Healing and Helping the bloat
Since I was in high school, I’ve struggled with bloating. From the uncontrollable stomach pains to tight feeling and uncomfortable clothing – I have gone through it all.
I spent years going to doctors and naturopaths trying to figure out what was the problem and how I could fix it. Through this, I have found cutting out dairy, gluten, and sugar a practical savior to my bloating problem. Yet, I am still a 23-year-old girl who enjoys bread, wine and sweets. Thus, when I can’t follow my usual healthy diet, bloating still occurs.
So, what can you do to help prevent and heal the bloating?
Healing and preventing the bloat:
1. Bye Bye gluten, dairy, and sugar.
As I’ve just said above, these are practically the most important things to cut out of your diet in order to officially heal the bloating problem. It does, at first, seem practically impossible to do as these are some of the key ingredients in our societies food groups… unfortunately. But, I promise you once completed, you will feel a major improvement in your overall gut health.
One recommendation is that instead of fully cutting out sugar, you can use stevia. I love the Pyure Organic All-Purpose Blend Stevia Sweetener, 16 oz. This is great to add to your coffee’s or even if you’re cooking something sweet up. I love it and it’s all natural!
Those looking for something to spice up the taste of things once the cut has been made should consider this amazing completely vegan flavour filled acai powder.
It’s amazing to put in smoothies or acai bowls. I absolutely love this brand and recommend checking it out here.
2. Peppermint (Oil, tea, and leaf)
This is probably one of the most effective ingredients in immediately alleviating and healing overall symptoms of bloating. I actually found out about this trick from a sales lady at a health food store around Toronto. Peppermint is extremely useful in digestion and has relaxant properties that aid in bloating.
It can be used for immediate relief as well, as a form of treatment for long-lasting relief. Personally, I find adding peppermint oil to hot water (just a couple drops) relieves pain immediately. Whereas, drinking peppermint tea early in the morning and at night (or after each meal) helps reduce the amount of bloating I get overall. I do recommend hot water when dealing with bloating. For some reason, it helps reduce pain in the stomach where cold water tends to irritate the digestive tract.
This is the peppermint tea that I use. I find it one of the most effective teas. It helps soothe my stomach instantly!Traditional Medicinals Organic Peppermint Tea, 16 Tea Bags (Pack of 6)
3. Eliminate Coffee
Eliminate can be a harsh word. Especially when referencing coffee. Coffee, unfortunately, seems to be everyone’s favorite drug (besides sugar..). We drink it in the morning and sometimes, we barely function without it. Yet, when it comes to bloating – it is not your friend.
It is a common mistake to believe coffee actually helps with any form of digestion. People believe because it helps them pass a bowel movement that it actually helps them reduce bloating – wrong. Coffee is very acidic; water and sodium cause inflammation in the stomach and for some people, these symptoms can be extreme.
Sadly, caffeine is probably one of the worst things for your digestive system. If you must have a coffee, make sure for each coffee you have, you drink hot water with lemon. This is the only thing that can help maintain a normal pH level in your body to help fight inflammation.
4. No raw veggies (FODMAPS)
Whenever I think of healthy eating and digestive health, I think vegetables. But just recently, I found out that raw vegetables can cause serious bloating especially, FODMAPS.
FODMAP’s stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols. What are these things you ask? Well, they are a group of short-chain carbohydrates that are poorly absorbed in the GI (gastrointestinal) tract. Those who suffer from IBS have an extremely hard time digesting any high FODMAP foods. What’s interesting, is that even some of the healthiest find it difficult to digest these foods as well.
|High FODMAP Foods||Low FODMAP Foods|
If you’re looking for a great steamer, one of my favorites is this Oster CKSTSTMD5-W 5-Quart Food Steamer, White. What I love most about this is that you can steam more than one thing at once; veggies, chicken, fish etc… It has an automatic 60-minute timer and it’s dishwasher safe. If you’re not a fan of the stove top steamers this is perfect for you!
Now, if you are a fan of the over the pan stove top steamers I recommend using a silicone steamer that has handles link this one OXO Good Grips Silicone Steamer, Green. The handles will prevent you from burning your hands and the silicone won’t scratch your pots and pans.
Top Gut-Health Recipes that will help cure your bloat:
5. Working out (Walking/Running)
The best way to heal bloating and digestive issues is to workout. I found in the past that doing sit-ups and crunches really helped me digest foods better and reduce the amount of bloating I felt overall. Also, workouts like running and walking, really helped me reduce immediate and long-lasting bloating.
Here is one of my best tips. Though it is common to want to rest and relax after a big meal, the best way to beat bloating after eating is to go for a 10 -15-minute walk (I always aim for 10,000 steps a day. It helps reduce bloating in the future as well!). The movement and muscle contractions you experience while you walk, actually help alleviate any form of tension in your digestive system. This, in turn, helps reduce bloating, gas and constipation.
The most effective remedy is to work out every single day. As long as you’re walking, running or any form of a workout (yoga, pilates etc..) you’re helping yourself prevent further bloating. Working out really is the key to health.
Here is the delicious completely vegan pre-workout that I use. Perfect for those who are already into fitness that are looking to have a change from the typical unhealthy whey powder. In my recent post, I talk about how Plant-based powders are actually beneficial for the body, check it out here.
This powder is amazing because it’s not only vegan but gluten and soy free. It also contains no GMO’s! If you’re interested in checking it out click here!
Here is a great fitness tracker (that is also waterproof and within a good budget) for those interested in counting their steps.Fitness Tracker with Sleep Monitor, OUTAD Activity Tracker Waterproof Smart Watch with Heart Rate Monitor, IP67 Walking Pedometer Calorie Counter Watch SMS Remind for iOS/Android Smart phone. You can use an app on your phone as well!
Probiotics are essential in a healthy gut as they provide your body with the ‘good’ bacteria it needs. It’s interesting to note that our gut holds over 100 trillion bacterias (both good and bad). The majority of the unhealthy foods we eat daily, actually strip your gut from its good bacteria. Thus, incorporating probiotics into your system help maintain your body’s good to bad ratio of bacteria.
One of the probiotics that are most commonly and best used for bloating is Lactobacillus Acidophilus. It is actually already one of the bacterias found in your intestines and plays a major role in gut health. L. Acidophilus can be found in a number of fermented foods such as miso, tempeh, and sauerkraut. This is one of the best probiotics I can recommend. On the other hand, there are plenty of amazing probiotics that you can take that will help relieve bloating.
Here are some recommended probiotics:
This is the prebiotic/ probiotic that I personally would recommend. Ora organic is a brand that I completely trust, especially their probiotic brands. They are all made in a facility in San Diego and are 100% vegan, gluten and soy free, and no GMO’s. These probiotics are high quality and effective. If you’re interested in purchasing some, click this link here!
This is a great L. Acidophilus. I recommended using a trusted brand. Many brands haven’t been kept liable for the ingredients that they use. If you’re going to pay for a probiotic make sure it is one of good quality like this one.
FLORACIL50 – Daily Probiotic to Improve Digestive, Urinary, Colon & Immune Issues, 50 Billion CFUs Per Capsule, 8 Strains Including Lactobacillus Rhamnosus, L Reuteri & Lactobacillus Acidophilus
1. Peppermint oil
As noted above, peppermint oil can be used to provide immediate and long-lasting bloating discomfort. I found a small bottle of peppermint oil at my local natural health food store and added two to three droplets into my hot or warm water. For some reason, peppermint oil is the best remedy to immediately take effect. Whenever I was in chronic pain, peppermint oil was something I could count on to take effect right away and help me feel much better.
The only problem with peppermint oil is that it is not something that will forever fix feeling bloated. If you continuously eat the wrong foods and aren’t taking any further actions to improve your gut health, you will, unfortunately, continue having gut issues, such as bloating. This is just a temporary and immediate relief to stomach pains caused by bloating. Though, peppermint teas can increasingly help your overall gut health.
Here is one of my favorites! This is an excellent peppermint oil that will immediately begin to make you feel better.
2. Hot Or Warm Green Tea
As I’m sure you’ve read and heard before, green tea is a metabolism booster. It is one of those amazing things that not only help you feel healthier but also lose weight. Green tea has been proven to help improve exercise performance as well, it contains plenty of amazing antioxidants. Overall, green tea is healthy and it is amazing!
How does green tea help bloating? Though it does contain caffeine, green tea is used as a natural diuretic that helps reduce excess water in your body and help digestion. Green tea can also aid in stomach pains, feelings of fullness and bloat. Green tea is one of the oldest healing beverages known to mankind and can be used to help the immediate symptoms of bloating.
3. Hot Lemon Water
I cannot stress enough how beneficial hot lemon water is. I always find drinking a glass of hot lemon water early in the morning and then again before bed, is the best way to start and end your day. It helps you feel less bloated and more at ease. Another trick that I do is add a little bit of honey, cayenne pepper and apple cider vinegar – amazing.
Again, lemon is another natural diuretic that helps reduce the amount of salt in the body and helps retention of water. This, in turn, helps you feel less bloated before and, or after meals.
4. Stomach Massages
Yes. You read this right – stomach massages. After months of feeling pains in my stomach, I eventually resulted in massaging my own stomach. I’m not a doctor and I don’t have any scientific evidence that this will dramatically help you. But, I personally have done this countless amounts of times and it seems to always help my stomach. Whether I’m having trouble digesting my food or I have serious chronic pains, I lay down on my back and firmly massage my stomach up/down then side to side. Again, I’m not a doctor so I can give you any detailed explanation as for why this helps me so much but my assumption is that it helps get everything moving along in your GI tract.
In the past, I have found holding yoga poses for up to a minute (or longer) has really helped me feel better. Especially when feeling severe stomach pains I usually hold the downward dog or pigeon pose for as long as I can while breathing deeply.
A large percent of the time, stomach pains occur because of tension in the muscles in and around the stomach, hips and leg area. By stretching daily and making sure your hips especially, are loose and open, you will find that you’ll be digesting a lot better than usual.
If you find that you are someone with tense muscles or someone who is stressed regularly this can be an easy solution to your problem. Not only does yoga and stretching help the body but it also helps the mind. Stress is, unfortunately, another key factor in bloating, while yoga and stretching can help alleviate these symptoms.
Stretching is so beneficial for the body, especially concerning bloating and stomach pains as muscle tension is one of the main factors for constipation, stomach pains, flatulence and bloating. It may seem too simple to be true but taking 10-30 minutes out of your day to have a relaxing stretch or do some yoga will majorly improve your digestive well-being.
I’m a huge fan of these stretching straps! When your body is really tense these are perfect to help you properly stretch. These stretching techniques are really going to help open your hips and release muscle tension in your body. The Original Stretch Out Strap with Exercise Poster by OPTP – Top Choice of Physical Therapists & Athletic Trainers
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