Bloating 101: What to Know & How to Help Banish It
Plus the brands working to ease digestive pain.
Feeling bloated is the worst. And unfortunately, it's also extremely common. (At least, if you're prone to bloating, know you're not alone!) In fact, according to Dr. Roshini Raj, gastroenterologist and co-founder of probiotic-enriched skin-care brand Tula, bloating is one of the most common reasons people visit gastroenterologists. Another, more anecdotal way to know how widespread bloating is? Just look at the ever-growing landscape of products coming out to address this digestive discomfort.
So, first things first: What's actually going on when you're bloated? Bloating, Dr. Raj explains, refers to "the sensation of swelling or distension in the abdomen and is caused by too much gas or air in your digestive system. Many foods and drinks can cause bloating, as well as food intolerances. Conditions like celiac or IBS are also causes of bloating." According to Tamar Samuels, registered dietitian and co-founder of Culina Health, common modern habits may also contribute to an increased frequency in bloating. "Our eating habits—eating too fast, grazing or eating throughout the day, skipping meals, overeating, and eating late at night can also have a big impact on our digestion and can cause a number of uncomfortable symptoms like bloating."
The first step if you're struggling with chronic bloating is to try to figure out why—and this can entail working with a gastroenterologist, a nutritionist, or other specialists. "Bloating is an issue that is best treated with a holistic approach," explains herbalist Jessa Blades. "Start by looking at the foods you are eating. Next up, we want to look at how we can heal gut issues. Adding bone broth to the diet and pre- and probiotic foods (leeks, onions, asparagus, and fermented foods) can all help."
Still, if you're prone to bloating, you probably know that every now and then you'll need a little extra support. Below, discover some of the brands working to ease digestive pain—and reduce the stigma that sometimes surrounds issues like bloating.
Debloat is a twice-a-day supplement (every day, not just as needed) that uses a proprietary combination of 17 digestive enzymes and Ayurvedic herbs. Digestive enzymes, founder Jules Miller explains, are "proteins that regulate the chemical reactions the body uses to digest food." This product also blends organic cinnamon, ginger, and tumeric, all of which have been widely used in Eastern medicine for thousands of years and are believed to be anti-inflammatory.
Digestive Enzyme Complex
The Confidence Co offers portable packs of their capsules featuring digestive enzymes, which are meant to be taken before meals. The company recommends taking one capsule with smaller meals and two capsules with larger meals—though they note that many users take three a day to start. Founder and holistic health coach Lexi Aiassa explains: "Digestive enzymes break down food to help your body absorb essential nutrients from foods and other supplements. Our bodies naturally produce digestive enzymes—however, as we age or experience stress, our enzyme levels decrease, causing indigestion and gut imbalances. Research has shown that supplementing with digestive enzymes can enhance and support digestion."
Fast Bloating Relief & Stomach Discomfort Aid
RMDY is a preventative chewable supplement for people who struggle with digestion to take before meals. It blends digestive enzymes, four strains of probiotics, prebiotics, and an herbal blend including ginger, fennel, and peppermint to help prevent bloating.
Natural Gas Relief
Take two of these when you're feeling bloated, and benefit from the blend of clinically proven herbs including peppermint leaf (rich in soothing oils that calm the digestive tract), lemon balm (which the brand notes has been clinically shown to calm GI discomfort, especially when discomfort is triggered by stress), anise (a GI relaxant clinically shown to calm the digestive tract), and fennel (a carminative [gas-reducing] herb that has been clinically shown to reduce occasional cramps in the GI tract).
Take two to three of these capsules right after a meal to help support healthy digestion and prevent bloating. The key ingredients are bromelain for speeding up food breakdown, ginger root for digestion stimulation, lemon balm and peppermint for gas prevention, dandelion root for liver health, and slippery elm for digestive organ protection.
Debloat Ade Pineapple Dietary Supplements
Dealing with uncomfortable bloating is easier and tastier with these powder sachets. These are mixed with water to help relieve bloating and contain nearly one billion CFU of probiotics per serving, pineapple enzymes (good for debloating and general digestion), and ginger extract (for gut health).
Beat the Bloat Capsules
Olly's Beat the Bloat capsules blend digestive enzymes with time-tested natural ingredients like dandelion, ginger, and fennel.
Bye, Bye Bloat
A blend of organic ginger, fenugreek, dandelion, and digestive enzymes to help reduce bloating, water weight, and provide overall support for the digestive system.
[Editor's Note: As ever, we are not doctors or medical know-it-alls. And everybody is different, so make sure to check with a doctor before trying anything new.]
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