Stomach bloating is more than an inconvenience – those affected often feel like their belly is about to burst. Too much gas filling up the gastrointestinal tract can leave people feeling self-conscious too. Cutting out gassy foods and drinks normally helps to banish the bloat. Eating bananas may also do the trick.
According to The Nutrition Twins Lyssie Lakatos, RDN and Tammy Lakatos, RDN, authors of The Nutrition Twins’ Veggie Cure: “Bananas are rich in potassium which can help to offset the effects of bloat caused by salty indulgences such as Chinese take-out, frozen meals, and potato chips.”
As explained by Dr Oz, food with a high sodium content such as Chinese takeaway is usually a key culprit of bloating. “Sodium attracts and retains water in the body,” he said
“Potassium on the other hand, can help counter sodium’s role. Maintaining your overall potassium-sodium level is important for water balance,” he added.
If the morning bloat is a result of last night’s binge, Dr Oz recommends adding sliced banana to your morning oatmeal for some balance.
In addition, “Bananas are also a good source of prebiotic fibre, which helps to increase the good bacteria in your gut and improve digestion,” added Lyssie and Tammy.
Other snacks worth trying are:
- Low-fat yoghurt
- Herbal tea
If the problem persists, the NHS recommends getting tested for a food intolerance. “The main offenders are wheat or gluten and dairy products. The best approach if you have a food intolerance is to eat less of the culprit food or cut it out completely.”
The health body also recommends keeping a food diary for a couple of weeks, noting everything that you eat and drink and when bloating troubles you most. But don’t get rid of food groups long-term without advice from your GP.
Trying to reduce your air intake should also help to soothe swelling, said the NHS. You can do this in the following ways:
- Don’t talk and eat at the same time,
- Sit down to eat (sitting upright and not slumped over)
- Reduce the amount of fizzy drinks you consume
- Stop chewing gum and chew with your mouth closed so that you’re not taking in excess air
Mayo clinic also advises not smoking: “When you inhale smoke, you also inhale and swallow air.”
Occasionally, bloating can signify that your digestive system doesn’t completely break down certain components in foods, such as gluten or the sugar in dairy products and fruit, said the health body.
Other sources of intestinal gas may include:
- Food residue in your colon
- A change in the bacteria in the small intestine
- Poor absorption of carbohydrates, which can upset the balance of helpful bacteria in your digestive system
- Constipation, since the longer food waste remains in your colon, the more time it has to ferment
- A digestive disorder, such as lactose or fructose intolerance or celiac disease
“If your bloating symptoms persist, consult your GP to rule out a more serious condition,” advised the NHS. “Bloating, and a persistent feeling of fullness, are key symptoms of ovarian cancer,” it warned.