Ever feel a bit “overextended” in the belly after a meal? Perhaps “gassy?” Have you ever carried a “food baby?”
Well, bloating is common; up to 25-30% of people experience it regularly and it happens when you have trouble digesting. The symptoms come from excess gas, reactions to foods, or food not moving through your digestive system as well as it should.
There are many reasons you might experience these symptoms. Maybe because of a serious condition (disease) like leaky gut, or a food allergy or intolerance (what you eat). It can also result from how you eat.
If you have a serious digestive issue like IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), then make sure you eat accordingly. Same goes if you know certain foods give you gas. Simply avoid them.
Already doing those things, and still experience bloating? Here are some great tips for dealing with it naturally.
1 - Don’t overeat
If you overeat at a meal, then you’ll feel bigger around the mid-section. You’ll feel more pressure in your abdomen. Plus, you’re giving your digestive system a hard time. It’s better to eat until you feel almost full and not overindulge. Grab an extra snack or small meal throughout the day if you must to ensure don’t over-stuff yourself in one sitting.
Also, try to not drink anything with your meal, because when you do, you are washing down all the enzymes required to break down food, yes, digestion starts in the mouth! If you must, just take small sips throughout the meal to lessen the effect.
2 - Avoid sugar alcohols
Sugar alcohols are low-calorie sweeteners made from sugars. In an ingredients list, they end in "-ol,” and include things like sorbitol, xylitol, and erythritol. They’re found in some chewing gums and sugar-free foods. Some people experience bloating after eating foods with these and that is because after consuming them, bacteria ferment the sugar alcohol in the gut causing bloating, gas and sometimes even diarrhea. So, try avoiding them and see if that helps you. Most people are ok with these sugar alcohols, just don’t eat half a bar while mindlessly binge-watching Netflix!
3 - Avoid swallowing air
Sometimes the gas that causes pressure in your digestive system is from swallowing air. Things like carbonated drinks are the biggest culprit here. You can also swallow air when you chew gum or drink through a straw, so try ditching these. You can also swallow air when eating too quickly or while talking. Which leads me to...
4 - Eat slower, more mindfully, and less stressed
Eating too fast isn’t doing your digestive system any favors. You can help the food move along by chewing it thoroughly and slowing down your eating habits. Be mindful and enjoy the time you are spending eating your meals. Savor them.
The feeling of stress can also cause increased bloating. When we are stressed, the hormone cortisol is high, which means our digestive system shuts down so all those necessary digestive enzymes kinda disappear until we relax. Stress-reducing techniques can help improve your digestion. Try meditating or deep breathing (but not while you’re eating). A digestive enzyme can also help if you are constantly stressed at meal times.
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, high quality peppermint essential oil or a peppermint tea bag and drinking it slowly. See if that helps reduce your symptoms.
If you do all of these, and still experience bloating, then you may have a food intolerance; try removing gluten, dairy, soy and all manner of processed foods to get to the bottom of this. Any major concerns, then please work with a functional medicine doctor who can help guide you through an elimination diet to rule out a serious and/or chronic condition.
Replace your current coffee creamer with the this bloat-busting recipe:
You can always join my FREE 5-Day Kick Sugar for Good Challenge to help you figure out which foods might be hurting you and making you bloated as the recipes are made up of nourishing, whole foods that are nutrient dense, and yummy! Click below for more details!
unitl next time!