Does your belly ever feel a bit ‘overextended’ after eating? Do you maybe get a bit ‘gassy’ too? Feeling bloated is unsexy, uncomfortable and so not fun. However, there are ways not only to reduce bloating but to prevent it…naturally!
It’s a fact of life that many women experience bloating. It’s way too common. In fact, 25-30% of people experience it every day! If you’ve ever dealt with bloating, you know that it’s very annoying.
What Causes Bloating?
Bloating can happen from eating too much food in one meal, eating foods your body doesn’t agree with, or from having poor digestion. In fact, bloating is common in so many other health issues that it’s often overlooked as a problem itself.
Bloating could mean a more serious health concern, too. Women with PCOS, IBS, intestinal obstruction, or fatty liver can experience bloating. Because bloating at the very least typically indicates poor digestion or poor absorption of nutrients, it’s not something you should write off as ‘normal.’
Food Intolerances and Allergies
If you’ve been paying attention to how your body reacts after certain meals, you may have discovered that some foods cause bloating. You best option is to avoid these foods, at least for now, because bloating indicates either food intolerances or gut dysbiosis.
Food intolerances and an imbalanced gut microbiome can be helped with proper dining hygiene and certain food and supplement protocols. Sometimes one of the best and easiest ways to reduce bloating is to change how you eat.
Natural Ways to Reduce Bloating
As annoying and embarrassing as bloating can be, find relief in the fact that we can naturally reduce bloating and prevent it from happening again. Follow these simple tips to reduce bloating today.
1 – Don’t overeat
Eat smaller meals and try to stop eating when you feel about 80% full. I know this is a subjective value but basically stop eating when you first feel that tinge of fullness hit. This also means eating mindfully and paying attention to your hunger cues. When we eat while distracted, it’s very easy to ignore those initial satiety signals and continue to shovel in food. We’re left feeling way too full and kind of gross! (Believe me, I know all about the overeating full feeling when it comes to pizza night at our house.)
Overeating stresses out your digestive system and food particles hit the intestines undigested. Fermentation in the large intestines caused by undigested food particles leads to bloating and gas.
2 – Be active every day
Maybe it’s just me, but when I sit for a very long time, I get SO bloated! Exercise and daily active living habits can help keep things moving through your digestive tract. Yes, skeletal muscle movements improve digestion.
Bloating is often the result of gas build-up in the gut and movement helps to clear gas from the intestinal tract. As you increase your heart rate and breathing, the intestinal muscles become stimulated. If you’re able to, take a walk after each meal to improve digestion and reduce bloating.
3 – Avoid swallowing air
Sometimes the gas that causes pressure in your digestive system is from swallowing air. Carbonated drinks are the biggest culprit. You also swallow air when you chew gum or drink threw a straw. Sugar alcohols from artificial sweeteners, like in gum and diet pop, can also contribute to bloating.
And, if you eat too fast, there’s a good chance you’re swallowing too much air, so slow down!
4 – Cut out the ‘diet’ foods
All packaged, processed foods, especially ‘diet’ foods, are very high in sugar alcohols. Plus, many of the ingredients in these foods aren’t actually food – they’re chemicals and food dyes and other bad stuff that causes your gut bacteria to get out of whack. An out-of-whack gut (i.e. gut dysbiosis) is usually a major cause of bloating and gas.
5 – Try peppermint
Peppermint oil has been shown to improve bloating. It’s thought to increase transit time by relaxing the stomach muscles and increasing the flow of bile. Try steeping fresh peppermint leaves, or a peppermint tea bag, and drinking it slowly.
Fennel is another great spice for improving digestion. That’s why you see it at Indian restaurants (because they just know we’re going to eat way too much of that awesome food). Chew on a few non-sugar-coated fennel seeds after heavy meals to help reduce bloating later on.
There are tons of natural ways to reduce bloating. The ones listed here are mainly to help reduce bloating from food and eating. If you want to reduce bloating before or during your period, avoid excess salt and drink lots of water, especially in the week leading up to your period.
I love to tell you to stick to a natural diet but I know some people have trouble digesting beans and legumes. And, this digestive difficulty leads to bloating and gas. So, continue to skip any problematic foods and work on improving digestion. Chew thoroughly, eat mindfully and pay attention to your hunger cues. Try apple cider vinegar in water before meals to boost stomach acid. And enjoy fermented foods, foods high in fiber and probiotics daily.
Avoid processed junk foods because sugar and artificial sweeteners are the top contributors to gas and bloating. Drink peppermint tea, move more and manage your stress, too!
If you’d like to learn how to reduce bloating further, contact me for a free consultation today!