Food and Supplements That Reduce Bloating

Mon, 04/18/2022 - 10:03

Bloating for the purposes of this article is not referring to water retention, but distension of the abdomen. The 3 months pregnant / I swallowed a basketball feeling. This is often caused by gas, which is what we are addressing below but it’s important to note there are certain medical conditions you should rule out like IBS, Gastroparesis, and most important – gynecological conditions with your uterus or ovaries. So, make sure you never skip your annual pelvic exam.

The two key components of bloating are constipation and highly fermentable foods, also known as (FODMAP foods). There are also some quick fix possibilities like chewing gum, fizzy drinks, and sugar free candy with “sugar alcohols (Erythritol, Maltitol, Mannitol etc) that can create or contribute to bloating.

First, let’s look at which foods can contribute to bloating and then move on to what foods and supplements can help manage it, as well as how to prevent constipation.

Here is a list of FODMAP FOODS:

  • Oligosaccharides, which are found in foods like whole wheat, onions, garlic, broccoli, cabbage, legumes and beans
  • Disaccharides, such as lactose in milk, yogurt and ice cream
  • Monosaccharides, including fructose (a type of sugar found in fruits and honey), apples and pears
  • Polyols found in stone fruits such as apricots, nectarines, plums, and even avocados 

While many of these foods are “good for you”, loaded with nutrients, they can also cause gas in some. This is because in some of us our digestive system lacks the enzymes necessary to digest these foods. As a result, they enter the colon undigested, are fermented by the bacteria there, which produces gas as a byproduct leading to that bloated feeling.

Not to worry. The best way forward is to take these foods out and slowly reintroduce them one at a time to your diet. Then pay attention to whether you feel bloated after eating them. This shouldn’t take longer than a week’s time and once you have your list of sensitivities you will know what is instigating the issue.  

From here you have a few options. You can take a specific digestive enzyme to help your body break down these foods. There are some very simple over the counter options like Beano for oligosaccharide intolerance. Lactaid for dairy  / lactose intolerance. Or just a solid mutli enzyme product with a glass of water before meals containing these foods. 

One caveat with FODMAP foods, oligosaccharide vegetables in particular, is to make sure you fully cook them. Often with foods like broccoli, beans, garlic etc. it’s the outer cell wall we struggle to break down and cooking these foods properly is a form of pre-digestion, making it much easier for our bodies to digest than consuming them raw. 

If you decide to avoid these foods entirely, you can go about finding some equally healthy alternatives to substitute them with. There are plenty of gluten free options out there from cereals and bread to pasta. You can swap stone fruit for berries. Cruciferous veggies for leafy greens and squash and so on.

Now the low hanging fruit here, no pun intended, would be the fizzy drinks, chewing gum, and sugar alcohols. This one is pretty obvious. Gum and carbonated drinks can cause us to swallow excess air / gas and create bloat or discomfort so if this is an issue for you simply eliminate them.  

As for sugar alcohols, these can be found in fruits (like the stone fruits mentioned above) and are considered polyols.  However, some are man-made and these are the ones that can really wreak havoc in your gut. You will find these in the ingredient list of many low sugar or sugar free foods as Erythritol, Maltitol, Mannitol, Xylitol, Isomalt, Sorbitol. These are put in food to help people lose weight because they pass through the small intestine undigested, but because of that they can cause excessive gas or bloating. So be sure to greatly limit foods with these ingredients or avoid all together.  

Next up, how do you help debloat your gut using supplements?

The reason that certain supplements, such as probiotics and digestive enzymes, can help to reduce occasional gassiness or bloat is because they assist in increasing the number of good bacteria in your gut, help properly break down foods, promote gut lining integrity, and support healthy, regular elimination.

Here’s more specifics about how to reduce occasional bloating using some helpful supplements:

Probiotics. These bacteria help to recolonize and balance your gut act like friendly gut healthy immune system function, nutrient absorption, elimination and digestive health.

Astragalus root and organic turkey tail mushroom can help maintain an overall healthy gut by supporting elimination and combatting candida (excess yeast overgrowth in the gut).

Digestive enzymes help to ensure that the foods you’re eating are digested properly.  You can get a great overall enzyme product by making sure it contains Amylase, Protease, Lipase, Cellulase, Bromelain, and Papain.  Take as instructed and you will likely notice a huge improvement.

Foods that May Reduce Bloating
What foods get rid of bloating? To help with constipation and keep things moving smoothly you will want to include the following foods into your daily routine whenever possible. 

Fermented foods are a great source of food strain probiotics. Kimchi, sauerkraut, yogurt, kefir are all good choices. 

Fruits and veggies
These foods are high in fiber, water, key electrolytes and beneficial enzymes that can help relieve stomach bloating and constipation. Try eating more raw or cooked leafy greens, cucumber, fennel, artichoke, melon, berries, steamed veggies like carrots and celery, and cultured/fermented vegetables.

Herbs and spices
Ginger, dandelion, aloe vera and fennel have been used for thousands of years to soothe an occasionally bloated belly.
Ginger and peppermint can have a relaxing effect on the muscles in the digestive tract, which helps soothe the gut. Aloe vera is a natural laxative, so be sure to use in extreme moderation.