Bloating can happen to anyone, and is less than enjoyable. It’s usually caused by poor eating habits, but it can also be related to stress or PMS, weak digestion, allergies or food sensitives, or other medical conditions (some serious). If you have been feeling bloated lately, start paying attention to what may be causing this- Does it happen after you eat a certain food? Does it happen when you are rushed and eating mindlessly? Is it happening every once in a while or on a consistent basis? Keeping a journal may help you identify how often it is happening, and even what habits or foods may be causing the bloat to occur.
You can also start by practicing some of these…
Go-to No-Bloat TIPS-
- Start your day with warm, lemon water- This wakes up your digestive system and helps your body to flush toxins out and absorb nutrients from your food. I’ve noticed that this alone has really helped me.
- Eat whole, unrefined foods- Try eating more whole foods like fruits, vegetables (if having cruciferous veggies like broccoli and cauliflower make sure they are cooked, as they can cause bloat), clean protein, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and healthy fats and oils, and less processed foods that have things like preservatives and chemicals that can cause bloat. Even check those protein powders- Are they organic? From a reputable, quality brand? Full of allergenic foods? While convenient, sticking to whole foods is always your best choice.
- Practice mindful eating- This also means paying attention to how you feel after certain foods and meals. Feel bloated after a big meal? Try eating smaller portions and chewing your food more thoroughly. Feel bloated after a protein shake? Buy an easier to digest, quality protein or skip out on them for a while. Does fiber make you bloated? Try having smaller portions of it. Not hungry? Don’t mindlessly eat. The more you are aware of HOW you feel after eating certain foods, the easier it is to pinpoint what foods your body may not agree with.
- Watch your food-combining- Some people’s digestive systems are more vulnerable to proper food combining, so if you are finding you are bloated often after meals, follow these rules and your bloat issue should improve:
- Avoid eating protein with starches or fruit
- Eat fruit on an empty stomach, or with greens (eat melon separately always)- This one is huge, so often people have fruit for dessert and add them to their oats without realizing this may be the culprit causing stomach pain and bloat
- Don’t combine different proteins together
- Don’t combine different starches together
- Don’t combine fats with starches
- Allow yourself 3 hours between meals- This allows your body time to properly digest your meal without being over-worked.
- Add digestive enzymes and probiotics to your diet- Digestive enzymes are special proteins made by the body and used to break down various foods. However, if your body is not producing enough of these enzymes it could be contributing to bloat. Try taking one digestive enzyme before each meal to see if this helps control bloating. I recently got the Garden of Life Chewable Digestive Enzymes and have been loving them. Probiotics from food sources like coconut kefir, Kombucha, sauerkraut and tempeh are also great for feeding your good gut bacteria ensuring there is more good bacteria to bad bacteria, which helps your gut be able to do its job optimally.
- Don’t drink water while eating, but do stay hydrated- When you drink water with your food it can dilute your body’s digestive juices enabling them to do their job properly. Water is important though, so make sure you are drinking 8-12 cups a day (depending on your activity level). By staying hydrated your body releases fluids which can help with bloat.
- Add anti-bloat foods to your diet- This includes ginger, cucumber, berries, parsley, lemon, pineapple, avocado, spinach, papaya, celery, mint tea, and flax seeds.
- Avoid Dairy- Dairy can cause bloating in a lot people because many cannot digest it properly and breakdown the dairy sugar lactose. If lactose isn’t broken down it will travel to your large intestine indigested and cause bloat.
If you are experiencing bloat, try these tips to see if they help to relieve it. As mentioned, having a food intolerance or sensitivity can also contribute to bloating. If the bloating persists, you may want to take a food sensitivity and allergy test, or visit your medical doctor for an evaluation, as bloating can be a contributor to more serious medical conditions as well.