Recently I worked with a lovely lady called Jane, who had been plagued by bloating for many years. Jane's bloating always started after lunch and then got worse during the afternoon and evening. She also had trouble with her energy and felt like her mood was affected by the constant bloating and tiredness.
There are lots of reasons why bloating can happen. I'm going to share with you some tips to reduce the bloat. And I'll also tell you how Jane is feeling now :).
1. Cut back on coffee
Coffee can cause bloating by triggering your stress hormones. Stress hormones negatively impact how well your food is digested. If you regularly have a few coffees in the morning, try cutting back, or eliminating coffee all together for a few weeks to see if this improves your symptoms.
2. Drink lemon juice in water before meals
Drinking lemon juice in warm water 20 minutes before a meal can increase your production of stomach acid and help you to digest the food properly. Properly digested food is less likely to cause bloating.
3. Chew your food
Chewing your food well can also reduce bloating. Try to chew each mouthful at least 20 times, or until what you are swallowing is mush. This is how our digestive system is designed to work. Remember that there are no teeth in your stomach.
4. Suspect food intolerances
If you have a hunch that certain food(s) give you bloating then it's a good idea to seek some help to get to the root cause. It can be difficult to pinpoint which foods cause bloating because intolerances can cause symptoms up to 48 hours after you've consumed the food.
Eliminating all the foods that you suspect cause bloating is not a good long term solution, because this type of restricted eating can lead to nutrient deficiencies. Also, restricting what you eat makes it difficult when you're socialising.
In the first instance, write a diary of everything you eat for a week or two and see if you can observe a link between what you eat and how you feel.
See a naturopath. Naturopaths are great at working with you to reduce bloating and other symptoms caused by food intolerances.
5. Herbal medicine to reduce bloating
Herbal medicine can reduce bloating by providing liver support and soothing the digestive tract. I also use herbal medicine for nervous system support and immune modulation to reduce food intolerances. The herbal prescription depends on the symptoms and stresses the person comes in with.
I have found by experience that it's beneficial for clients to see me regularly for at least 8 weeks to obtain a great result.
I have developed a Digestive Health Package of 4 consultations that I recommend to people who regularly experience bloating and other symptoms.
6. Increase vegetables
Gut bacteria is responsible for a lot of bloating. Healthy gut bacteria can contribute towards our energy, immune system and a healthy mood.
Our gut bacteria can become unbalanced when we are not eating enough vegetables. Eating a minimum of 5 different vegetables every day can increase the numbers of healthy bacteria, because they thrive on a diet rich in vegetables.
7. Cut back on carbonated drinks
This is an obvious one for most people, as many of us have experienced gas after drinking down a soft drink. Soft drinks aren't good for you and if you like to drink them, try to limit them to special occasions only.
8. Eat mindfully
Sometimes the digestive system doesn't work properly because we just eat too fast without thinking about what we are doing.
For our digestive system to work well, we need to be relaxed and focussed on the food we are eating, instead of worrying about 100 other tasks.
If you are interested in the benefits of mindfulness, you can read more about it here.
So back to Jane.
I helped Jane to change the foods she ate at breakfast, to give her some more energy during the day. We identified that the stress that she was under was affecting her digestion and causing her to bloat after lunch. I gave her some herbal remedies to help with the digestion and stress response and some recommendations for diet changes.
Jane is full of energy now and has found the fun in life again. Whenever I see her, she has just returned from a mini holiday to some fantastic destination. The bloating has stopped but she still has to take care to manage her stress levels, which she does with yoga, regular holidays and being realistic about how much she can achieve in a day.
If you are interested in finding out about working with me to improve your digestive health, I recommend you take a look at the Digestive Health Package. Please go to my website to make a booking or contact me.
I am a naturopath, nutritionist, herbalist and certified wellness coach with clinics in Gladesville and Sydney CBD.
This blog contains information from my Bachelor of Health Science degree, continuing research, and from experience gained from working with men and women in my clinic.
The blog is not intended as individual health advice and you should seek assistance for medical conditions.