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Do you feel Bloated after Eating?

Posted 6 years ago by Sarah

It seems that a lot of bloating sufferers complain of feeling particularly bloated following a meal.  Here I'd like to set out natural remedies particularly targeted at these people who sit down to eat, and don't only feel full afterwards, but overly full, or swollen like a balloon. 

Firstly, it is important to ask yourself why you are bloating.  Let's quickly explore three possible causes for the bloating, before we move on to talk about what you can do for it. 

1. Overeating

A lot of people who talk about 'bloating' have actually overeaten, and simply feel too full.  Of course different people will require different amounts of fuel, depending on factors such as size and weight, metabolism, and how much exercise they do.  If you're not sure how much you should be eating, think about seeing a nutritionist, or even talking to your GP about it.   

However a clue can be in asking yourself 'what do I mean by 'bloating'?' On this site we tend to discuss bloating which refers to an unusually swollen and stretched abdominal area.  When you are suffering from bloating, the stomach feels like it is gassy (whether or not you also have flatulence), and it feels like the skin is stretched, and tight.  People who are bloated often say they feel that their stomach is 'balloon like'.  This is different to the sensation of eating too much and feeling unusually full, or fat!  

For a better understanding of what we mean by 'bloating', read 'What is Bloating'. 

Overeating or Bloated?

You should be able to tell the difference between feeling too full and feeling bloated.

2. Food intolerance

If you suffer from digestive complaints every time you eat a certain food or food ingredient, you might well have a food intolerance.  It sounds obvious, I know, but a huge amount of people fail to recognise their food intolerances before visiting their doctor, who then prompts them to really sit down and think about what they've eaten the last few times they felt ill.  

If you suspect food intolerance, a nice and easy first step is to try out a Food Diary - writing down which foods you are eating every day.  You might be surprised to see an obvious correlation between a food and bloating after meals!  Unfortunately, when it comes to bloating, there can be some common criminals like gluten.  Don't start drastically cutting out foods from your diet without seeing a health practitioner first, but it certainly wouldn't hurt to cut down on foods which you are sure to be causing you trouble. For example, if you think wheat might be the culprit, swap your morning toast for porridge every now and then - which tends to be very low on gluten (or you can buy a gluten free porridge) - and see how you feel on your toast-free days.

3. Bloating due to your period

Even menstrual bloating can present itself in particular after meals - as the digestive system is so close to the womb where hormones may be running wild! Nutritionist Lorna Driver-Davies from the Nutricentre wrote a brilliant piece about menstrual bloating.  And the lovely naturopath Lou Bowler also wrote a blogpost about bloating around your period here.  Be sure to take a look at both of those articles if you feel that your bloating occurs after meals, but only once a month or so, around the time of your period. They include plenty of practical tips to help the body naturally eliminate unwanted or excess hormones. 

What to do if you're bloating after meals

If you still feel bloated after eating, and don't feel that it's due to any of the above, your digestive system may simply need a helping hand. 

Short term solutions

Try eating 'carminitives' before, during and after your meals to help aid digestion and prevent the production of gas.  Carminatives are herbs, spices and food ingredients, some of which you most probably have lying around the house; such as cardomom, cinnamon, parsley, peppermint and sage.  You could also try herbal teas if you find these easier.  A good tip is to use two tea bags at a time in order to strengthen the tea.  Both Brendan and guest author Megan have mentioned carminatives before; its worth taking a look at: Ayurverdic remedies for bloating, and Herbal remedies for bloating


Long term solutions

If you constantly feel bloated after eating, something needs to change. Take a holistic approach and ask yourself when your bloated started.  It might be down to psychological symptoms such as stress (more on that here) or it might be ever since you took a course of antibiotics months or even years ago.   Often this is the reason for digestive troubles; people I speak to may have caught a tummy bug years ago, or taken a strong course of antibiotics, and have never felt the same since.  If this is the case, there's surely an imbalance in your gut's good and bad bacteria (this is known as 'dysbiosis').  

Take a high quality probiotic supplement like 'For a flat stomach' by OptiBac to re-balance your body's natural gut flora.  If it has been going on for years, it's well worth investing in a long term probiotic for at least a few months - either take the 'flat stomach' one daily for some time, or take one of their daily products for a longer lasting (and slightly better value solution).

If you try any of the suggestions above, please let us know how you get on!  

About Sarah

Sarah Newcombe is a freelance health writer with a particular interest in complimentary and natural health.

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