Sometimes you may feel bloated after eating. This manifests itself as pressure. It feels like gas is struggling to get out. Usually, and for most people, this resolves itself. But in some cases, it can become a chronic problem, affecting quality of life.
In addition to the causes for which it occurs, in this article we will learn what to do to avoid bloating after eating or to make this feeling go away quickly.
Causes of Bloating After Meals
According to research, bloating and swelling are two of the most common gastrointestinal symptoms. The former is characterized by a sensation of trapped gas and internal abdominal pressure; the latter by an increase in abdominal belt. And while they can co-exist, they also occur separately.
Among the most common causes of bloating after a meal are the following:
- Stress or anxiety
- Hormonal changes
- Intestinal obstruction
- Descent of the diaphragm
- Consumption of carbonated beverages
- Large or heavy meals
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Food allergies and intolerances
- Imbalances in the intestinal microbiota
Tips to Avoid Bloating After Meals
Post-meal bloating is not a lost cause. Here you have some tips to reduce the discomfort.
Excessive amounts of food can cause post-meal bloating for two reasons:
- They literally stretch the stomach and cause a feeling of fullness.
- The more indigestible carbohydrate foods are in the colon, the more gas is produced.
So a first recommendation is to reduce the portion size of the food you eat at each meal.
Limit the Foods That Cause Bloating
Foods that cause bloating include the following:
- Monosaccharides: this is a type of sugar that includes fructose. It is found in apples, pears and other fruits.
- Disaccharides: These sugars include lactose.
- Polyols or sugar alcohols: found in fruits such as apricots, plums and other vegetables such as cauliflower.
The FODMAP Diet
Still in the spirit of limiting certain foods, among those that cause bloating after eating are fermentable oligosaccharides, also called FODMAPs . They include a wide variety:
- Green peas
- Some artificial sweeteners: xylitol, sorbitol and mannitol.
The small intestine may have difficulty absorbing these foods, so they go directly into the colon, where they are fermented by bacteria. For this reason, a low FODMAP diet is recommended in some cases.
According to a 2015 review, study results support the claim that a low-FODMAP diet is effective in reducing functional gastrointestinal symptoms.
Reduce Lactose Intake
This is a disaccharide carbohydrate found in milk. Because some people do not produce enough enzyme to break it down (lactase), they are lactose intolerant.
As a result, this carbohydrate passes through the intestine by absorbing water. Once it reaches the colon, it ferments. It releases gas and causes a bloated feeling after eating.
When this problem is suspected, it is recommended to reduce consumption of dairy products and replace them with other sources of calcium. Or consume those that are low in lactose, such as Greek yogurt and aged cheeses.
Other Allergies and Intolerances
There are other food allergies and intolerances that can cause swelling after eating, especially when the products that cause the reaction are consumed. One of these is autoimmune gluten intolerance, also known as celiac disease.
In this case, it is recommended to take note of what was consumed at the time of the reaction and to go to the specialist. The professional will determine if gluten should be eliminated from the diet.
Increase Fiber Intake
Increasing your fiber intake can not only help treat but even prevent bloating after a meal. The minimum recommended intake is about 25 grams (g) for women and 38 g for men.
However, it is advisable not to consume more than necessary. This also has consequences and may even have the opposite effect. That is, too much fiber can also be harmful.
Avoid Swallowing Air
Swallowing air is a possible cause of bloating after a meal, especially in people with irritable bowel syndrome. Although swallowing air alone is also likely to cause burping. This can be avoided by eating at a moderate pace and avoiding chewing gum.
Regular Meal Intervals
On the one hand, when we go longer without eating, we can fill up on gas. On the other hand, people who keep long intervals between meals tend to eat more afterwards.
But this can be avoided by eating several small meals a day or by keeping regular, shorter intervals between meals.
Replace Soda with Water
The gas in soft drinks builds up in the stomach. Plus, they usually contain excess sugar or sweeteners. Drink water instead.
Take Steps to Reduce Constipation
Chronic constipation can cause symptoms such as straining to have a bowel movement, infrequent urination, hard stools and abdominal bloating. And because food spends more time in the intestine, more fermentation occurs.
Drinking enough water, as well as consuming fiber, among other measures (exercise, dietary changes), are considered adequate ways to help reduce chronic constipation. This is expressed in the studies conducted in this regard.
Probiotics are beneficial to the gut microbiota. Consumption of a supplement or foods such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut and miso, among others, helps regulate the bacteria in the colon, thus preventing excess gas and bloating. Its effectiveness has already been proven by research conducted with patients suffering from irritable bowel syndrome.
Reduce Salt Intake
Water retention is linked to bloating after meals. And that’s just it, excess sodium contributes to greater retention.
Avoid Unhealthy Fats
The stomach takes longer to digest fats. That’s why fatty foods make the feeling of fullness and bloating after eating stay longer. So, for the health of both your arteries and your stomach, avoid fats that are considered unhealthy, such as trans fatty acids.
There you are! With those tips, you should be able to avoid bloating. What is your typical diet and after reading this article, what change will you bring to your regular meal routine? Let us know in the comments below.