A few weeks ago, a friend shared some embarrassing stories about her troubles with gas and bloating. In line with Murphy's Law, the embarrassment usually came on at the most inconvenient time — at her 2 p.m. staff meeting.
My first thought was that she was might be eating an unhealthy lunch, but she assured me she always eats salad and washes it down with plenty of water. For a moment, I was left scratching my head. Then, the light bulb went off, and I asked how much water she was drinking; and the problem was revealed. She was drinking two 16-ounce bottles of water, which is way too much.
I know what you're thinking: We're always told we need to drink more water; now you're telling me to cut back? Well, not exactly. You should meet your daily water requirements, but try to drink sparingly at meal times.
The body relies on stomach acids to digest your food. When you drink too much, you dilute those acids, making them less potent, which means food is less efficiently broken down. Gas and bloating inevitably result.
Here are a few more tips to avoid gas and bloating:
- Slow down. You might be hungry, but shoveling food in your mouth will cause you to gulp down more air, which can lead to gas and bloating.
- Opt for water instead of soda, or any other carbonated beverage. The carbonation just adds unnecessary air into your digestive tract.
- Drink a bottle of water about an hour before each meal to hold off thirst while you're eating.
- At and around mealtimes, drink just enough to help your food go down. Drink in small sips, not large gulps, which can dilute your stomach acids, along with adding more air into your digestive system.
- Consider taking probiotic supplements, or eating more probiotic-containing yogurt. Probiotics help restore the balance between good and bad bacteria in your gut, which can get your digestive system back on track.
Healthy Bites appears on MyHealthNewsDaily on Wednesdays. Deborah Herlax Enos is a certified nutritionist and a health coach and weight loss expert in the Seattle area with more than 20 years of experience. Read more tips on her blog, Health in a Hurry!
Maria is our expert for medicine, fitness and general health. Her contributions are particularly convincing through completeness, accuracy and her own personal experience. Maria also writes for other health magazines, which has enabled her to build up her expert status.