Do you ever feel a bit overextended in the belly after a meal? Maybe even gassy? Have you ever carried a “food baby?”
Bloating is common. Up to 25-30% of people experience it regularly. It’s a sign that your body is having difficulty digesting. The symptoms come from excess gas, reactions to foods, or food not moving through you as well as it could.
There are many reasons you might experience these symptoms. Maybe because of a serious condition (disease), or a food allergy or intolerance (what you eat). It can also result from how you eat.
I’ve got some tips to help you deal with bloating. But if you have a digestive condition like IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), then make sure you’re looking for the root cause of your symptoms with a health practitioner.
On the other hand, if you notice that some key foods you eat are giving you gas, simply avoid them, until you can figure out what’s going on. When foods give you gas it’s a sign that they’re disrupting your gut ecosystem.
If you’re already doing those things, and still experience bloating, here are some great tips for dealing with it naturally.
1 - Don’t overeat
If you overeat at a meal, then you’ll feel bigger around the mid-section. You’ll feel more pressure in your abdomen. Plus, you’re giving your digestive system a hard time. It’s better to eat until you feel almost full and not overindulge. Grab an extra snack or small meal throughout the day if you have to. Just don’t over-stuff yourself in one sitting.
2 - Avoid sugar alcohols
Sugar alcohols are low-calorie sweeteners made from sugars. In an ingredients list, they end in "-ol,” and include things like sorbitol, xylitol, and erythritol. They’re found in some chewing gums and sugar-free foods (just because it’s sugar-free doesn’t mean it’s healthy). Some people experience bloating after eating foods with these. So, try avoiding them to see if that helps you.
3 - Avoid swallowing air
Sometimes the gas that causes pressure in your digestive system is from swallowing air. Things like carbonated drinks are the biggest culprit here. You can also swallow air when you chew gum or drink through a straw, so try ditching these.
You can also swallow air when eating too quickly or while talking. Which leads me to...
4 - Eat slower, more mindfully, and less stressed
Eating too fast isn’t doing your digestive system any favors. You can help the food move along by chewing thoroughly and slowing down your eating habits. Be mindful and enjoy the time you spend eating your meals. Savour them.
The feeling of stress can also cause increased bloating. Stress-reducing techniques can help improve your digestion. Try meditating or deep breathing before and after meal times (but not while you’re eating). 🙂
5 - Try peppermint
Peppermint oil has been shown to decrease bloating. It’s thought to increase transit time by relaxing the stomach muscles and increasing the flow of bile. Try steeping fresh peppermint leaves, or a peppermint tea bag, and drinking it slowly. See if that helps reduce your symptoms.
There are a number of natural ways to deal with bloating.
First, avoid it by not eating things that give you gas or aggravate a digestive issue. Try not to overeat, consume sugar alcohols, or swallow air. Also, eating more mindfully and reducing stress can help too. Finally, if you are experiencing bloating, enjoy a cup of peppermint tea.
If you do all of these, and still experience bloating, then you may have a food intolerance or food allergy. If you have a major concern, then please see your doctor. Your doctor can help to rule out a serious and/or chronic condition.
Recipe (peppermint): Peppermint Mocha Creamer
1 can coconut milk
½ cup almond milk, unsweetened
2 Tbsp. cacao powder, unsweetened
½ tsp peppermint extract or essential oil (food-grade and safe for internal use)
3 Tbsp. honey or maple syrup (optional)
Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until well combined.
Store in a sealed container in your fridge.
Add to your coffee, smoothie, or tea & enjoy!
Tip: While the non-peppermint ingredients in this creamer may or may not be “de-bloating” for you, try these ideas too:
- Grow peppermint yourself;
- Chew on the fresh leaves; and/or
- Steep them for tea.