A few months ago, my neighbour asked me when my next baby was due (I looked 6 months pregnant!) – but alas, no bun in the oven, just too many buns in my mouth! Yep, give me a bread roll and I’ll swell up until I look like I’m pregnant.
Now bloating is something I think the majority of us experience at one stage or the other, and it’s something that can be brought under control with a few tweaks.
Here are 10 easy ways you can reduce your bloating once and for all:
1. FRUIT ON AN EMPTY TUMMY
Take your fruit on an empty tummy, not with meals.
Fruit is quick to digest and contains a lot of water, so it moves through the digestive system quicker than protein and fat. So when the fruit is in the stomach getting mixed up with protein and fat, which move slower, it can take longer to move through the system which can cause gas and fermentation to happen in the bowel.
So the rule with fruit is: EAT IT ALONE OR LEAVE IT ALONE.
2. REDUCE YOUR STRESS LEVELS
Stress reduction can be a really underlooked way to reduce your bloat.
When you are stressed, your energy in the body is going to fight or flight mode, and not into digest and rest mode.
This means that digestion will be sluggish and can result in food staying in the GI for longer than it needs to. I try and bring my stress levels under control most days by taking a long, slow and deep 5 breaths.
If I notice myself getting into choppy breathing, I notice it and try and slow it down. Here is an exercise. You want to be breathing out LONGER than you breathe in. So, you’re in breath could be four counts and the out breath is five or six counts.
This will calm down the nervous system, telling your body its ok to digest food as there is no danger (i.e. stress) present.
Probiotics are the good guys, responsible for so many functions in the body. They help break down your food, synthesise hormones, supply nutrients to the body – truly, they are so supportive and we all need to be taking probiotics every day – even if you are “healthy and well”, the nature of the environment we live, we need to be replenishing our microbiome with probiotic drinks and foods.
In my book, Probiotic Drinks at Home, I give you everything you need to know to make your own cost-effective probiotic drinks at home.
4. CONSIDER SQUATTING WHEN EVACUATING YOUR BOWELS
Some bloating can be caused because the bowel has no evacuated completely.
To help your bowels empty, consider getting a little chair/stool you can prop your legs onto for going to the toilet.
We are designed to poop squatting, as the legs apply a little gentle pressure to the bowels, helping them evacuate.
5. TUNE INTO HOW CERTAIN FOODS MAKE YOU FEEL, THEN ELIMINATE
Be in tune with how foods make you feel – for me this is gluten. I avoid gluten or chose a less gluteny option, like possibly spelt sourdough.
I notice that whenever I eat gluten or even gluten-free carbs, I start to feel heavier and fuller which makes me feel bloated.
Gluten is very sticky – it’s the “glue” in baking – it can stick to the gut wall, creating inflammation, which causes bloating…. So I recommend going off it for 2-4 weeks and see what happens. And then if you find that your bloating reduces after laying off it, that is a sure sign to avoid it.
For some people, dairy can be very mucous forming in their system and lead to inflammation and therefore bloating.
Check your dairy intake, and what type of dairy is it?
I drink a good quality local unhomogenised milk and I’m totally fine on that and it doesn’t seem to cause me any bloating.
But some cheaper milk gives me a little gas…… so be aware of the quality of you dairy choices.
7. AVOID SUGAR
Sugar is very inflammatory on the body, which can lead to bloating – you don’t need me to tell you any more really.
When I do use sugars, I use figs, dates, that kind of thing – although it still is sugar, its not refined and it still has minerals and fibre.
8.CHEW YOUR FOOD
Relieve pressure on the digestive system by thoroughly chewing your food so that when it hits the stomach, part of the work is done.
So many of us race through eating – eating on the run, literally walking. I’m guilty of that too.
But I generally get a stomach ache after doing this.
Sometimes I’ll take 20 mins to eat a big salad, but I’ll set it up in front of my computer and work while I slowly eat. No idea, but if it means I’m eating a salad slowly, it’s the best option.
I call that a working parent hack!
Not ideal, but it’s the best I can do some days.
9. BOX BREATHING
Some bloating can be caused by stress and one way to signal to your body that you are out of a stressful situation and it’s safe to digest, is to breathe slowly and deliberately.
I call this Box Breathing.
Take three deep breaths into to the base of the diaphragm. This means filling up from the bottom of your lungs.
Then hold the breath for a count of three.
Then exhale for a count of three.
Then hold for a count of three.
This is called Box Breathing.
Do that before a meal. Pray before a meal. Close your eyes for three seconds. Any pause you can do before a meal will really help you digest better.
10. STOMACH ACID
Stomach acids are super important to have in your gut as they break down the food. One way to increase your stomach acids is to have a daily shot of Apple Cider Vinegar – try and have 1 TBS per glass water during the day or first thing in the morning.
Now, I would love to hear from you – tell me in the comments, what is ONE thing you think you can implement today.
Thank you so much for reading, I really hope this has helped you.