5 Ways To Beat The Bloat + A 1 Day Food Plan To Reduce Bloating
Every week in clinic I see numerous clients suffering from all sorts of digestive issues, but one of complaint I hear the most is people suffering from bloating. Common symptoms I hear, “ I feel 6 months pregnant at the end of the day”, “after eating any meal I get bloated”, “bread makes me bloated, “I get bloated daily, nothing seems to make it better”, the list goes on.
I know first-hand how uncomfortable bloating can be. It can affect your mood and can make you can feel irritated, frustrated, angry, sad, annoyed. It can even affect your sex drive because the last thing on many people’s mind, if they aren’t feeling good, is to suddenly get in a sexy mood to make love. It can affect what you wear and if you’re in the mood to go to a social event or not. As you can see, feeling bloated can affect numerous aspects of your life, and it doesn’t have to be this way. It’s not something you have to live with.
You need to get to the root cause of your bloating, is it from overeating, a food allergy or sensitivity, imbalance in your gut bacteria, eating too fast, stress, parasites, IBS, SIBO, medications, antibiotics, hormonal imbalances, hard to digest foods, low fiber or water intake. There are numerous things to consider, it’s not always black and white.
Today I’m going to touch on 5 things you can do as of right now to beat the bloat. If you do all of these for 3-4 weeks and don’t notice a difference, it may be time to reach out for professional help so you can get to the root cause of your bloating and get on top of it for good!
1. Slow down when you eat and chew your food well!
This is non-negotiable! Digestion begins in the mouth. You must chew your food thoroughly before swallowing. This allows the proper breakdown of food. It lessens the load on your stomach and can reduce the chance of larger particles of food moving through your digestive tract, which could ferment and lead to bloating or other gut issues. Also, when you rush meals, you not only risk overeating but also swallow more air, which can add to that full, bloated feeling.
2. Take a probiotic
The small intestines and colon are filled with bacteria, yeasts, and fungi. Bloating is often caused by an imbalance of good-to-bad bacteria in your gut, if you have more of the “bad” gas-producing bacterial strains in your gut (due to poor diet, stress, antibiotic use, or other lifestyle factors), then it can lead to excessive fermentation and more trapped gas in your gut. I would often suggest incorporating fermented foods into your diet, but sometimes they just aren’t strong enough. One cup of sauerkraut is equal to around 1/8th of a probiotic, and who eats 1 cup of sauerkraut? Often people only have 1 tsp – 2 tbsp daily. Sometimes it’s better to go in with the big guns and take a good quality probiotic short-term. Research shows that taking probiotics on a regular basis can support a healthy microbial balance in the gut, which can prevent or alleviate bloating.
3. Drink liquids away from your meals
I personally find this very helpful and have so many clients who state their digestion improves after this simple step. You don’t want to fill up your stomach before a meal (or during a meal) with liquids. This makes your stomach and digestive enzymes work a lot harder to break down food. Try not to drink any liquids 30-60 minutes either side of a meal.
When we are amped, stressed, busy, rushing around, overwhelmed, anxious our body goes into the ‘fight or flight’ mode. This is when our body thinks our life is in “perceived” danger, and we need to run fast to save our life. Blood flow moves away from digestive organs to our arms and legs so we can run fast, this means less blood flow for digestive processes to function optimally. When we are relaxed, eat in a quiet peaceful environment away from technology (phones, TV’s, tablets, computers), our parasympathetic nervous system, the ‘rest and digest’ response kicks into play, this is when our bodies are in a relaxed state to take care of vital functions like digestion food properly.
5. Take a vacay from gluten, dairy, sugar and all refined foods – even just for 4 weeks
Now don’t freak out. This doesn’t mean avoiding these foods forever. Look at this as an experiment. What’s 4 weeks out of 52 weeks of the year? Try to eliminate these food for 4 weeks to reduce inflammation in your body. Removing sugar is particularly important because sugar is food for the “bad” bacteria in our colon, you don’t want to feed those guys, because when you feed them, they multiply. This can lead to gut dysbiosis and all kinds of health problems. Instead, choose wholefoods which are naturally gluten free and nutrient rich – vegetable, fruits (limit to 2 servings daily and before midday if bloated), brown rice, quinoa, coconut yoghurt, unsweetened almond milk, coconut milk, avocado, nuts, seeds, olive oil. There are so many delicious options to enjoy!
1 Day Plan To Reduce Bloating
Upon waking: drink 250-500ml of warm water with the juice from ½ – 1 fresh lemon
Breakfast: Protein smoothie – 20g-30g serving of protein powder, 1 tbsp almond butter, 1 tbsp chia seeds, 1 large handful of spinach, ½ cup blueberries, 1-1.5 cups unsweetened almond milk.
Lunch: Simple chicken salad – 1 chicken breast, 2 cups rocket, 1 cup cucumber, handful of chopped tomatoes, ½ cup baked sweet potato, drizzle in my green goddess dressing.
Snack: small handful of raw nuts
Dinner: Salmon stir-fry – 1 salmon steak + 2 cups stir-fried vegetables (green beans, carrot, kale), drizzle with tahini dressing
Supper: 1 cup of peppermint tea
Note: Make sure to drink 2L of filtered water throughout the day to support bowel health and get your body moving for 30 minutes (even just a walk – it helps support bowel function).