Having a bloated tummy is such a common complaint across the board, no matter what your age, size, or how your hormones are functioning.
It’s good to know that you can put some of the blame on biology!
Did you know that a woman’s colon is 10 centimetres longer than a mans and is constantly competing for space with the bladder, uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes?
Plus, in order to prepare us for pregnancy and subsequent extra water retention, our colons are more of a winding path with lots of unexpected turns.
So if you think about it logically, it’s not surprising that we bloat from time to time.
Luckily, there are certain things we can do that can help prevent us from bloating, and the most basic lifestyle adjustments can have a positive impact. Simple things such as making sure you're getting lots of fibre day-to-day, cutting back on salt and processed foods, and increasing your water intake can often be a good starting point to minimize that bloated feeling.
There are lots of natural ways to support your digestive system and calm things down. There are several foods you can eat (or avoid eating) and activities you can do to keep yourself in check.
In my videos this week, I’m going to give you some great drinks, smoothie ideas and recipes to help reduce the bloat. Check out my YouTube channel for those.
In the meantime, here are a few natural solutions for you to try…
1. Consume Some Plant-Based Probiotics
If you and your swollen stomach need a bit of extra help, the best thing you can do is include some live bacteria that can help address imbalance in the gut flora. Your gut flora, or your gut microbiome, is the system of microbes that live in your digestive tract that can have an influence on everything from IBS to depression.
Probiotics are your very own superheroes that stop bad bacteria and yeast from accumulating in your intestines. Kimchi, sauerkraut, tempeh and kombucha are all great options for getting probiotics into your diet. Plus, they help to ensure regular bowel movements, as constipation can be a major factor of bloating. So you need to stay regular!
2. Drink Fennel Tea
Fennel is really helpful when it comes to soothing digestion. You can put crushed or whole seeds in a cup of boiling water and let it infuse for 10 minutes before you sip. There's always the option of sprinkling them on top of your next meal, too.
3. Sip Water with Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
Drinking lots of water is so important when it comes to digestive health. Adding lemon can help as it’s a great source of soluble fibre, which can help reduce constipation and bloating. Being properly hydrated helps your body move nutrients through your system faster and is generally a good idea if you want to successfully fight bloating.
4. Be Mindful of The Beans You Eat
I love beans and talk about adding them into your diet to help you feel full and satisfied and give you extra plant-based protein. However, for some people the extra fibre they bring to your diet can sometimes increase bloating. When the sugars in beans break down, they can cause a build up of gas. Soaking beans overnight is touted as a method to make them easier to digest, but rinsing tinned beans should be just fine too. If beans are a new addition to your diet, try only adding a few at a time to let your body adjust and get used to them.
5. Drink Less Coffee
As you may know, coffee is naturally dehydrating, which increases acid production, and irritates your GI tract, all of which provide the perfect blend for bloating. Sorry all of you coffee lovers!
But we live in the real world and, for many of us, kissing coffee goodbye in order to reduce a bloated stomach simply isn't an option. If this is you, then just try limiting yourself to one cup of coffee or less per day to help prevent coffee-related bloating.
6. Eat Ginger or Drink Ginger Tea
Ginger has been used for centuries to cure all kinds of basic ailments. Two compounds called gingerols and shogaols found in this root can reduce inflammation in your gut and send a strong message to the muscles in your intestines to chill out. Cut a few very thin slices of fresh ginger and soak in boiling water for 10 minutes. You can add honey, apple cider vinegar and a squeeze of lemon to make it tasty. You can even chew on little pieces of raw ginger for a quick fix, if you don't mind the taste. Powdered ginger root, which you can take daily as a supplement, is also an option.
7. Do A Few Simple Yoga Moves
Not only does it ease muscular and joint pain, but yoga additionally offers relief when your digestive system is all tangled up. There are a few different postures you can do at home starting with apanasana, which is basically lying on your back and hugging your knees into your chest. You can then take a supine twist by bringing your knees to one side and letting your head fall the opposite way. Downward facing dog and standing forward fold are simple but effective as well; they're easy inversions that encourage blood-flow to your lower half. Poses should be held for a few minutes at a time to get maximum results.