5 Ways to Reduce Bloating
How often do you hear someone say “I am so bloated” or “I ate so much my stomach hurts”? Everyday? A few times a week? Chances are you hear it and experience it more often than you would like.
What is bloat?
Bloat is when your belly is filled with excess fluids or gas that cause discomfort in your stomach. Occasional bloat could just mean you ate too much, but chronic bloat is where we run into issues. The truth is that excessive and chronic bloat overtime can lead to more severe health problems in the future. Research is now telling us that most diseases are linked to early cases of digestive issues, also known as Leaky Gut.
If you are experiencing digestive issues, start addressing the problem now. There is no quick fix for healing a continuously bloated belly, nor is there one universal reason you are experiencing bloating. Each person is unique and therefore what is causing discomfort for one person, might not be a problem for another person. The best way to really get down to the bottom of what is causing your bloat is to work with a Health Coach one-on-one and discover for yourself what could be the root cause of your digestive distress.
In the meantime, here are 5 tips you can start to use to alleviate your bloat. These 5 tips can make a HUGE impact in your digestion.
1. Drink More Water.
Drinking water throughout the day is key to having a well functioning digestive system. Certified Health Coach Robyn Youkilis said it best, “If your poop is a boat, how can it travel without a full, flowing river?” Start your day off with a large glass of lemon water. Lemons help your body remove toxins and the water will help push along anything you have in your system so you can have a bowel movement early in the day. If you are someone who has trouble remembering to drink water, download an app such as Daily Water to track your water intake.
2. Slow down.
Too many people eat on the go or multi-task when they are eating. Nothing will keep you as disconnected from your digestion as this. Digestion starts in the mouth. Chewing is where your body produces the enzymes it needs to absorb and digest your food. Focus on chewing at least 30 times per chew (obviously this won’t happen all the time, but challenge yourself to do this at least once a day to start!) and take away all distractions as you eat. Be present with your food and make eating a meditative, sensory experience. What does your food look like? How does it smell? What does it taste like? This will allow your body to process what it is eating and know when it is full and ready to stop.
3. Eat Whole Foods & Fermented Foods.
Eating whole foods & fermented foods will naturally improve your digestion over time. Whole foods such as vegetables, especially leafy greens, legumes, fruit, and fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, keifer, and miso provide our gut with a diverse array of healthy bacteria that improve digestion and immune function. By focusing on crowding in lots of veggies, whole unprocessed foods, and fermented foods, you will naturally start to crowd out the processed snacks, sugars, and refined carbohydrates that are wreaking havoc in your gut.
4. Rule Out Food Allergens.
There are some foods that might cause inflammation in the gut. Common irritants are sugar, gluten, dairy, and caffeine. We all have unique digestive systems, and therefore what is irritating for one person, might be fine for another. The best way to get to know what foods are causing your unique digestive distress is by starting a food journal or trying an elimination diet with the guidance of a Health Coach.
5. De-Stress Your Life.
Our gut is considered our second brain because of the nerves that connect the gut and brain. Because of this, mental and emotional stress manifests as physical discomfort or pain in our guts and can play a huge part in our digestion distress. One of the best things you can do to combat digestive discomfort is to reduce stress in your life. Say no to things that don’t align with you, make time for activities that bring you joy such as physical exercise or time with family and friends, add in a meditation practice to relax your mind and bring you into the present moment, and remind yourself everyday of what you are grateful for in your life. A happy, healthy brain = a happy, healthy gut!
More Ways To Reduce Bloating
With all the advice about reducing bloating out there, it can be hard to know where to start. Our 5 ways to reduce bloating may be able to help you begin your journey, but if none of them are working and you need relief, you may need to dig a little deeper.
That said, bloating is caused by one of three main issues: diet, digestive issues and hormonal changes. If you suffer from constipation or have food allergies or other intolerances, you may be dealing with digestive issues and bloating from excess gas and the backing up of your stool. On the other hand, too much salt, sugar or carbonation can cause bloating, and so can hormonal changes during certain times of the month.
Here are some more ways to reduce abdominal bloating at home.
Get More Activity
Whether you enjoy afternoon strolls, a bike ride around the neighborhood or hitting the gym, it's true that getting more activity can help you reduce bloating. But you don't have to get extreme in your workouts for it to do the trick. Even yoga, walking or light exercise can help.
If your bloating is caused by excess gas, you may be able to reduce abdominal bloating with peppermint or other gas relief capsules. Many are easily available over the counter at the local drug store, and they may be able to help reduce the gas that is causing your discomfort.
If you're dealing with pain and other discomfort from being backed up, an abdominal massage may be able to soothe the abdomen and help get the bowels moving again. Start by placing your hands just above the hip bone. Rub in a circular motion under light pressure up to the ribcage and then across the belly to the other side. Repeat the movement on the left side and repeat both sides if you need additional relief. If you experience any pain, stop and consult your doctor.
Take a Bath
If your stomach is sore and you're finding it hard to get relief, try taking a warm bath. The soak will be good for your body and your mind, which can help reduce stress and other things that may contributing to your bloating.
Remember, there is no quick fix for reducing bloat. By making these simple food and lifestyle changes, you can begin to combat the discomfort you are feeling and heal your gut once and for all.
Keep up the great work. You’ve got this!