While it’s normal to have the occasional bout of puffiness before the start of your period, it’s not normal to feel bloated every single day. Yet so many of us struggle with this uncomfortable and unattractive problem far more than we should. Trust me, I’ve been there – I used to carry on throughout my day trying to ignore how sluggish and uncomfortable I felt. That is, until I made the connection between feeling bloated and my gut health.
In most cases, feeling bloated is a signal from your gut telling you that there’s a red flag. You’re either doing something that your gut doesn’t like, or there’s an underlying issue such as infection that needs to be taken care of. While the latter is a possibility, it’s best to start off by ensuring you’re giving your gut the TLC it deserves. For most people, trying the five natural remedies below is enough to banish the bloat for good.
If you find it persists even after trying all of these, speak to a Holistic Nutritionist, Naturopath or other integrative healthcare practitioner to find out the root cause.
Start your day with lemon water.
You may have heard it a million times by now, but till date it is one of the most powerful tools for my clients! Here’s why: lemon activates bile production in the liver, which helps us break down fat (which can be difficult for many people to digest) and acts as a natural laxative as well, helping clear out the colon. Here’s how to consume it: ½ – ¼ lemon squeezed into a glass of hot water, taken on an empty stomach in the morning.
Enjoy some dandelion tea.
If you’re more of a coffee person in the morning, you’ll want to try out dandelion tea! Not only does it taste like coffee, it acts both as a diuretic and a liver tonic. Similar to lemon water, dandelion root helps stimulate bile production, whereas dandelion leaves act as a diuretic. Aim for a combination of the two; I like this one from Traditional Medicinals (no affiliation, just love the product!)
Load up on probiotics.
Our gut needs plenty of good bacteria (probiotics) in order to aid digestion, fight off bad bacteria, toxins and pathogens, and make certain vitamins and nutrients. Unfortunately, the following substances upset the balance of good bacteria: antibiotics, the birth control pill, refined sugar, refined carbohydrates, processed food high in vegetable oils, and certain pharmaceutical drugs.
In order to reinoculate the gut, consider adding the following fermented foods to your daily diet: sauerkraut, miso, tempeh, kimchi, and kefir. I also recommend taking a multi-strain probiotic daily as well to get a therapeutic dose of probiotics (10 billion to start, and then you can work your way up to 50 billion for maintenance).
Explore food combining.
Many of us fill our tummies with such a variety of food and beverages that they can actually cause us problems with our digestive systems. The answer is to start food combining; carefully tailor what you’re consuming at one mealtime to ensure optimal digestive health.
Here are three common mistakes people make:
- Overeating: it’s important to listen to when the body is full. A good way to do this is to eat when hungry, and eat slowly and mindfully.
- Drinking large amounts of water with a meal: this dilutes our stomach acid, which is trying to break down our food.
- Eating a high starch and high protein meal at the same time: ever had a food coma after steak and potatoes? Yep, this is it. Starch digests fast, protein is slow, so if too much starch is kicking around and waiting, it’ll cause fermentation in the stomach and bloating.
Avoid dairy and gluten.
Why these two specifically? These are the most common food sensitivities and make the world of a difference for people when removed from the diet.
We need the enzyme lactase in order to digest the sugar in dairy, called lactose. Unfortunately, most of us stop producing these enzymes between the ages of 2-5, after we’ve been weaned. Plus, pasteurized milk from grocery stores kills off all beneficial enzymes that aid in digestion. That’s why so many people feel gassy and bloated after consuming milk, cheese and ice cream. Simply swap it for non-dairy milk like almond, cashew, coconut or hemp.
Yes, I know, we all love bread! Unfortunately wheat is no longer what is used to be thanks to bioengineering and hybridization that has created a wheat product much higher in gluten than before. Gluten (known as “glue” in Latin) is a sticky protein that gives bread its chewy texture. Too much of this sticky glue in our gut makes it difficult to absorb nutrients, and allows bad bacteria to flourish. Here’s what you can do: explore gluten-free grains such as quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth, millet, and brown rice, and other gluten-free products on the market.
These remedies will all make an incredible difference to the health of your gut and help you banish that belly bloat for good. If you find that the discomfort persists even after trying all of these, speak to a Holistic Nutritionist, Naturopath or other integrative healthcare practitioner to find out the root cause.