We are all familiar with the uncomfortable feeling of being bloated. It makes some people cranky and they lose interest in food as well. But what causes it? According to nutritionist and chef Ishti Saluja, when your abdomen feels stretched, tight and generally uncomfortable, it is usually bloating.
Buy Now | Our best subscription plan now has a special price
“Bloating is caused by many different things: constipation, excess wind, food intolerance, swallowing too much air while eating, celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome. It occurs because of the accumulation of gas in the abdomen; gas formation is completely natural, but if trapped inside for too long, it causes bloating. This leads to frequent burping, flatulence, abdominal pain and/or abdominal growling,” she explains.
Saluja adds that vegetables like beans, onions, broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage can all increase this. “…so try and cook these down as much as you can. Gluten and dairy are other major causes. Swallowing too much air while eating can also make bloating worse. Don’t speak and eat at the same time. Avoid slumping when eating, sit upright, avoid fizzy drinks and chew with your mouth shut,” she says.
Best of Express Premium
The expert suggests the following ways to reduce bloating quickly:
1. Walk after meals: It’s the best exercise to release the trapped air inside. Walk briskly and with every 10 steps, try to push your abdomen in and out thrice. Abdominal movements give space to trapped gas to make its way out.
2. Hasta Padangusthasana: This can release the intestinal gas trapped. Lie down on your back. While inhaling, raise both your hands. Keeping your hands up, while exhaling, raise both your legs perpendicular to the floor. Hold your breath and stay there for 6 seconds. Then slowly, inhaling in 3 seconds, bring your legs down and relax. If you have a weak back, then raise one leg at a time. Repeat this asana 6-7 times.
3. Lemon and ginger water: It promotes an alkaline pH, thereby reducing acidity and formation of gas. It also stimulates healthy digestion and quick removal of waste.
4. CCF tea: Using a mortar and pestle, crush down equal quantities of coriander seeds, cumin seeds (jeera), and fennel seeds (saunf). Add a few black peppercorns. Make a coarse powder. Add a teaspoon of this to water and bring the mixture to a boil, let it simmer for 6-8 minutes. Drink this after meals when you feel bloated. You can store this powder in a glass container for months.
5. Relax: The mind has a direct role to play in digestion. If you’re angry, disturbed or just not paying attention to what you’re doing, muscles become tight, causing gas to remain trapped. You have to mentally relax yourself. Become more mindful of how you’re feeling so your mind can focus on one thing at a time.
“Bloating once in a while is all right, but if it occurs more than just occasionally, regardless of what you eat, get to the root cause of it. Work with a qualified healthcare professional,” Saluja concludes.