Ways to keep the Bloating at bay
Our nutritional expert, Melanie Waxman, shared some ways to keep the bloating at bay.
Bloating is a common complaint that can affect anyone, at any age. The colon is long and winding, with twists and turns that can easily trap air, giving the sensation of bloating. The original cause is often excess gas production or disrupted digestive muscles. Fortunately, there are a number of simple remedies that can help you to keep bloating at bay.
It is vital to have fibre in your diet. We recommend increasing fibre little by little over a week or two, to prevent it from causing more bloating and gas. Include whole grains such as quinoa, brown rice, millet, oats or buckwheat in your daily diet. Soaking your grains in water for at least 8 hours before cooking makes them easier to digest.
Cook whole grains and beans with kombu seaweed. The alginate in seaweed helps digestion and the enzymes help pre-digest beans. Pop a piece of kombu in the pan while cooking your grain or bean dishes and enjoy the additional fibre and briny flavour. It is important to soak the beans in water for at least 12 hours before cooking. Discard the water used during soaking and cook with fresh water. This also helps make the beans more digestible.
Ginger has been used for hundreds of years to reduce inflammation and aid digestion. You may add ginger to soups and stews or enjoy in a warming tea. Simply cut a few thin slices of fresh ginger and steep them in boiling water for 10 minutes. Enjoy the warm spicy flavour and its digestion-soothing effects.
Fresh herbs, especially parsley, are a great remedy for bloating and gas relief. You can make a tea with fresh parsley or add fresh herbs to your beans, whole grain or vegetable dishes. It’s an easy remedy for sluggish digestion or to settle gas.
Fennel seeds can be chewed or made into a tea. Both are wonderful at the end of a meal to prevent bloating and help the digestive process. Simply add a teaspoon of the seeds to a cup of hot water and steep for 10 minutes. You can also add a sprinkle of fennel to your grain and vegetable dishes.
Increase the natural probiotics in your diet. Sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, olives, umeboshi plums and tempeh are reliable options for getting healthy enzymes into your diet. This will help with constipation, which can be a major cause of bloating. These probiotics also reduce gas production.
The bitter taste of arugula and watercress can stimulate digestive juices and bile flow. Bile is vital for helping the liver clean out toxins while helping the body to digest fats and absorb vitamins.
Fresh peppermint tea helps relieve muscle spasms and is a great relief for a bloated belly as it contains menthol oil, which helps to relax muscles and release gas.
Water is the key to digestive health. It helps move nutrients through your digestive system more quickly. You can add fresh lemon juice to the water, too. It helps reduce constipation and bloating. Make sure to include the pulp to get the most benefits. You can also add a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar (which is full of helpful enzymes) to a glass of water and drink it before a meal to kickstart digestion.
Aloe vera has amazing properties that soothe the digestive tract. Add a teaspoon to your water and you will notice the difference right away. Aloe vera helps flush out toxins and promotes regularity.
It is also important to rule out common foods that might be contributing to allergies and intolerances. If you eat foods to which you are intolerant, it can cause excess gas and bloating. The foods that often create these problems include lactose, fructose, gluten, wheat and eggs.
Eat less and chew well. Smaller portions are easier on the digestive system. Chewing well reduces the amount of air you swallow and helps you to eat less, both of which will relieve gas and bloating.
Bloating can be made worse by stress. There are nerves up and down the gastrointestinal tract. If someone is anxious and worried it can cause disturbances in their digestion, causing gas, bloating and constipation. Dietary changes will help but it is also important to find ways to relieve stress like walking outdoors, having a relaxing bath or getting a massage.