Last week I told you the five worst foods for triggering bloat and messing with your gut. This week I’m going to talk about ways of how to relieve bloating. So let’s quickly recap what those foods were:
1. Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage)
2. Legumes (beans)
5. Salty foods
Once you’ve identified a food that could be causing your bloat, what do you do about it? As I mentioned before, just not eating the trigger food is certainly a good choice. But in the case of some of them (like the cruciferous vegetables), you may be missing out on important vitamins or minerals.
Another option is to limit the portion size of the offending food. Eating it in smaller servings and not as often can help reduce bloat. You can also change the way you eat them.
In the case of cruciferous vegetables, for example, steaming or cooking them softens the fiber and removes the water from the food. By doing so, you are making the fiber easier to break down and digest, and you are reducing the portion size.
If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you know how I feel about dairy products. But if you absolutely must have dairy in your diet, you can try lactose-free products or those that use other kinds of dairy (such as goat or nut milks).
Here are some other things to consider trying to relieve or reduce your bloat over the long term.
Water is one of the most magical substances on Earth. In terms of reducing bloat, staying hydrated can help keep your digestive system in a healthy state. Lack of water causes things to get dried out, right? The same goes for your body.
Not to mention – the more you hydrate, the more frequently you will probably have to go to the bathroom. Increased urination simply reduces the amount of water in your body. Less water retention = less bloat.
Zesting up the H20
Water itself is great but can get boring. Adding ginger, lemon, or even honey to water can not only make the water taste better, but each of those ingredients can help in reducing bloat.
I’m not talking about instituting a full-on exercise routine…although, you should be getting some kind of exercise on a regular basis.
But taking a walk or a quick jog (if you can stand it) can help motivate your body to reduce the gas build-up. Additionally, sweat contains sodium, so breaking a sweat will reduce the amount of sodium in your body.
Are you starting to see the patterns yet?
While a general massage can be great for relaxing you, rubbing or massaging your belly can help release the gas bubbles that are trapped in your abdomen. Using an oil like peppermint or bergamot while you gently massage your abdomen is thought to stimulate enzyme production (through the scent) which can also help reduce gas.
You’re probably thinking, “what the heck does that mean?”
When you chew gum, you’re increasing your air intake. Same with drinking through a straw or from a drinking fountain. All that extra air has to go somewhere, right? And guess where that is? Yep, more causes of bloat.
Have a mint or lozenge to freshen your breath, and drink directly from a glass or bottle, forgoing the straw.
So far, we can reduce or adapt food intake, we can address and rule out food intolerances, and then hydrate, exercise, and avoid motions that add extra air to our bellies. Those are all long-term changes that can be made to reduce bloat on a regular basis.
But what about those times that you need to get rid of it quickly?
You made the mistake of eating a burrito at lunch and you have to slip into your LBD for a work party. Or you and your friends had a great time at the bachelorette party, but now you are looking at your bridesmaid dress and wondering how it will ever fit.
Or maybe you just want to get rid of that yucky feeling fast.
Unfortunately, there are no tried-and-true methods for immediate reduction of gas build-up…aside from those natural things that our bodies do. But there are a few remedies that might help you.
· Yellow Mustard-more than just a condiment for a hot dog, yellow mustard contains turmeric, which is known to help expel internal gas.
· Chamomile Tea-the soothing properties of chamomile can reduce inflammation and help lessen intestinal gas.
Bloating can be caused by a number of reasons, but most often food or other dietary issues are the cause. To reduce bloat, you have to first figure out what is causing it and then address those issues one at a time. It may take some trial and error. And if you have chronic bloat, you should see your doctor to rule out diseases like celiac.
Additionally, if you narrow your bloat down to particular foods like dairy or legumes, there are over-the-counter tablets that address each of those (Lactaid and Beano). But again, discuss with your doctor before trying anything, just to make sure you are doing the right thing.
Bloat can be annoying, but it doesn’t have to happen. You can make the right choices to reduce and eliminate it.
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