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How do I get rid of a bloated belly after eating too much?


In this article

If you ate and drank too much during a festive dinner, there’s a chance you can suffer from a bloated belly. If your belly bulges slightly after eating, we are talking about gastrointestinal stuffing. This is normal and also disappears fairly quickly, but sometimes the belly becomes (painfully) hard and expands to a more extreme level. You feel uncomfortably full and so it makes sense that you want to get rid of it as soon as possible. In this article, dietitian Angela explains what reasons may be causing a bloated belly, she discusses practical tips that can help you feel comfortable again as quickly as possible. You’ll also read about what’s best not to do or eat when you have a bloated belly.

Why a bloated belly after eating?

There are several reasons why you may suffer from bloating. The biggest reasons are gas and ingested air. Some specific causes for this are:

Eating too much at once

An abundance of food can fill the stomach considerably and thereby overload it. The food remains in the stomach for several hours where it is finely-crushed and mixed with stomach juices. With larger volumes of food in the stomach, your belly feels more “stretched”.

Eating too fast

If you eat too quickly, you may not be chewing well for long enough, and chewing well allows for better digestion because the food is ground up by the teeth as well as because the digestive enzyme amylase is released in the mouth. In addition, if you eat too fast, there is a chance that you will take in too much air. Air you swallow can cause gas to form in your stomach and intestines.

Fatty food

Normally, food stays in the stomach for about three hours where it is kneaded and mixed with the gastric juices before being passed on to the small intestine. However, with a high-fat meal, food stays in the stomach much longer.

Spicy food, food with a lot of spices

Spicy or pungent foods excite the stomach and intestines. If you’re not used to spicy food, you can experience gastrointestinal problems.

Gas forming food

Some foods can be gaseous at a certain amount. Think of legumes (lentils, beans, chickpeas), cabbage, dried fruits, brussels sprouts, leeks, onions and garlic. Carbonated drinks such as beer, soda and sparkling water also bring in a lot of air, which can lead to belly bloating.

Too much fiberat once

Suppose you just had a very healthy dinner with lots of fresh (raw) vegetables and whole grains. This is good for your gut because it contains a lot of fiber. But, if you’re not used to eating a lot of fiber in one sitting, you may end up with a bloated belly. That’s because the bacteria in your colon make extra gas when they process fiber.

Food intolerances and intestinal diseases

If you suffer from irritable bowel syndrome, lactose intolerance, as well as intestinal diseases such as gluten intolerance (celiac disease), Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, extra gas can occur. This can cause a bloated a painful belly. Often intestinal diseases are also accompanied by other symptoms, such as diarrhea or constipation, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, etc. If you want to know if you have a bowel disease or are sensitive to lactose or gluten, for example, it is wise to make an appointment with your doctor.

What you can do to quickly relieve your bloated belly – 3 tips

Normally, food stays in the stomach for about three hours before it’s passed on to the small intestine. With fatty foods, it takes longer. Once in the intestines, further gas formation can occur due to (overstimulated) intestinal bacteria. So you will have to be patient and try to stay calm. Stress can worsen belly bloating. Here are a few things you can try to relieve your bloated belly:

Walking calmly

The best tip I can give is: walking. As inviting as it feels to stop moving, this is not the best way to relieve your bloated belly. In fact, moving helps improve digestion. Light exercise, such as a short walk, promotes digestion and helps relieve a bloated belly.

Drink herbal tea without caffeine

Some herbal teas are known as “grandmother recipes” with a soothing effect on digestion. A cup after a big meal can help relax the stomach. Some popular herbal teas include: (pepper) mint tea, ginger tea, chamomile tea, (star) anise tea, fennel tea. Choose herbal teas without sugar or sweeteners. These can irritate the gut. In addition, it’s important to choose an herbal tea without actual “tea.” This is because normal (green) tea contains caffeine. Caffeine can irritate the stomach and intestines. Check the ingredient list if you choose a herbal tea blend.

Massage the belly gently

Massage your belly gently from right to left to release air and gas that might be trapped.

What not to do in case of a bloated belly?

Solid food

It is best not to eat solid foods at all for several hours. Specific products are best to avoid. These are foods that can cause delayed gastric emptying and gas. Think of deep fried foods, cabbage, cheeses, and legumes (lentils, chickpeas, all types of beans).

Carbonated beverages, caffeine and alcohol

Avoid carbonated drinks such as soda, sparkling water and beer. In addition, it is also better to consume tea and coffee without caffeine, as caffeine can irritate the gut. Alcohol also stimulates the stomach and intestines.

Chewing Gum

Chewing gum allows you to swallow a significant amount of air and can worsen bloating. In addition, gum contains artificial sweeteners that can irritate the intestines, so it is better to avoid it temporarily.

Intensive exercise

Don’t go running or do very intense exercise. This forces your body to move too much blood to your muscles, reducing its ability to focus on your stomach and intestines where food is digested. Calmly walking is vigorous enough.


A bloated belly after eating too much is annoying and can sometimes even be painful. The best way to prevent bloating is to eat slowly, choose smaller portions, not overeat large amounts of fat and be aware of products your gut might react to. By being aware of what causes bloating, you can reduce the frequency and intensity of bloating. If you want to get rid of your bloated belly as quickly as possible, it’s best to try to relax, move calmly and slowly and possibly try a herbal tea.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is a bloated belly after eating too much normal?

– Yes, a bloated belly can happen to anyone. The digestive system can be temporarily overloaded by eating too much, eating too fast, eating too fatty, eating too spicy, eating (a lot of) gas-forming foods like legumes and too much fiber at one time. Sometimes there is intestinal disease. In this case, bloating occurs frequently and is accompanied by other symptoms such as diarrhea and abdominal pain. In this case, a visit to the family doctor is recommended.

2. How long does it take for bloating to disappear?

– This varies from person to person, but you can assume several hours because the food has to drop from the stomach to the intestines. Once in the intestines, food can also cause some irritation the intestines, which can also cause abdominal bloating.


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