Do you get a gassy stomach after you eat? Do you sometimes feel like you expand like a balloon after meals? Abdominal bloating is when your stomach feels full and tight. Normal digestion and some cancer treatments can cause a feeling of bloating or gassiness but modifying your diet may help to eliminate some of the worst offenders.
Stop Swallowing Air
Gas and bloating can come from swallowed air caught inside our digestive tract. Although none of us intentionally swallow air, how and what we eat can contribute to swallowing more air during meals.
The following can contribute to swallowing more air:
- Carbonated beverages
- Drinking from straws
- Chewing gum
- Eating too fast
- Talking while eating
- Sucking on hard candy
Find your Gassy Foods
Some foods can be harder to digest and can lead to bloating. Try to eliminate some of these foods to determine if they are adding to your bloated belly. Likely you won’t need to avoid all of the foods but may find some that bother you more. Also keep in mind that some of the gassy foods like legumes and cruciferous vegetables may be tolerated in smaller amounts so you can continue getting all of their cancer-fighting benefits.
Foods that can add to bloating include the following:
- High fat and fried foods
- Legumes like kidney beans and lentils
- Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and cabbage
- Lactose containing foods like milk, yogurt, and cottage cheese
- Artificial sweetener that end in –ol
Turn to Enzymes
If you find that you are gassy with some of these foods, there are over-the-counter enzymes available that may help you digest the foods. These enzymes can help breakdown the foods to a simpler form so your body can digest easier. Remember to talk to your health care team before starting a dietary supplement.
The following are enzymes to look for to help digest some of these gassy foods.
- Lactase for lactose containing foods
- Alpha-galactosidase for legumes and cruciferous vegetables.
Eat and Move More Often
Consider spreading your food throughout the day. Overeating at a meal can be one of the biggest causes of a bloated belly. Eating 3 or more smaller meals may decrease bloating felt after meals and give your body a chance to digest the food easier. Also try going for a short walk after your meals. The movement can help move the gas out of your system and help your food move through your stomach faster.
Bloating can be a combination of several things and it may take some trial and error find the right solution for your body. When diet and lifestyle changes don’t help, be sure to talk to your health care team to see if there are any other options for relief.