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Beat the bloat - Eat well

Get rid of bloating by cutting out fizzy drinks and foods that cause wind. Sit down to eat and exercise regularly.

Most of us have experienced the feeling of being bloated, when your tummy is stretched, puffy and uncomfortable. It often happens after a big weekend or over a festive season.

But if you are experiencing persistent bloating, it may be caused by a digestive problem or issues with your diet.

If your tummy often feels bloated, it could be due to:

Excess wind and bloating

Cut down on foods known to cause wind and bloating, such as:

  • beans
  • onions
  • broccoli
  • cabbage
  • sprouts
  • cauliflower

But make sure you still eat 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day.

Constipation and bloating

If you get constipation, take steps to prevent it by adding more fibre to your diet, drinking lots of fluids and exercising regularly. Even a 20 to 30 minute brisk walk 4 times a week can improve your bowel function.

Find out more about how to eat more fibre.

Swallowing air and bloating

Try not to swallow too much air. Do not talk and eat at the same time, sit down to eat (sitting upright and not slumped over), reduce the amount of fizzy drinks you consume, stop chewing gum and chew with your mouth closed so that you're not taking in excess air.

Food intolerance and bloating

Food intolerance can lead to bloating when:

  • your bowel does not empty properly
  • the food causes gas to be trapped
  • too much gas is produced as a reaction to the food

The most common foods to cause problems are wheat or gluten and dairy products.

The best approach if you have a food intolerance is to eat less of the problem food or cut it out completely.

Keep a food diary for a couple of weeks, noting everything that you eat and drink and when bloating troubles you most. But do not get rid of food groups long-term without advice from your GP.

Find out whether you should cut out bread to stop bloating.

Find out more about food intolerance.

Coeliac disease and bloating

Coeliac disease is a common digestive condition where your intestine cannot absorb gluten found in wheat, barley and rye.

If you have Coeliac disease, eating foods containing gluten can also trigger diarrhoea, abdominal pain and fatigue.

See your GP if you suspect you may have Coeliac disease.

There is no cure for Coeliac disease but, once the condition has been diagnosed, switching to a gluten-free diet should help.

Find out more about Coeliac disease.

Irritable bowel syndrome and bloating

People with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) often complain of bloating, especially in the evening.

The bloating of IBS does not seem to be linked with excess wind. It's thought to be down to erratic propulsion of contents through the bowel.

Find out more about IBS.

When to see a doctor

If your bloating symptoms persist, consult your GP to rule out a more serious condition. Bloating and a persistent feeling of fullness are key symptoms of ovarian cancer.

Find out more about what to eat to help your digestion.

Page last reviewed: 28 August 2019
Next review due: 28 August 2022