Ah, the bloat. Not only is it uncomfortable, it can cause your belly to bulge. And, of course, a swollen belly just won’t look flat thus negating all that dieting and exercising. Just what is belly bloat and how can you get rid of it?
Abdominal bloating, or belly bloat, is a condition in with the belly (abdomen) feels full and tight. The belly may look swollen or distended.
Bloating can also be embarrassing, especially when the gases in your belly decide to announce their presence via noise or some other way. However, unless you have a medical condition, bloating is not a serious condition and can be treated with a number of natural remedies.
How Belly Bloat Almost Caused a Champion His Title
During a Mr. Olympia contest (a professional bodybuilding competition for those who don’t know), the defending champion Ronnie Coleman appeared in the preliminary rounds. All the championship muscles were there. And Ronnie was huge with muscle density and maturity you don’t always see even among elite bodybuilders. But he had a distended belly. Courtesy of belly bloat.
It appeared like Ronnie (I like to call him by his first name) was going to lose his title that night, due to that protruding tummy. But he later showed up looking incredibly conditioned, the bulge gone. A belly bloat could have cost him his championship. How did he resolve the problem?
If my recall is right, Ronnie, said he went to back to his room and drunk a full gallon of water, and took a nap.
Avoiding Abdominal Bloating
The first defense and best against belly bloat is to avoid getting one in the first place. Knowing what might cause it is important, so you know what to avoid. Causes are myriad, and depend on the individual therefore some self-awareness is called for.
As with virtually every kind of pain or discomfort, if it’s persistent or excessive, seek medical attention. If you get a feeling that you might need medical attention, don’t ignore. It is beyond the scope of this post to list possible medical causes abdominal bloating.
Virtually everyone experiences bloating from at one point or another. Some causes including overeating, stress, insufficient chewing, intolerance to certain foods or medication, and dehydration. Let’s now look at some ways of avoiding the bloat.
Drink Plenty of Water
This may sound counter-intuitive, as water is (often erroneously) linked to abdominal bloating. As in the story of Ronnie Coleman above, dehydration could be cause for abdominal bloating. When your body senses it is not getting enough water, it may hold water, which can result in bloating.
Drinking plenty of water – most experts recommend 8 glasses a day – can also help in elimination. Constipation is a cause for bloating.
Cut Back or Eliminate Carbonated Drinks
The fizz in carbonated drinks is a big part of their appeal. But it can cause gas to get trapped in your belly, resulting in bloating. Go for good old-fashioned water. You can flavor it with lemon, lime, and/or honey. And, by the way, these natural “sweeteners” are natural remedies for belly bloat by themselves.
Eat Slowly and Chew Properly
Eating too fast and not properly chewing your food can cause swallowing of gas-producing air. Slow down, enjoy your food, and chew it well.
Watch for Certain Vegetables and Legumes
Beans, though healthy, have a notorious reputation for causing stomach gas. But they can affect some people more than others. If you happen to have a lower tolerance for these or any other legume or vegetable, you may want to cut back or eliminate them.
Increase Meal Frequency and Decrease Volume
Eating smaller meals spread out through the day can not only help reduce belly bloating, but aid in weight loss. Eat five to six small meals a day. And, of course, make them healthy.
Top 7 Natural Remedies for Belly Bloat
Following are natural ways and remedies to flush belly bloat. Not surprisingly, the remedies may also offer relief for various digestive tract issues.
1. Water with lemon: Drinking warm water with juice of one lemon can help flush belly bloat. You can also add a little cayenne pepper which can give it a little extra (and beneficial) kick, as the pepper is linked to digestive tract stimulation.
2. Probiotics: Probiotics help restore bacterial balance. By contributing to healthy intestinal flora balance, they may help reduce stomach bloating. However, not all probiotics are effective and you should be careful when buying probiotic supplements. Don’t forget prebiotics as well, as probiotics need these to live.
3. Charcoal: As a remedy for intestinal gas and other tummy issues, charcoal dates all the way back to the days of Hippocrates. One quart of charcoal will absorb eighty quarts of ammonia gas. Activated charcoal in pill form is available in health stores as well as aisles of pharmacy and grocery stores.
4. Cinnamon: Used as a remedy for stomach upset for centuries, cinnamon is a superfood with a myriad of benefits. Cinnamon can help in elimination of intestinal gas, thus providing relief for belly bloat. Add one teaspoon of cinnamon to a glass of boiling water and then drink (wait for it to cool first!). You can add honey for flavor and additional benefit.
5. Peppermint tea or oil: Regarded as one of the world’s oldest medicines, peppermint (Mentha piperita) has been used as an effective remedy for bloating and other digestive issues. It may prevent and treat bloating by stimulating the digestive tract to work more efficiently.
6. Ginger: One of the most versatile herbs on earth, ginger (Zingiber officinale) is widely used as a spice or folk medicine. It may help alleviate gas, bloating and cramps. Phenolic compounds in ginger, such as gingerol as well as other oils, are responsible for ginger’s digestive benefits.
7. Eat potassium-rich foods: Potassium helps regulate fluid balance in your body. One of the benefits of this important mineral is that it keeps the fluid balance between interstitial fluids and cells in check, which may help avoid water retention. Potassium-rich foods include dark leafy greens, potatoes, squash, yogurt, avocados, fish, mushrooms, and bananas.
 A Woman’s Complete Guide to Natural Health by Lynne Paige Walker, Ellen Hodgson Brown