Stomach bloating: How to avoid the afternoon bloat – key tips

Stomach bloating can be a daily struggle. The commonly reported complaint is a stretchy, puffy sensation in the tummy and abdominal cramps. People tend to experience tummy swelling after lunch – this can play havoc to the working week. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to counter this daytime disturbance.

Start by filling three-quarters of your plate with bloat-fighting insoluble fibres

Dr Oz

According to Dr Mehmet Oz, cardiac surgeon and host of The Dr. Oz Show, revising the lunch menu can help to avert the risk of bloating.

“Start by filling three-quarters of your plate with bloat-fighting insoluble fibres,” he said.

They are called insoluble, because they don’t take on water like soluble fibres.

As Dr Oz explained, foods rich in insoluble fibres add bulk, helping to push the food along the digestive tract which helps to prevent constipation and bloating.

“Insoluble fibres are found in foods like dark leafy greens, carrots, cucumbers, broccoli, nuts, and seeds,” said Dr Oz.

He also advised mixing in a few of these insoluble fibres with a prebiotic midmorning snack.

As he explained: “This is a great way to fill up, while avoiding the afternoon bloat as the fibres stimulate the peristaltic movements of the gut.

“The goal is to have a bowel movement in the afternoon to keep your belly flat and happy.”

He added: “The other quarter of your plate should be a clean, hormone-free, free-range, grass-fed, or wild-caught protein, along with a portion of healthy omega-3 fats; for example, avocados, olive oil, salmon, halibut, and sardines to name a few.”

According to medical site LiveStrong, people tend to eat too quickly over lunch due to limited time. This can cause a person to swallow too much air – a common trigger of bloating.

The stress of the working day may also spill over into lunch. Stress can increase air intake too.

As Dr Sarah Brewer, medical director of Healthspan explained, hyperventilation or breathing heavily – products of stress and anxiety – can cause a person to take in too much oxygen, which lead to stomach bloating.

Dr Diana Gall advised trying to slow down breathing to prevent excess air getting in and bloating in the stomach.

Breathing exercises can also help a person to calm down and improve the condition of their gut, she said.

According to the NHS, other simple tips to reduce air intake include:

  • Not talking and eating at the same time
  • Sitting down to eat (sitting upright and not slumped over) Reducing fizzy drink consumption
  • Stopping chewing gum and chewing with the mouth closed
  • Going for a walk after lunch is another great way to unwind and banish the bloat before heading back to work.

As Niket Sonpal, M.D., associate program director of the Internal Medicine Residency at Brookdale Hospital Medical Center in Brooklyn explained: “Taking a walk after meals helps your abdominal muscles contract and expel the air.”

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