10 Tips to Avoid Feeling Bloated & Gassy
By Samina Qureshi
Gut Health Registered Dietitian
Do you struggle with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and find it difficult to meet your fiber needs?
If so, you’re not alone. Many people with IBS experience uncomfortable digestive symptoms, particularly when consuming high-fiber foods. But fear not! There are ways to reduce gas and bloating when eating such foods.
Before we dive into the tips, let’s talk about why fiber is so important for those with IBS.
Fiber is an essential part of a healthy diet, as it helps regulate digestion and keeps our bowels moving. It also feeds the good bacteria (probiotics) in our gut, which in turn helps to strengthen our immune system and prevent disease. However, for those with IBS, consuming too much fiber at once can cause uncomfortable bloating, gas, and even abdominal pain.
Now, let’s dive into some tips to help you reduce gas and bloating:
1. Start Slow and Steady
If you’re new to consuming high-fiber foods or have been avoiding them due to IBS symptoms, it’s important to start slow and steady. Start with small servings of preferably low FODMAP soluble fiber-rich foods and gradually increase the amount over a couple of weeks. This will help prevent overwhelming your digestive system and reduce symptoms.
2. Drink Plenty of Water
Drinking plenty of water is essential when consuming high-fiber foods. Staying hydrated helps to soften stools and allows them to move through the digestive system more easily. It also helps to prevent constipation, which can exacerbate IBS symptoms of gas and bloating. You can assess your personal hydration status by looking at the color of your urine throughout the day. Your goal is to have light lemonade yellow urine to best support your digestive system and overall health.
3. Choose the Right Types of Fiber
Not all fibers are created equal, and some may be more problematic for those with IBS. Insoluble fibers can be more difficult to digest and may exacerbate symptoms. On the other hand, soluble fibers may be easier to digest and can help you have more formed and smooth bowel movements. Focus on consuming more low FODMAP soluble fibers to reduce bloating and gas.
4. Adjust the Texture of Food
Raw vegetables are great for you, but they can also be tough to digest. Cooking your veggies can help to break down the fibers, making them easier to digest. Try roasting, steaming, or sautéing your veggies or other fiber-rich foods to put less pressure on your digestive system. You can also try pureeing, making smoothies, soups, and strews to break down the fibers and make them easier to digest.
5. Chew Your Food Thoroughly
Did you know digestion actually begins in your mouth? There’s a physical breakdown of food from chewing and enzyme released in your saliva known and salivary amylase that helps to break down carbohydrates you consume. Chewing your food thoroughly is a simple yet effective way to “predigest” food and reduce gas and bloating. Take your time when eating and aim to chew until your food is “pureed” or apple sauce consistency.
6. Avoid Carbonated Drinks
Carbonated drinks can contribute to gas and bloating, especially when consumed with high-fiber foods. Stick to still water or herbal tea instead of carbonated beverages. If you want to switch it up, try adding some slices of fresh fruit or herbs to your water for a fun and flavorful twist.
7. Take a Walk After Eating
Taking a short walk after eating can help to stimulate digestion and help relieve gas pressure and bloating. Walking helps to move food through the digestive system more quickly, preventing it from sitting in your gut and causing discomfort. Plus, it’s a great way to get some fresh air, enjoy nature, and stretch your legs.
8. Make Room For Balance
We know that fiber is good for your digestive and overall health but sometimes too much of a good thing can backfire! Try not to overload your plate with fiber-rich foods. Make room for balance on your plate with a source of fiber, carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fat.
9. Practice Mindful Eating
Practicing mindful eating can help you tune into your body’s signals and eat until comfortably full and satisfied. Before eating, take a few deep breaths and tune into your body’s hunger cues. Eat slowly, savoring each bite, and stop when you feel comfortably full and satisfied. Of course this is easier said than done. If you need help with mindful eating habits, reach out for help.
Reducing gas and bloating when consuming fiber-rich foods can be a challenge, but with the right strategies, it’s possible to enjoy these nutritious foods without discomfort. Remember to start slow and steady, drink plenty of water, choose the right types of fiber, and practice mindful eating. And don’t forget to have fun! Experiment with new recipes and try new foods to keep things exciting and enjoyable.
By incorporating these tips into your routine, you can manage your IBS symptoms and enjoy a healthy, fiber-rich diet. Don’t let IBS hold you back from enjoying delicious and nutritious foods. With a little effort and experimentation, you can find what works best for your body and live your best life.
If you’re sick of unpredictable IBS flares, you’re not alone! I’ve put together this free guide to help you find relief from bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation and stomach pain in 5 easy steps!
Follow me on Instagram for more tips and tricks to find relief from your uncomfortable gut symptoms without a side of diet culture.
Samina Qureshi is a registered dietitian who specializes in helping people who struggle with disordered eating and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) find relief and nourish their bodies without rigid diets, stress, guilt, or food shame. She encourages her clients to care of their health in a way that best honors their lifestyle, unique needs, and cultural traditions and provides weight-inclusive patient-centered care.