Stomach bloating: Dr. Oz advises on how to 'beat the bloat'
It is quite common to experience bloating every now and then.
Often it can be the result of something relatively harmless like consuming certain foods and drinks, and swallowing air when you eat.
However, it could also be a sign of something more serious such as constipation, a food intolerance and irritable bowel syndrome.
Some people will also feel bloated around the time of their period.
One expert warned that it can be a sign of an imbalance in your gut.
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Dietitian Jo Travers, from Love Your Gut, explained: “Bloating is often caused by an imbalance of gut bacteria.
“Because our own digestive system can’t digest the cell walls of plants, which is more commonly known as fibre, the bacteria in our gut digest this for us.
“However, if you don’t have the right bacteria or you don’t have enough of them, some types of fibre can ferment and cause gas production which leads to bloating.”
She recommended three natural treatments that could help boost gut health and reduce the risk of bloating.
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These include foods like kimchi, live yoghurt, tempeh (fermented soy) and kombucha.
Jo said: “Fermentation encourages the growth of beneficial microorganisms, which discourages the growth of harmful ones, meaning that the food is protected from spoilage and is therefore preserved.
“The beneficial bacteria are associated with good digestion. Some fermented foods are also high in yeasts which work symbiotically with the bacteria.”
“Berries, especially brightly coloured ones, like blueberries and raspberries, contain phytochemicals such as polyphenols,” she said.
“Polyphenols can be metabolised by gut bacteria. Polyphenols can have beneficial effects on the gut wall and can also affect the composition of the gut microbiome.”
Jo said: “Activated charcoal is used as a traditional medicine in many parts of the world, and whilst it is not exactly a food, if you take it with food it can reduce bloating.
“Activated charcoal has tiny air pockets that absorb excess gas, so it can be a useful tool to prevent gas build up while you are working on getting your microbiome in shape.”
She added: “If you are feeling bloated, getting some gentle exercise like walking, keeping properly hydrated and eating smaller portions more regularly have all been shown to help.”
To reduce bloating the NHS also recommends chewing with your mouth closed to avoid swallowing air and drinking plenty of water.
When to see a doctor
Although the cause of bloating could be harmless it could also signify something more serious.
The NHS states you should see your GP if you:
- Have been feeling bloated for three weeks or more
- Feel bloated regularly (more than 12 times a month)
- Have tried changing your diet but keep feeling bloated
- Have a swelling or lump in your tummy
- Have bloating along with being sick, diarrhoea, constipation, weight loss or blood in your poo
- Find it difficult to move or do daily activities because you’re bloated.
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