7 simple ways to ease bloating
Here's how to avoid (and fix) uncomfortable bloating.
MAKE SURE YOU CHEW
Seems obvious, but how many of us actually chew our food well enough? The simple act of making sure to chew properly can be hugely beneficial in terms of alleviating bloating and gas.
Chewing stimulates the production of saliva, which contains digestive enzymes that begin the process of breaking down our meal. If we don’t take enough time to chew, it means extra work further on down the gut that can lead to fermentation and as such gas and bloating. Roughly aim for 30 chews per bite and once you get into the rhythm it will feel like second nature.
TAKE TIME OVER YOUR MEALS
These days we operate on speed, including the time we take over mealtimes. However, with this fast-paced eating pattern it doesn’t necessarily allow our gut ample time to break down food as efficiently, which can result in increased bloating. With this in mind try to take more time over meals and take one forkful at a time. Switch off the devices that act as distractions and can be a big reason for speed eating. Even better, have a meal time ‘phone drawer’ where they are completely out of sight and mind. Another great way to be present at mealtimes is to present your food in a way that makes it visually more appealing.
PRACTISE DAILY MINDFULNESS
One of the biggest triggers for digestive symptoms is increased amounts of stress. Some daily mindfulness practise can be incredibly effective in managing stress, especially when it is consistent. This could be meditation, or simple breathing exercises like the 4-part breath – breathing in for 4, holding for 4, breathing out for 4 and holding on empty for 4. We have to consciously exercise the mind to support the gut-brain connection, which needs to be consistent to provide ongoing benefits.
GO FOR A WALK
Walking can help to release gas that can result in bloating. Sitting down all day, often with poor posture hunched over laptops, can physically impact on the gut. Try to get some kind of daily movement in your day like a leisurely walk to help with this. Where possible take yourself outside to get sunlight and vitamin D exposure which also has its gut and mood-boosting benefits.
TRY SOME SELF-CARE SOOTHING
We can help to soothe our gut and to relieve bloating with simple self-care strategies. Having a long soak in a warm bath with essential oils can be really helpful or self-abdominal massage working in an anti-clockwise action with a body oil can also be effective for some people. Try also including teas using spices and herbs that have naturally soothing digestive properties such as fennel, ginger or chamomile.
FACTOR IN ENOUGH FIBRE
Bloating can often be a result of constipation or slower movement through the gut. If this is your case, it is vital to include sufficient amounts of fibre to support regular bowel movements.
Fibre is found in vegetables, fruit, whole grains and nuts and seeds, so try to aim for a variety of these at each and every meal.
However, too much fibre is not always a good thing, especially if you are increasing fibre in a diet very quickly. Our gut needs time to catch up so go slowly and gradually if you think you need to increase your intake.
There are also foods that are higher in their feeding effect on the microbes in our gut, called prebiotics. These include garlic, onions, leeks, wheat, asparagus and chicory. Certain people notice that these foods can increase gas and bloating but it is important to note that these are foods that feed our good bacteria too, so we don’t want to remove them long term. If you suspect that food is triggering your bloating, speak to a nutritional professional.
INCLUDE ‘GOOD BUGS’
Imbalances in the gut microbiota can also result in symptoms such as bloating. Food based forms of beneficial bacteria can be found in fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, kombucha, natural yogurt, crème fraiche and traditional cheese. Or you can look at including a supplement like KÄLLA that contains these ‘good bugs’ and can favourably sway the balance.
IMPORTANT NOTE: if bloating persists and/or is constant you must seek advice from your GP as this could be a sign of another health condition.