Bloating is something that I am way too familiar with – in fact, I struggled with bloating for years! When it comes to our gut health, bloating is one of the biggest concerns and struggles I hear about, so I wanted to share a few reasons why you might be bloating AND some tips to help you beat the bloat. These are tips that I found really helped me when I first started healing my gut and are my top tips I give to my clients when I work with them.
There are SO many reasons why you might be bloating and if you’ve struggled with bloating for some time then I really recommend you speak to a professional about it so get to the root of the issue. These are only a few reasons why you might be bloating and some of the most common ones.
If you’ve put your digestive tract through its paces then it might cause you to bloat. I know that after almost 10 years of living with an eating disorder, my digestive system was so unhealthy and my gut health was almost non-existent purely because I had abused my body for so long. If you’re a consistent dieter or a fan of crash-dieting, then now is the time to stop. Our guts are the main central hub for our health so it’s important to look after them, feed them with nourishing foods and STOP abusing them.
I know there is a temptation to drink while you’re eating or in between mouthfuls, especially if you’re eating spicy or dry food. Drinking fluids during your meal can cause you to bloat as the water remains in your stomach while you’re eating and can’t pass through your digestive system. If you need to drink then try to drink before or after your meal.
Our bodies can only digest a certain amount of food at one time. When we overeat, our bodies can’t handle that volume of food and therefore can cause us to bloat.
When we eat foods we’re sensitive too, it causes inflammation in our bodies and that’s when we end up bloating. Our gut health is so important when it comes to breaking down certain foods and sometimes we just can’t tolerate those foods. When they enter our digestive system it causes that inflammation and that leads to bloating.
The digestion of our food actually starts in our mouths. When we chew, enzymes are released to start the break down of that food. If we eat too quickly, we limit the amount of time that enzyme has to break down the food before it moves to our stomach. That means that our stomachs and digestive tracts have WAY more work to do and that is one way you can bloat from eating too quickly.
Another way is that when you eat too quickly there’s a higher chance of swallowing air and that can cause you to bloat too.
When our gut health is poor it can lead to constipation and that block in our digestive tract can cause bloating.
Stress can also cause you to bloat. When you’re stressed, hormones are released that send your body into fight or flight mode. When this happens, energy is sent to our heart, lungs and muscles to help prepare us for this ‘fight’ or ‘flight’. That energy is taken from systems in our body that we no longer need at that time – such as the digestive system. When we’re stressed, this system shuts down and stops working. That momentary pause can cause us to bloat.
Peppermint tea is one of my favourites to drink when it comes to gut health. The mint helps to line the stomach and can prevent bloating and stomach upset when we eat food. I always recommend drinking peppermint tea half an hour before meals. Fennel tea is also a great one to drink if you’re bloated and want to calm down your stomach.
Warm water is great to drink as it is kind on our gut and helps to keep things moving. Whenever I drink water, I fill my bottle up with half boiling water and half cold. This is great to drink throughout the day and keeps your digestive tract ticking along nicely.
You can also add digestive enzymes into your water that help your gut too such as fresh lemon or apple cider vinegar.
Firstly, if you’re having any other fizzy drink than sparkling water it’s time to cut it out! Those fizzy drinks are NOT good for you in any way and the preservatives, additives and sugar alone are enough to cause bloating.
If you drink sparkling water (I LOVE sparkling water), then it’s time to cut it out while you’re suffering with bloat. The air bubbles in the water will cause you to bloat, so stick with room temperature water until it subsides.
Fibre also helps to keep your digestive system moving and it keeps your gut humming along happily. Try to get your fibre in by eating nutritious whole foods such as whole grains like quinoa & rice, vegetables and fruits. The vegetables and fruits also have antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that assist in gut health too.
There are so many additives and preservatives in processed foods that our bodies struggle to break down. If you’re bloating, it means that your gut is unhappy and needs a bit of TLC; the last thing it needs is a bunch of artificial colours, flavouring and preservatives that it doesn’t know what to do with.
This is a great way to reduce the stress and encourage your body to relax while you’re eating. Enjoy the food you’re eating and take the time to eat. Slow your chewing down, allow those enzymes to work and while you’re relaxed it will mean your digestive system will also be functioning well.
I recommend getting professional help such as a health coach to help you figure out what it is you’re sensitive too and what might be causing you to bloat in the first place. It’s always best to find the root cause of the problem and sometimes finding out what foods cause you to bloat is a great start.
You can also do this yourself by making a food diary and writing down how you felt straight after you’ve eaten and how you felt 2-3 hours after you’ve eaten. Start narrowing down the foods that are causing that bloat.
Both of these encourage our digestive systems to work optimally.
When you reduce your stress, it meant that your body is in it’s ‘rest and digest’ state – the parasympathetic nervous system has kicked into play. When this happens, your digestive system is switch back on into ‘work’ mode and can continue to assimilate your food.
Sleep is essential when it comes to healing your gut and your bloat as this is the time your body is in a fully rested state – it gives your gut the chance to heal and repair itself for the following day.