By Dr. Josh Axe
Occasional bloating, along with occasional constipation which is often related, is one of the most common digestive topics that many adults want answers for.
What helps relieve occasional bloating? Bloating in and of itself is not unusual from time to time and often goes away when someone generally focuses on their digestion, clears up constipation and makes improvements to their diet.
Sometimes it’s a matter of eliminating problematic foods from your diet, such as FODMAP carbohydrates or added sugar, plus certain supplements such as probiotics and enzymes can often help too.
If you’re interested in how to get ahead of that occasional bloating using dietary changes and supplements, we’ve got plenty of action steps for you below.
What Is Bloating?
Bloating describes abdominal distension; it’s mostly caused by air becoming stuck around your abdomen, making it stick outward. It doesn’t necessarily indicate weight gain around the belly, although it can feel that way.
Occasional bloating can be caused by a variety of factors:
- overall gut health
- gut transit time (occasional constipation)
- one’s diet (especially one high in certain types of carbohydrates and added sugars)
- high levels of stress
- alcohol consumption
- thyroid or hormonal function
Sometimes it’s also triggered by issues such as food intolerances or an overall gut microbe imbalance.
Foods that Can Cause Bloating
Bloating can be affected by someone’s ability to digest and metabolize foods, and how well they can eliminate waste regularly (in other words, how often they go to the bathroom).
Dietary factors that can contribute to occasional bloating include:
- Low intake of probiotic food or probiotics, which help to maintain a healthy balance of gut bacteria in the microbiome. In the digestive tract, there are trillions of healthy and unhealthy microbes that compete with one another, and when “bad guy bacteria” outweigh the good types, this can lead to digestive impacts including occasional bloating and gas.
- Not breaking down sugars and carbohydrates fully. Certain complex sugar compounds need the presence of enzymes to be digested fully, yet people can be lacking these enzymes. This can lead to some carbs becoming fermented in the gut, which produces gas as a byproduct.
- Inadequate protein digestion, causing some protein foods to ferment in the gut.
What foods cause the most bloating?
- Gluten-containing foods and refined grain products (most bread, pasta, rolls, cereals, etc.)
- Certain kinds of carbohydrates called FODMAPs (fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols) that can be hard to break down. Note that FODMAPs are not necessarily unhealthy foods — for example, beans and avocados are high FODMAP foods — however, everyone is unique in terms of tolerability for these carbs. Examples of FODMAPs include broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, onion, garlic, beans and legumes.
- Potential food allergies or sensitivities, such as gluten, dairy, shellfish, nuts and eggs
- Sugar and sweetened snacks
- Sweetened dairy products and desserts
- Carbonated drinks
- Chewing gum
- In some cases, certain types of fermentable fruit, including apples, peaches/other stone fruit and avocados
- Artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols — these include aspartame, sorbitol, mannitol and xylitol
Best Supplements for Occasional Bloating
How do you help debloat your gut using supplements?
The reason that certain supplements, such as probiotics and digestive enzymes, can help to reduce occasional gassiness or bloat is because they assist in increasing the number of good bacteria in your gut, help properly break down foods, promote gut lining integrity, and support healthy, regular elimination.
Here’s more specifics about how to reduce occasional bloating using some helpful supplements:
These “good guy bacteria” act like friendly gut bugs in your digestive tract, competing with “bad guy” bacteria that can trigger digestive issues. SBO Probiotics offer benefits including support for healthy immune system function, nutrient absorption, elimination and digestive health.
Soil-based organism probiotics (SBO) are the types that generally have the ability to survive harsh conditions in the GI tract — this way they can actually make it to parts of your gut where they can go to work. You’ll find these hardy microbes in Ancient Nutrition's SBO Probiotics Gut Restore formula and SBO Probiotics Ultimate formula.
Try making probiotics a consistent part of your wellness routine by taking two SBO probiotics capsules on an empty stomach, either when you first wake up or right before bed. Always be sure to read and follow label directions for use.
Candida is a normal yeast found in the gut; however, like anything else, it can get out of balance, so you want to keep its levels healthy in your gut.
Ancient Herbals Candida capsules feature a combination of probiotic ingredients, as well as specially selected herbs (such as Pau d’Arco Bark and astragalus root) plus organic turkey tail mushroom to help maintain an overall healthy gut.
This multi-functional herbal formula offers several benefits for general gut health — including support for a healthy response to inflammation and healthy immune system function, support for healthy elimination and gut microflora balance, and a reduction in occasional diarrhea, constipation, gas and bloating.
We recommend taking two capsules daily with water or your favorite beverage. Always follow the label directions.
Collagen is a structural protein that contributes to a healthy intestinal barrier by creating the foundation for healthy connective tissues. Consuming collagen supplements provides you with amino acids that help promote gut lining integrity, such as glycine, proline and arginine.
Ancient Nutrition’s Multi Collagen Gut Restore formula provides you with collagen from four sources, including wild-caught pollock, bovine, chicken and egg shell membrane collagen, so you don't have to choose between the different types of collagen. Something else that sets it apart from other collagen powders is that it provides 2 billion CFUs* (*at time of manufacture) of soil-based organism (SBO) probiotics and two forms of glutamine to support gut microflora balance.
This non-GMO and gluten-free formula also contains no fillers, sugar, artificial flavors or artificial preservatives, ensuring you get the highest quality collagen available.
Our Gut Restore formula has a lemon ginger flavor that mixes well into water or smoothies. You can also try mixing unflavored collagen powder into coffee, smoothies, oatmeal, baked goods, soups, and many other recipes. Aim to consume between 1–3 servings daily, or about 10 to 30 grams of collagen protein. Always read and follow label directions for use.
Digestive enzymes help to ensure that the foods you’re eating are digested properly, which generally supports a healthy gut microflora, a healthy gastrointestinal tract and a healthy immune system.
Ancient Nutrition’s Digestive Enzymes features a powerful fermented botanical blend of enzymes (such as cellulase, amylase, protease, lipase and more) plus a probiotic and prebiotic blend for extra gut support.
We recommend gradually working your way up to taking 3 capsules daily — one at the beginning of each meal. Please see label directions for suggested use.
Foods that May Reduce Bloating
What foods get rid of bloating? To help with constipation and keep things moving smoothly, the goal should be to eat a high-fiber diet, aiming for about 25–30 grams every day or even more if you can tolerate it.
Consuming enough fiber isn’t too difficult when you eat plenty of whole and unprocessed foods, especially fresh and cooked veggies, leafy greens, fruits like berries and apples, nuts and seeds, and avocado, coconut, legumes and ancient grains if they agree with you. It’s helpful to keep a food journal and track your progress after eating certain foods to determine if they impact bloating,
Here’s how to help get rid of bloating by making some other changes to your diet:
1. Up your probiotic intake
You can take probiotic supplements, but acquiring them from natural probiotic foods is also a good idea, such as kimchi, sauerkraut, yogurt, kefir and kombucha.
2. Eat more fruits and veggies
These provide you with fiber, water, key electrolytes and beneficial enzymes that can help relieve stomach bloating. Try eating more raw or cooked leafy greens, cucumber, fennel, artichoke, melon, berries, steamed veggies like carrots and celery, and cultured/fermented vegetables.
3. Consume herbs and spices
Natural digestion-soothing herbs like ginger, dandelion, aloe vera and fennel have been used for thousands of years to soothe an occasionally bloated belly.
Many herbs help the body release extra fluid, while others such as ginger and peppermint can have a relaxing effect on the muscles in the digestive tract, which helps soothe the gut. Try eating fresh-ground herbs of all kinds (parsley, oregano, rosemary, etc.) and sipping on herbal teas made with mint, ginger and turmeric.
Of course, you should always consult your healthcare professional prior to starting any new dietary or lifestyle regimen, including supplementation.
Dr. Josh Axe, DC, DNM, CNS, is a doctor of chiropractic, doctor of natural medicine, clinical nutritionist and author with a passion to help people get well using food and nutrition. He operates leading natural health website DrAxe.com and is co-founder of Ancient Nutrition, a health supplement company. He’s also author of the books Eat Dirt, Essential Oils: Ancient Medicine, Keto Diet, Collagen Diet and the newly published Ancient Remedies.