Tips to manage bloating and wind

by Leanne Ward

I get some many questions about wind and bloating that I thought I would write a few tips for you guys below. To be honest, they are both a part of a healthy digestive system (yes even women fart!) but when they start to impact on your daily life, prevent you from socialising etc or cause you regular distress – this is when I generally recommend trying some of the tips below.

 It’s best to try just one or two things at a time rather than everything as you may end up with quite a restrictive diet and you won’t know which things have helped and which things haven’t. My biggest tip is probably to just do a general diet clean up first. I find in 50% of my patients, just removing things like excessive caffeine/alcohol/sugary drinks & fatty takeaways can make the world of difference to most peoples symptoms. If your diet is high in processed foods and low in salad and vegetables, this could be a good place to start. If your diet is pretty healthy to begin with, consider some of the below strategies.Also, I find that people who suffer from bloating and wind do better with regular meals rather than constantly grazing through out the day.

Below are my top tips to manage wind and bloating:

  • Chew your food well and eat slowly. If you gulp your food then you’re more likely to take in air which can contribute to bloating.
  • Don’t use a straw – sip your fluid slowly (using a straw can draw in more air and create more gas – it also causes you to drink faster).
  • Limit fruit to 2 portions a day (remove dried fruit and fruit juice) – the simple sugars in fruit can be poorly digested in some people.
  • Eat the recommended ‘5 serves a day’ for vegetables. In some people who don’t get enough fibre, they can become constipated which can cause symptoms such as bloating and wind when things aren’t moving through properly.  If you find you are constipated, slowly increase your fibre intake and aim for 25-30g per day.**Note: if increasing your vegetable/salad intake makes your bloating or wind worse, try reducing “windy” types of veggies such as cabbage, beans, lentils, broccoli, brussel sprouts and cauliflower.
  • Try reducing your intake of resistant starches (eg. Cooked and cooled pasta and potato, chickpeas, freekeh, ripe bananas).
  • Try reducing your intake of sugar alcohols (eg. Most products listed as ‘sugar free’) – these artificial sugars are poorly digested in most people (eg. those sugar free mints or diet coke!)
  • Try reducing your intake of carbonated drinks – the more bubbles, the more gas!
  • Try rolled oats, chia seeds and golden linseeds in your breakfast – these may also help with symptoms of wind and bloating.
  • Try sipping on peppermint tea
  • Try reducing the portion sizes of your meals. If you eat large meals then you will likely always feel bloated afterwards.
  • Avoid excessive caffeine/alcohol/sugary drinks/fatty takeaways – the body struggles to digest and break these down
  • If you find that milk, yoghurt and ice-cream give you symptoms of wind, bloating and diarrhoea, trial lactose free variates.
  • Try increasing your exercise – the more you move the better things move through your bowel!
  • Try live ‘probiotic’ yoghurts, supplements or fermented milk drinks (seek professional advice for specific types)
  • If you have any red flags consult your GP immediately: blood in your stools, unexplained weight loss, night sweats, a family history of bowel or ovarian cancer or a change in bowel habit to looser and/or more frequent stools for more than 6 weeks.
  • If all else fails – consult a professional! Find a local dietitian in your area who specialises in gut health to talk you through some targeted interventions. (ps.. No – sorry I don’t offer private or online consults). Speak to your GP to find a local dietitian in your area.

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