel conditions, probiotics have been shown to be beneficial. Probiotics may also be useful against Helicobacter pylori infections, the main contributor to ulcers and stomach cancer.
If you currently suffer from digestive problems that cause bloating, you may benefit from consuming probiotics. Here are 3 easy ways to include probiotics in your diet:
- Eat Yoghurt – yoghurt contains probiotics which can help reduce bloating. Cocobella Coconut Yoghurt contains the probiotics Bifidobacterium lactis and Lactobacillus acidophilus and consuming yoghurt with these probiotics on a regular basis may help reduce bloating. Try having a serving of yoghurt each day. Add a few scoops to your breakfast smoothie or cereal or top with nuts or muesli as a healthy snack.
- Try a probiotic supplement – there are many supplements on the market that contain probiotics to help build up your level of healthy gut flora and reduce bloating.
- Try some other foods that contain probiotics – tempeh (a fermented grain), kefir (fermented grain and goats milk), Sauerkraut (fermented cabbage), Microalgae, miso or Kombucha Tea.
In addition to consuming these probiotic-rich foods, here are some other strategies to help reduce bloating:
- Avoid eating large meals – try small, regular meals and snacks
- Check for food allergies and intolerances. Common offenders include lactose, fructose, wheat, gluten, and egg. Consider seeing a dietitian for a FODMAPs diet.
- Avoid swallowing air – swallowed air can contribute to bloating. A major cause is carbonated beverages like soft drinks and bubbly water, as well as eating too fast.
- Avoid “trigger” foods – trigger foods are those that cause bloating in individuals like artificial sweeteners, fatty and spicy foods.
- Manage your stress levels – engage regularly in activities that help reduce your stress levels and consider seeing a psychologist if needed.
- Exercise daily – daily physical activity can help move gas through the digestive tract and reduce bloating.