Easy Ways to Live Well: Steph McGovern discusses bloating
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Stomach bloating can be an isolating experience because it’s often shrugged off as not serious but it can be life-limiting for the person affected. Painful stomach cramps and a stretched tummy can diminish one’s quality of life. What’s more, if omitting certain foods does not help, the situation can feel desperate.
If subtracting items from your diet doesn’t help, you may need to add some instead.
Research published in the journal Springer Link suggests the herbal medicine Carmint can help relieve bloating symptoms.
Carmint is a herbal medicine which contains total extracts of three medicinal plants: Melissa officinalis, Mentha spicata, and Coriandrum sativum.
Abdominal pain/discomfort and bloating are commonly observed in patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) – a common condition that affects the digestive system.
Researchers in the study sought to evaluate the effectiveness of Carmint in relieving these symptoms in irritable bowel syndrome patients.
They randomly assigned 32 irritable bowel syndrome patients to receive either Carmint or placebo, for eight weeks.
An analysis of the results showed that the severity and frequency of abdominal pain/discomfort were significantly lower in the Carmint group than the placebo group at the end of the treatment.
The severity and frequency of bloating was also reduced.
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Other key tips to alleviate bloating
Another handy tip to relieve stomach bloating is to balance your gut bacteria.
Friendly bacteria may help by curbing bacteria populations that are associated with bloating, according to a study in Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics.
In addition to a high-fibre diet, fermented foods and drinks, such as kefir and sauerkraut, are a helpful source of beneficial bacteria for the gut.
There are also habits that can exacerbate stomach bloating so are best to be avoided.
According to Holland and Barrett, you should Avoid swallowing extra air.
You can do this by:
- Cutting back on chewing gum
- Avoiding fizzy drinks
- Eat and drink more slowly
- Don’t smoke – when you inhale, you also swallow air
- Avoid wearing loose-fitting dentures.
If your bloating is triggered by a food intolerance, additional measures may be required.
A food intolerance is difficulty digesting certain foods and having an unpleasant physical reaction to them.
According to the NHS, a food intolerance can lead to bloating when:
- Your bowel does not empty properly
- The food causes gas to be trapped
- Too much gas is produced as a reaction to the food.
“The most common foods to cause problems are wheat or gluten and dairy products,” explains the health body.
The best approach if you have a food intolerance is to eat less of the problem food or cut it out completely.
As the NHS explains, keeping a food diary for a couple of weeks can aid this approach.
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