- Julianna Sweeney
Natural Ways To Prevent & Minimize Bloating
We've all been there...
Feeling like your stomach is expanding beyond its capabilities and being unable to tame it. Not knowing whether it was the cheese you had as an afternoon snack, that beer you decided to have with dinner, or (for all my ladies out there) a result of that wonderful time of the month.
There's no magic pill you can take to rid yourself of the bloat once and for all (that would be nice, right?). There are some natural tips and habits you can integrate into your life to help prevent and minimize those uncomfortable situations though.
Natural Ways To Prevent & Minimize Bloating
Eat anti-inflammatory foods
Make sure your body is getting enough magnesium & potassium
Prebiotics and Probiotics
Drink peppermint tea
Avoid carbonated drinks
Avoid salty foods
Let's break it down...
1. Eat anti-inflammatory foods
We live in a world that places so much emphasis on "fun foods" that in actuality are just no good for us. It can be so hard to avoid them given the external pressures (marketing, socializing, etc), the accessibility (fast food, pre-packaged, usually cheaper than whole foods, etc), and the cravings - especially for us women when mother nature pays us that lovely visit every month (these foods are engineered to constantly leave you wanting more). Here are some foods to look into and lookout for to prevent and minimize bloating in your life...
AVOID carbs, artificial and inflammatory foods - in spite of popular opinion, all carbohydrates break down to glucose (aka blood sugar) during digestion. When your body senses an intake of glucose, it reacts by releasing insulin into your bloodstream. The result of a rise in insulin levels is greater retention of sodium in your body which causes you to bloat. Artificial foods and inflammatory foods cause inflammation in your digestive system (and other areas of your body). This in turn, causes bloating along with a whole multitude of other health issues.
EXAMPLES OF FOODS TO AVOID - chips, popcorn, pre-packaged/processed bread, fructose, corn syrup, dairy products, seed oils (canola, soybean, vegetable, sunflower, corn, safflower, etc - I am going to do a whole blog post dedicated to the detriments of seed oils), artificial sweeteners, candy, fried foods, processed meats, pastries, and the list goes on...
EXAMPLES OF FOODS TO EAT - Green leafy vegetables, turmeric, lemon, apple cider vinegar, celery, beets, broccoli, blueberries, pineapple, salmon, walnuts, chia seeds, coconut oil, olive oil, grass fed beef, free range eggs... as a good rule of thumb, try to eat whole foods (fresh, natural).
2. Make sure your body is getting enough magnesium & potassium
Magnesium neutralizes stomach acid and relaxes the muscles in the walls of the intestines. This can relieve bloating caused by indigestion and constipation. Potassium reduces bloating by helping rid the kidneys of excess sodium. More than 70% of the population does not reach the minimum recommendation for magnesium intake and studies have found that 98% of the population is potassium-deficient. Ensuring that you incorporate enough of these vital minerals into your daily routine can help you to prevent and minimize bloating (along with other health benefits)
MAGNESIUM rich foods - Mostly leafy greens (spinach, kale, chard) banana, fig, dark chocolate, almonds, avocado, black beans, wild caught fatty fish, pumpkin seeds
POTASSIUM rich foods - banana, avocado, sweet potato, spinach, salmon, acorn squash, pomegranate, white beans, lentils
3. Prebiotics and Probiotics
Elevating levels of the good bacteria in your gut will aid in digestion. The smoother your digestion system is running, the less susceptible to bloating you are.
PREBIOTIC/PROBIOTIC rich foods - Unpasteurized yogurt, bananas, onions, raw garlic, asparagus, dark chocolate, sauerkraut, kombucha
4. Stay hydrated
Getting the recommended 64oz of water daily will help you to regulate your body temperature, keep your joints lubricated, prevent infections, deliver nutrients to your cells, and keep your organs functioning properly. Avoid drinking while you are eating to prevent diluting your stomach acid (making it harder for your body to digest). Drinking 16oz 30 mins before eating, however, has been found to help prevent bloating after your meal.
5. Drink peppermint tea
Research has found that peppermint tea can help to reduce bloating by soothing inflammation in the digestive tract. (It also tastes delicious and is a great tea to drink before bed)
6. Stay active
Breaking a sweat during a workout can help you to get rid of some excess liquid. It also helps to activate your lymphatic system which improves your digestion, metabolic rate and circulation. This all aids in reducing bloating and water retention. It can be hard to work out sometimes though (especially for ladies who get an extra loving visit from Mother Nature each month - shoutout to my fellow warriors). Luckily, simply walking can help to reduce fluid build up in some areas and keep you active.
7. Avoid carbonated drinks
The fizz from soda, seltzer and other carbonated drinks can cause gas to get trapped in your stomach. This in turn will cause you to feel and look bloated.
8. Avoid salty foods
Consuming too much salt can be hard on our kidneys. When we reach a certain level of sodium, our kidneys can no longer process it all. The excess salt causes us to retain water and look and feel bloated.
As someone who has had a complicated relationship with bloating for most of my life so far, I can safely say that I feel your pain. I've researched and experimented with so many different things over the years and these 8 components have helped me greatly (in addition to almost completely cutting dairy out of my diet... emphasis on *almost* completely).
I hope that these natural tips help you on your journey to overcome the ever-lurking bloat. Let me know what you think in the comments below or feel free to join the conversation over on Instagram!
Sending love always,