Stomach bloating can be attributed to a number of causes but a buildup of gas is the primary culprit. When too much gas fills up your digestive tract, it finds extra capacity in your belly. While this is the digestive system’s natural way of accommodating wind, the results can be painful.
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Most people will be all too familiar with stomach cramps and the swelling that follows.
To curb bloating, the first port of call is to temporarily cut out foods known to cause wind.
The worst offenders are:
Simply eliminating windy foods may not get to the heart of the issue, however.
Additional interventions may be required – if so, research makes a strong case for trying caraway supplements.
Caraway is a unique spice long used in cooking and herbal medicine.
When used medicinally, caraway can be made into a tea or taken as a supplement.
A handful of small human studies show that caraway oil supplements relax your digestive tract’s smooth muscle tissue, thus relieving indigestion symptoms like gas, cramping, and bloating.
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Although the precise mechanism is unknown, research suggests its antimicrobial capacity may be responsible.
One test-tube study revealed that caraway essential oil blocked the growth of harmful gut bacteria while leaving beneficial bacteria untouched.
These good bacteria have been shown to produce nutrients, reduce inflammation, improve digestion, and support your immune health.
Another test-tube study found that caraway extract fought H. pylori, a bacterium known to cause stomach ulcers and digestive inflammation.
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If the problem persists, it is worth investigating the underlying cause of your bloating.
You may have an intolerance to certain foods, for example.
According to the NHS, 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
One of the most common food groups to cause problems is wheat, according to Isabel Skypala PhD, specialist allergy dietitian at the Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust.
According to Skypala, allergy is unlikely to be the culprit, but bread-related symptoms are real, and wheat could be to blame.
“Some people find certain foods are simply hard to digest, and wheat appears to be one of those,” she explained.
If you have bloating or other minor symptoms after eating bread, for example, Dr Skypala recommended trying an elimination diet.
“This is where you completely cut out wheat from your diet for four weeks, then gradually bring it back in to see if symptoms reappear,” she said.
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