We’re all familiar with the dreaded sensation of bloating after an indulgent Thanksgiving meal, but what if you suffer from bloating on a regular basis? Up to 30% of adults consistently experience the uncomfortable and painful feeling of a ballooning stomach.
If you count yourself among that 30%, you don’t have to resign yourself to a life of bloating, gas, and stomach pains. Bloating is directly correlated with the foods you eat and their impact on your digestive health, which means it is within your control to reverse!
By making more strategic eating choices and supplementing with powerful tools like probiotics, digestive enzymes, and activated charcoal, you can escape the misery of bloating and embrace optimal gut health. Here’s how to get rid of bloating fast:
What Causes Bloating?
Bloating most commonly occurs as a direct result of your diet and gut health. Your digestive tract, also known as the gastrointestinal tract, is a long tube that runs from mouth to anus. It acts as a highway for food as it moves through the body to be digested and utilized.
The foods that you eat need to be digested and broken down into smaller molecules of nutrients that can be absorbed by the blood and transported to cells throughout the body. Your digestive system automatically handles this responsibility using digestive juices and chemicals.
How Does Digestion Happen?
Your GI tract relies on digestive enzymes to break down protein, carbohydrates, and fats into smaller components. Digestive enzymes exist naturally in the body in different forms:
Lipases: This enzyme breaks down fat into fatty acids.
Amylases: This enzyme breaks down carbohydrates into simple sugars.
Proteases: This enzyme breaks down protein into peptides and amino acids.
Other enzymes responsible for more specific tasks, like lactase, maltase, and sucrase, are created in the small intestine.
However, your body may not be equipped with all of the enzymes needed to properly digest certain foods. About 65% of the human population, for example, cannot properly digest lactose, the sugar found in dairy products, due to reduced production of the lactase enzyme.
Poor Digestion Leads to Bloating
The bacteria in your gastrointestinal tract love to feast on the carbohydrates your body can’t easily digest. As the bacteria enjoy their meals, they release hydrogen, methane, and other gases that build up in your system. The more gas that builds up, the more bloated you feel.
This uncomfortable and sometimes painful condition often feels like there’s an inflated balloon in your belly. Fortunately, you only need to make simple changes to your dietary habits and start using supplements strategically to minimize and eliminate your battle against bloating.
Which Foods Cause Bloating?
There are certain foods that we know will lead to bloating. Dairy, wheat, and cruciferous vegetables are the three main culprits due to their molecular structure and relationship with the digestive tract.
Why Does Dairy Cause Bloating?
Cow’s milk is designed to help calves grow into full-sized cows that weigh thousands of pounds. For this reason, the molecules of cow milk are large and difficult to break down in the human body. The physiology of your body simply doesn’t align with the digestion of cow’s milk.
Dairy, wheat, and cruciferous vegetables are the three main culprits due to their molecular structure and relationship with the digestive tract.
Though some people can still digest dairy without a problem, nearly three quarters of the population cannot properly digest lactose, the natural sugar in milk products. If dairy causes you to feel bloated, you most likely have a shortage of the enzyme called lactase that is produced in the small intestine.
Without sufficient levels of lactase, your GI tract cannot break down milk sugars into simpler forms of sugars to be absorbed into the bloodstream. Though this intolerance is not an official food allergy, it can still trigger uncomfortable symptoms as quickly as 30 minutes after eating:
- Stomach cramps
In order to prevent dairy-related bloating, try cutting down on milk, butter, cheese, yogurt, and ice cream products made with cow’s milk. Almond milk is a popular alternative that has become widely available.
Why Do Wheat and Gluten Cause Bloating?
Bread, pasta, cereal, and pastries commonly contain gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. Gluten is a stabilizing ingredient; it keeps dough sticky and bread fluffy, but its root word “glue” hints that it isn’t your digestive tract’s best friend.
Due to modified wheat crops that are designed to grow faster while resisting droughts and insects, we no longer eat the simple and natural wheat of our grandparents’ generation. Today’s altered wheat has introduced us to new forms of proteins that we can’t easily digest. We also have dramatically easier access to highly refined wheat products, which explains why the prevalence of digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome continues to increase.
The enzyme tTG is responsible for breaking down gluten into protein building blocks as soon as it reaches the intestines. However, if you commonly experience bloating after eating wheat or other gluten products, it’s possible that gluten triggers your GI tract to release a protein that degrades your intestine and creates tiny holes.
Too much intestinal damage leads to leaky gut, which allows toxins, microbes, and undigested food particles to escape through the holes into your bloodstream and trigger additional inflammation and bloating. The only way to prevent wheat and gluten from traumatizing your digestive system is to cut those foods out of your diet for at least 30 days.
Why Do Cruciferous Vegetables Cause Bloating?
Nobody will ever tell you that vegetables are bad for you, but it turns out that certain cruciferous vegetables can cause bloating. Cruciferous veggies include bitter varieties like broccoli, kale, brussel sprouts, and cabbage.
Cruciferous veggies are unlikely bloating culprits because they contain Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols (FODMAPs). FODMAPs are short-chain carbohydrates and sugar alcohols that the body struggles to absorb and digest.
When you eat a food high in FODMAPs, the carbohydrates and sugar alcohols attract excess water and produce gases during the digestion process. They essentially ferment in the large intestine and cause bloating and stomach pain.
Fortunately, you don’t need to give up on your favorite vegetables to prevent bloating. Cruciferous veggies simply need to be cooked if you want to make digestion easier and avoid unwanted gas and bloating.
How to Get Rid of Bloating Fast
In addition to improving your food choices and resisting the temptation of your favorite bloat-inducing foods, you can also use supplements to strategically prevent and minimize bloating. Probiotics, enzymes, and activated charcoal are all natural, safe, and healthy options to get rid of bloating and keep your stomach flat.
Get Rid of Bloating With Probiotics
Probiotics are powerful health tools that serve many purposes, including combat bloating. When taken on a daily basis, probiotics support smooth digestion and maintain overall gut health.
What Are Probiotics?
Your entire digestive system is always teeming with bacteria. When harmful bacteria begin to outnumber the good bacteria in your GI tract, you experience health problems and uncomfortable symptoms like bloating and other digestive issues.
Probiotics help you restore balance to your GI tract by supplying extra “good” bacteria in the form of live microorganisms. The most common bacteria found in probiotics are Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus brevis, Bifidobacterium lactis, and Bifidobacterium longum. They each serve a unique purpose in the larger effort to balance gut bacteria and prevent unwanted symptoms.
Probiotics exist naturally in fermented foods like kombucha and Greek yogurt, but they’re also easy to take in supplement form.
What Are the Benefits of Probiotics?
Probiotics nourish the digestive system with healthy bacteria to prevent the overgrowth of harmful bacteria. When taken every day as an ongoing supplement, probiotics don’t just prevent unwanted bloating. They also offer the following benefits to your overall wellness:
- Restore balance of microflora for vaginal health
- Prevent skin reactions like eczema
- Strengthen immune system
- Support healthy fat loss
- Defend against invading toxins
Incorporating a probiotic as a regular supplement in your routine is the easiest way to get rid of bloating. You won’t just enjoy the absence of bloating, but you’ll also create long-lasting gut health that enhances your physical wellness.
How to Use Probiotics
Not all probiotics are created equally, so it is important to find a reputable brand that can be trusted to deliver the results it promises. Use these guidelines to enjoy the best results from your probiotic:
- Take it before eating, when stomach acid levels are lower.
- Eat fiber-rich foods to give the probiotics a nurturing digestive environment.
- Choose a probiotic with many different strains of bacteria.
- Choose a probiotic with at least 5 to 10 billion live organisms per dosage.
Overall, incorporating a probiotic as a regular supplement in your routine is the easiest way to get rid of bloating. You won’t just enjoy the absence of bloating, but you’ll also create long-lasting gut health that enhances your physical wellness.
Get Rid of Bloating With Digestive Enzyme Supplements
In addition to probiotics, digestive enzymes can be used to prevent bloating before specific meals or treats that you know will wreak havoc on your digestive system.
What Are Digestive Enzymes?
Digestive enzymes exist naturally in the GI tract to break down food after it is swallowed. These digestive enzymes are responsible for turning large chunks of food into small molecules the body can use to absorb nutrients and transport through the bloodstream.
Lipase enzymes break down fats, amylase enzymes break down carbohydrates, and protease enzymes break down proteins. However, when your body doesn’t produce specific enzymes in large enough quantities, food remains undigested and becomes a feast for harmful bacteria.
Digestive enzymes are available in supplement form to support your naturally occurring enzymes in the important task of digesting and processing the food you eat.
The Benefits of Supplementing With Digestive Enzymes
Taking an advanced digestive enzyme supplement with a unique blend of many digestive enzymes will help your body break down and absorb nutrients in your food. From hard-to-digest fiber and dairy sugars to the protein in your favorite steak, digestive enzymes support proper digestion and prevent gas and bloating.
You can take your digestive enzyme on a regular basis, or take it 30 minutes before eating a meal you know will trigger uncomfortable bloating. Either way, adding additional digestive enzymes to your body is exactly how you get rid of bloating fast.
Get Rid of Bloating With Activated Charcoal
Probiotics and digestive enzymes work as a team to support optimal digestive health, prevent and reduce bloating, and enhance your overall wellness. Activated charcoal is another valuable tool that can help you fight specific instances of bloating.
What Is Activated Charcoal?
Activated charcoal is an extremely porous natural substance that acts like a filter to absorb anything toxic in your body. This fine black powder becomes “activated” when it is processed at high temperatures. The high heat changes its internal structure to make it more porous than regular charcoal.
How Does Activated Charcoal Work?
Activated charcoal can be taken in capsule form so it can absorb harmful substances in your digestive system. Its negative charge immediately attracts positively charged molecules like toxins and gases.
The activated charcoal itself cannot be absorbed by your body, so it travels out in bowel movements, carrying all of your body’s unwanted toxins with it. If you accidentally — or purposefully! — eat something that causes uncomfortable bloating in your stomach, one dose of activated charcoal has the power to absorb and remove the culprits.
Since activated charcoal should be used intermittently as needed, not on a daily basis like probiotics, it’s important to find the product you can trust to work at a moment’s notice.
The Bottom Line: The Best Ways to Get Rid of Bloating Fast
Bloating may not be a serious health problem, but it can still pose unwanted interruptions to your quality of life. Feeling fat, uncomfortable, and stuffed makes it much harder to participate in physical activities, relax with your friends, or feel confident about your appearance.
Whether your bloating developed as a result of a special indulgence or an innocent lunch choice, you don’t want to spend the rest of your day feeling like your stomach is about to explode. Flatulence, burping, and cramping can ruin your day instantly.
This is why adjusting your eating habits, supplementing regularly with probiotics, and taking digestive enzymes and activated charcoal as needed can powerfully transform your digestive health and restore comfort to your belly.