Bloated? Here’s what you need to know and 10 ways to beat the bloat

15th May, 2023
Bloating - Here's what you need to know and 10 ways to beat the bloat.

Ever feel like you’ve swallowed a balloon?

Bloating is a common tummy trouble that can make you feel pretty uncomfortable – and could even come with quite a lot of pain. Sure, a bit of bloating here and there is totally normal – especially after a big meal full of fibre – but there are things you can do to help beat the bloat!

For many of us, that bloated feeling is temporary and goes away on its own. But if your bloat just won’t go away, it’s best to check with your doctor or gut specialist to make sure everything’s OK

Read on to get to grips with the causes and our top tummy tips to tackle it.

What brings on bloating?

It can happen for all sorts of reasons. And, most of the time, there are a bunch of different factors going on – and you might have one or more triggers.

Things like eating too fast, eating a bit too much, or simply swallowing too much air, can all contribute to the bloat. Essentially, as your food is broken down, gas is produced. That’s where the trillions of microbes living in your tummy (aka the gut microbiome) come in again, as they give off gas when they feast on the fibre from your food.

And this gas can build up and get trapped in your tummy, creating extra pressure.

Here are a bunch of common bloating triggers

Wearing clothes that are too tight

Not getting enough exercise

Holding gas in

Stress and anxiety

Eating too fast

Eating too much in one sitting

Not drinking enough water



IBS (irritable bowel syndrome)


Not digesting and absorbing certain sugars well, like lactose or fructose (aka malabsorption)

SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth)


Premenstrual syndrome

Ehler’s Danlos Syndrome

Postural orthostatic             tachycardia syndrome


Bloating and malabsorption

Bloating can be triggered by malabsorption – and a common type is lactose malabsorption. This happens when you don’t have enough of the enzyme (lactase) to break down lactose (the sugar found in dairy foods). Without this lactase, lactose is fermented in your large intestine and can lead to bloating, as well as other tricky tummy symptoms.

Testing: A breath test can be done to find out if you’re not absorbing these specific sugars well, so you can try tweaking your diet to reduce bloating.

Are FODMAPs at fault?

Whether you have IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) or not, anyone can experience some bloating from certain types of foods. And the foods in focus are usually FODMAPs.

FODMAPs stands for “Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols”. They’re types of carbohydrates and they’re found in lots of healthy, nutritious foods, like onion, garlic, dairy and a variety of fruits.

They’re treated a little differently in our tummies because they’re highly fermentable. As a result, they can affect how your gut moves, as well as producing more gas and other chemicals.

If you have IBS and are suffering with symptoms, being careful with FODMAPs could help relieve bloating in the short-term. BUT before you go cutting out any individual items or whole food groups in a bid to battle bloating, a low-FODMAP diet should only ever be done with the help of a qualified nutrition pro (like a registered dietitian or registered nutritionist). That’s to make sure you’re not putting yourself at risk of any nutrition deficiencies that could lead to bigger problems.

And just be aware, bloating is not all down to your diet. Your lifestyle can play a big part too.

10 expert-backed tips to beat the bloat

The trick to take care of your tummy is to figure out your own triggers, so you can target them.

Here are some of the common methods that can help you beat the bloat, backed by our gut experts:


1. Loosen up your clothing

“Tight pants syndrome” is a thing! Wearing clothes that are a little too snug can compress your tummy, piling on the pressure and keeping that gas from going anywhere

2. Move your body

Exercising – whether it’s a power run or gentle yoga flow – can help you to move your digestion along and deflate. Even simply going for a walk after your meal can help wonders.

3. Heat it up

Try putting a hot water bottle or heat pad on your tummy to help relax those muscles and let gas move through.

4. Take a breath

Breathing exercises can help you de-stress and relieve bloating – and the beauty is, you can do this anywhere, any time. Simply take long deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth.

5. Stretch it out

Taking a little time to stretch out your body can help to move that trapped gas from your tummy into the world.

6. Chew, chew, chew

Take your time and chew each bite thoroughly, at least 20 times – this will make your food easier to digest an can help you prevent swallowing excess air. 

7. Split up your meals

Instead of having three large meals a day, try splitting it up into more frequent smaller meals to avoid the overload.

8. Get rid of the sugar-free gum

Foods labelled as ‘sugar-free’ are often packed with polyols – these are sneaky sugar alcohols that can trigger bloating. Look out for ingredients like mannitol, maltitol, sorbitol and xylitol (top trick: they usually end in ‘-ol’!)

9.Swap fruity smoothies for whole foods

Fruit contains a sugar called fructose – and having large amounts in one go can give you a hit of fructose your tummy can’t handle, especially if you have an intolerance. Switch up your smoothies and go for whole fruits in moderation instead.

10. Pop a probiotic

While it’s no magic fix, some probiotics have shown promising potential for helping people with IBS beat the bloat, by altering the mix of the microbes in your tummy. But full disclosure – we need more research to fully understand the effects and how to get the best benefit.

Probiotics aren’t made equal and it’s about finding the right one to match your symptoms. Check out our probiotic product reviews to find the best one for bloating.

Want to go beyond the basics? Keep reading to find out how tummy troubles like IBS, SIBO and more could be to blame…

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