Most people experience a bloated stomach every now and then, when your tummy feels swollen and painful. For some people it only happens once in a while after overindulging in a big meal, but for others it can be a regular occurrence. Stomach bloating is usually the result of eating food which is hard to digest. This can include junk food, but also some healthy foods like certain vegetables. Vegetables which are known to cause bloating include those in the cruciferous family, such as cabbage, broccoli, sprouts and cauliflower.
Onions, garlic and beans are also common culprits of a bloated stomach.
In terms of drinks, carbonated beverages such as beer and soft drinks can cause painful bloating, as they create excess gas and trapped wind.
But, perhaps more surprisingly, one common, everyday drink which can also cause bloating is coffee.
Coffee is the most popular drink worldwide with around two billion cups consumed every day.
Although the caffeine in coffee raises acid levels in the stomach, which actually facilitates digestion, the gastric juices can irritate the gut lining if you’re drinking coffee on an empty stomach.
Many people drink coffee as a means to help them wake up first thing in the morning, but doing this first thing on an empty stomach could leave you feeling bloated.
In addition, coffee and other caffeinated drinks can cause indigestion.
Bloating can be worsened if you add milk or cream to your coffee, as many people have difficulty digesting lactose.
On top of this, the actual coffee beans themselves can slow gastric emptying, which can also cause bloating.
If you enjoy a hot beverage, but find coffee leaves you bloated, try replacing it with a herbal tea, such as peppermint tea.
Peppermint tea is packed with antioxidants and minerals which boost immunity and aid digestion, including magnesium, potassium, and vitamins A and C.
Magnesium is a mineral that turns food into energy, boosting the digestion process and raising energy levels.
Potassium helps control the balance of fluids in the body, preventing water retention, which can lead to bloating.
Vitamin A helps the immune system fight against illness and infection, while Vitamin C helps protect the body’s cells and keeps them healthy.
Peppermint tea also contains antispasmodic properties which can help relieve stomach cramps.
“Get rid of bloating by cutting out fizzy drinks and foods that cause wind. Sit down to eat and take regular exercise,” advises the NHS.