10 Natural & Effective Ways to Beat the Bloat!
At some point or another, nearly all of us have experienced uncomfortable and painful bloating in our stomachs. Whether it’s due to our menstrual cycle, over-indulging, or being sensitive to certain foods, bloating isn’t fun for anyone! Often linked to IBS and other bowel issues, there’s lots of conflicting advice telling us how we should remedy our distended stomachs. But before you spend money on promising medications, or step foot in a doctor’s office, why not try some of these naturally effective remedies first!
What is bloating?
Before we let you know our natural remedies, it’s important to understand what bloating is, and why it occurs. After all, the best way to get rid of bloating is to prevent it from happening in the first place!
Bloating is a result of a build-up of gas in your gastrointestinal tract – usually from poor eating habits, a sudden increase in fiber, stress, smoking, or in some cases, food intolerances. It can last for hours, to days, and can become extremely uncomfortable – even leading to diarrhea or constipation.
Below, find 10 of our favorite solutions to a sad stomach, all recommended by experts, studies, and our own trial and error!
Ginger is a well-known antiemetic and has been used for thousands of years to treat a myriad of stomach ailments. It contains several active ingredients, including pungent compounds called gingerols and shogoals which help digestive function, as well as helping to settle gas and cramping. For an easy way to get a ginger-kick in your diet, add some fresh ginger (a thumb-sized amount will do!) to hot water and lemon and drink in the mornings or after eating.
2. Peppermint Oil
Peppermint is a highly-effective cure for bloating, IBS and digestive complaints, due to its concentration of therapeutic menthol, antioxidants, and vitamins. Menthol is an anti-spasmodic, helping the stomach muscles to relax in the gastrointestinal tract. Peppermint also encourages the increase of blood flow and rate of digestive enzymes which improves digestion. Try taking peppermint oil capsules, or drinking peppermint tea, when you feel bloated to instantly soothe your stomach.
3. Apple Cider Vinegar
ACV is the ultimate multi-tasker when it comes to our health! Drinking it has been linked to de-bloating, thanks to the super-tonic’s healthy balance of good bacteria. ACV also helps to increase stomach acid, which improves the speed of your digestion so foods aren’t sitting in the stomach long enough to ferment and cause gas. Drinking apple cider vinegar can also balance your body’s pH levels, and help you to absorb more key nutrients from your food.
A study published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology stated that gas retention, and bloating, was reduced significantly in those who exercised, compared to those who were at rest. Even walking or stretching can help with abdominal bloating – just try not to do anything too energetic just after you eat, as it will make you feel nauseous. Give it 30 minutes for your food to digest, then get those sneakers on…
It’s been proven that certain probiotic strains can help relieve the symptoms of bloating – especially Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium lactis. Taking a daily probiotic is an extremely effective way to ensure your gut bacteria is well balanced and your digestive system is healthy – which in turn should alleviate bloating. When shopping for your probiotic supplements, look for ones which have a multi-strain complex, rather than just one single probiotic (or at least one that contains the two aforementioned strains!)
6. Fermented Foods
The bacteria in our guts can affect everything from our metabolism and mood to our energy levels and how effective we are at digesting foods. By adding foods which are naturally rich in probiotics, including fermented foods and drinks like kombucha, sauerkraut, kimchi and bone broth, we can top up our levels of good bacteria without having to take supplements. The relationship between your brain and your gut is extremely real and very important. Make sure you look after yours by adding a few of these foods into your daily diet.
7. Identify Trigger Foods
Many sufferers of bloating often find they can pinpoint what foods trigger their symptoms, and when they occur. By identifying which foods make you bloat, you can begin eliminating these from your diet to see if the bloating subsides. Everyone is different, so just because dairy may trigger one person, it may be pulses, or fruit, or too much sugar that triggers another. Most doctors have found that the list of trigger foods include: dairy, processed foods, refined sugar, wheat, coffee, alcohol, fried foods and fruit juice. Keep a journal of how you feel each week, and then remove certain foods for 7-14 days to see if the bloating reduces.
8. Mindful Eating
Turn off the TV. Put down your phone. Step away from the computer or any other distractions. When you eat a meal, your food needs your undivided attention for you to chew, digest and process it in the best possible way. When we are distracted during meal times, we overeat, eat way too fast, don’t chew our food enough, and set ourselves up for poor digestion. Try putting your fork down after every mouthful, chewing 20 times, and sipping water as you eat for optimal gut health.
Although most IBS sufferers are told to avoid spicy foods, some spices may actually be the key to finally getting rid of your bloating! Cayenne pepper is known to stimulate digestion, ease gas and relieve the pressure and cramping of a bloated stomach. Turmeric is also hugely effective at detoxifying your gut, and is great for adding to smoothies, teas or on foods. Turmeric is also an anti-inflammatory and can help your intestines to relax if they are inflamed.
Fennel seeds are recognized as a powerful carminative — a herb that assists in expelling gas from your intestinal tract. Studies have found that their rich volatile oil content helps to stimulate bile to digest foods, and compounds like anethole and fenchone have relaxing properties to help trapped gasses to disperse. Chewing fennel seeds is the easiest way to try this remedy, but drinking fennel tea is also highly effective!
Bloating, although uncomfortable and unpleasant, is usually a temporary ailment and can be fixed quite easily. With a little time, know-how and dietary experimentation, you should be able to get to the bottom of your bloated tum in no time! If these natural remedies still haven’t done the trick and your bloating continues, it may be time to call the doctor.
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