Bloating is as common as being constipated and suffering from heartburn. In fact, digestive issues top the charts in terms of number of doctors visits per year and pharmaceuticals sales. Popping a pill to suppress a digestive system isn't going to address the root issue of what is really going on. I encourage you to look at your health symptoms as a sign that something is off and let this information inspire you to take responsibility for your health.
Bloating is not only annoying, but it can be very uncomfortable... especially if you wear control top nylons -- ick! If you wake up in the morning with a relatively flat tummy and then it gets progressively bloated as the day goes on and by 4 pm you have to undo the top button of your jeans, then you may have something going on with your digestive system.
Here are 5 natural ways to prevent bloating.
1. Take a digestive bitter.
Prior to each meal on an empty stomach, (following the dosage instruction on the bottle) take bitters with water. You may need to plug your nose! Bitters help to stimulate enzyme secretions of the liver, pancreas, stomach and small intestine to aid in digestion. This means food moves more quickly through the digestive system instead of hanging around too long in one area making friends with bad bacteria which can cause gas and bloating.
Further, when you stimulate secretions of these very important organs essentials for digestion, you enhance digestion and prevent bloating. Look for bitters that contain: dandelion, rhubarb etc. Each brand will have its own unique formulation. Bitter teas are also extremely helpful as well. My Joyous Detox is a digestive aid if you drink it after a main meal.
2. Avoid liquids with food.
This is a classic food combining rule. If you are taking gulps of water between bites you may be diluting your digestive "fire", essentially you weaken the strength of your body's ability to digest food. This can cause bloating and burping. This is not the case for everyone though. People who have a strong digestive fire can tolerate liquids with food with ease.
3. Ensure adequate stomach acid.
When your digestive fire is low (as in the case of the large majority of people who suffer from heartburn contrary to popular belief), food will take much longer to move through the digestive system. Ever notice when you eat something with a heavy protein content ie. steak or fish it seems like it sits like a brick in your gut? This could be due to low stomach acid.
There are various supplements you can take from bitters to betaine HCL and digestive enzymes to beef up your stomach acid but you may want to consider addressing what is lowering it in the first place. Some reasons for low stomach acid include stress, food sensitivities, overly acidic diet, lack of salt and lack of water. My favourite health habit of all for increasing digestive "fire" is to drink freshly squeezed lemon in a large glass of water upon waking up.
4. Steep raw ginger in hot water.
Ginger is a wonderful anti-inflammatory food for both the prevention of bloating and to take when you are actually bloated. Take a chunk of raw ginger and steep it in hot water for at least 5 minutes. Add some freshly squeezed lemon and drink up. This is my favourite anti-bloat tea. I talk about this in my first cookbook, Joyous Health.
5. Eat when hungry, not by the clock.
It's very common how many people think they need to eat 6 or 7 times a day. This is actually not necessary unless you are a bodybuilder. If you are eating well-balanced meals, you will be A-okay to eat breakfast and then maybe a small snack in between meals if you are actually hungry. Eating when you are not hungry can deplete digestive enzymes necessary to move food through. This can lead to bloating and slow digestion such as constipation.
You will see a HUGE improvement in your digestive health if you simply eat when you feel that warm sensation in your tummy. I know this can be an adjustment but if you find you are bloated more days than not, you may be eating too frequently.
If you find you've tried all of these natural cures for bloating and nothing is changing, you may want to consider doing the Joyous Detox. This comprehensive online detox will teach you how to remove potential trigger foods from your diet and detox your environment too.
Have a joyous, bloat-free day!