Do you know those days where you wake up feeling and looking great, but by the end of the evening, your belly is so swollen you feel like you’re six months pregnant? Bloating is something most women have experienced at one time or another, and it’s commonly written off as just a part of being a woman. And in some cases, like after a night at an all-you-can-eat buffet, it’s expected.
But guess what? If bloating is something you deal with day in and day out, no matter how “healthy” you eat, it’s a sign that something more is going on.
The good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way, and if you experience chronic bloating, rest assured that there is a reason for it and once you identify it, you can kick bloating to the curb once and for all.
Unfortunately, healing your gut, balancing your hormones, and identifying and removing food sensitivities (all common causes of bloating) takes time. So what’s a girl to do in the meantime?
Here are my top six secrets to help minimize bloating during the healing process.
1. Drink Herbal Tea
Several herbal teas have been proven to reduce gastrointestinal issues, including bloating. Here are some of my favorites.
Chamomile – The digestive enzymes help break down food in the digestive tract, so having a cup after dinner will help relieve gas and reduce bloating. It has also been shown to reduce stomach acid, calming acid reflux. Additionally, chamomile is an anti-inflammatory and soothes chronically inflamed stomach lining and reduces constriction and tension in the gut for easier digestion.
Ginger – Indigestion is a primary contributor to bloating. The compounds in ginger help improve digestion by stimulating bile and saliva. They also improve nutrient absorption, help heal the digestive tract, and as a plus, help balance blood sugar.
Turmeric – The curcumin found in turmeric improves digestion by stimulating the gallbladder and producing bile. Its anti-inflammatory properties have been found to improve the symptoms of bloating in people with IBS but, in theory, can be beneficial to anyone with digestive issues. Add a pinch of black pepper to help you absorb the most nutrients.
Fennel – Gas, stomach cramps, and bloating are all shown to improve when regularly using fennel seed. Fennel helps calm the digestive system and makes bowel movements easier, so food spends less time sitting in your stomach, causing gas and bloating. BONUS: Fennel also helps reduce painful period cramps just as well as over-the-counter pain medications.
Peppermint – Peppermint relaxes your digestive system, reduces muscle spasms, and allows food, liquid, and air to move through your intestines. It’s been known to improve symptoms of bloating and gas as well as bad breath, congestion, tension headaches, and period cramps.
Dandelion – Bloating isn’t always due to digestive issues directly. It can also be caused by an overload of estrogen that causes water retention and swelling. Dandelion tea supports your liver in flushing out excess estrogen so you can find some relief to your bloat.
2. Take a Magnesium Supplement
Magnesium glycinate helps neutralize stomach acid and relax your intestinal muscles. It also helps alleviate gas and fights water retention.
If you deal with constipation, you can try magnesium citrate to loosen your stools – but only use that for constipation, not to boost magnesium levels.
Taking a daily supplement can be helpful, as can using magnesium spray or lotion, sitting in an Epsom salt bath. You can also eat more food rich in magnesium, such as dark chocolate, avocados, spinach, and pumpkin seeds.
3. Take Probiotics
Because bacterial overgrowth can be a big cause of bloating, including probiotics in your daily routine helps recolonize good bacteria and rebalance your gut microbiome.
You can take a probiotic supplement or introduce more probiotic-rich foods. Fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, pickles, yogurt, kefir, buttermilk, tempeh, miso, natto, and kombucha are high in a variety of probiotics and take your meals to the next level.
If you don’t make yours from scratch, just be careful to read the ingredient lists to avoid added sugar, corn syrup, food coloring, “natural” flavors, preservatives, and vegetable oils.
4. Cook Your Veggies
In an effort to eat “healthy,” you’ve probably loaded up on green salad and raw veggies, and don’t get me wrong, you need to eat your veggies. However, raw vegetables contain a lot of fiber. The bacteria in our guts then feed on and ferment this fiber which gives off gas.
While fiber is essential for healthy digestion, too much can lead to gas and bloating. Keep eating your veggies, but opt for roasted or cooked vegetables instead of extra-large fresh salads. You’ll still get the nutritional benefit of the vegetables but without the bloat.
5. Avoid Overly Processed Food
Packaged food and food from restaurants are convenient but often high in hard-to-digest fats and sodium and low in fiber—the perfect storm for slow digestion and water retention. Try to limit eating out to once or twice a week to cut back on bloating.
It’s also helpful to pair fatty food with fiber and water so your digestion stays on track even on those nights out.
6. Move Daily
Doing a bunch of crunches isn’t going to shrink your belly down once you’re bloated, but daily, balanced exercise will help relieve digestive issues, including bloating.
Movement not only helps move food down and out of your digestive tract, but it also helps health your intestinal lining by encouraging circulation around your gut.
One study showed that regular exercise led to a larger variety of good bacteria in the gut. Balancing that good bacteria with the bad is key to reducing bloating.
Get Your Gut “Back-in-Whack!”
Making these minor adjustments in your daily routine should help relieve some of your bloating, but it won’t heal the root cause completely. If your gut is damaged, your hormones or microbiome are imbalanced, or you have parasites or food sensitivities, you need to address those problems first and foremost. It’s the only way you’ll be able to find long-term relief.
Functional lab tests will help you identify those imbalances, intruders, or sensitivities so you can beat the bloat for good. My Transformed coaching package includes all the testing and support you’ll need to eliminate bloating once and for all. Book a free consultation to learn more!