Are you feeling bloated? Does this drain your energies and make your feel irritable?
You are not alone. A surprising number of people reports suffering from bloating on a regular basis. Bloating causes your belly to feel full and tight, and is often accompanied with gas.
What causes bloating and thus affects your health?
There are many causes to this but if your bloating is chronic, you could be suffering from IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) or chronic constipation, and should seek medical advice.
A common cause of bloating is mild constipation. Not having regular bowel movements causes more bacteria to ferment in your colon, giving you abdominal pain and making you gassier.
Other causes of bloating include:
- Food allergies or intolerances to lactose & fructose, eggs, wheat or gluten….
- Poor diet low in fibre and plants; high in processed foods, simple carbohydrates (white rice/pasta/bread, candies, cakes…), soda & salty foods
- Eating too much and/or too fast
- Intestinal permeability or leaky gut where large molecules (such as bacteria, undigested foods, toxins…) go through the tight junctions of our gastro-intestinal tract. These then reach our bloodstream and trigger an immune reaction causing inflammation, leading to gas, pain, and/or cramping
- Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO)
- Too much weight
- Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
10 Ways to reduce bloating
- Eat a diet high in fibre to increase the quantity & diversity of your microbiome (your gut bacteria). Please be aware that this might increase bloating in the first week or two whilst your body adjust but it should improve long-term so stick with it
- Increase the diversity of the foods you eat (once again to increase the quantity & diversity of your microbiome): opt for a plant-based diet
- Increase your intake of non-alcoholic fluid: drink a minimum of 2L of water per day & avoid caffeine, alcohol or carbonated beverages
- Eat smaller portions of foods and eat thoroughly
- Take/add to your food 1tbsp of apple cider vinegar at lunch & dinner (to stimulate stomach acid production & thus assist digestion)
- Exercise: practice moderate and regular exercise
- Reduce stress with activities such as yoga, meditation, breathing exercises, walking, stretching…Find what suits you and that you like and do it regularly
- If constipated: take 1-2 tsp/d of psyllium soaked in water
- If constipated: eat 2-3 kiwi fruits per day, papaya, ground flaxseed, dried plums (prunes)…
- Relieve muscle spasms (muscle relaxant) with essential peppermint oil: 1-2 caps/d after meals
These are easy and natural ways to reduce bloating. By reducing bloating, you improve your mood, boost your energy and generally feel better. Implement these simple suggestions and see the difference!