Tips to reduce bloating
It’s World Digestive Health Day and so I wanted to share some tips on managing bloating. This is such a common problem, but it can be difficult to work out what is causing it.
Stress can be a factor as when we are stressed, our digestive system is dampened down, leading to problems with digestion. Our hormone levels can also affect digestion and make the gut more sensitive; this is why people sometimes develop digestive problems during the perimenopause. So, reducing stress and balancing hormones can help to improve our digestion.
Here are a few other things to try to see if they help:
- Eat mindfully – we all do it sometimes, we rush our food down to get on to the next task or eat on the go. This is bad for our digestion and means we are probably not producing the digestive enzymes we need to break our food down easily. Taking time to prepare food, thinking about the meal you are about to eat and savouring the smell of the food cooking all helps to prepare our body for food and stimulate our digestion. Slow down and really focus on the food you are eating and enjoy the food.
- Chew your food well – it sounds obvious, but when we are rushing, we often don’t chew food for very long before swallowing. The more broken down the food is in the mouth, the less work our digestive system has to do.
- Focus on easy to digest foods such as soups, smoothies and stews.
- If digesting meat is a problem for you, try a slow cooker so it is very tender. Or marinate the meat before cooking or squeeze lemon juice over the meat to help break it down.
- Avoid processed and sugary foods as these can be hard to break down and ferment in the gut, adding to bloating.
- Feed your gut plenty of good bacteria through probiotic foods such as kefir, sauerkraut, live yoghurt and kimchi. Prebiotic foods provide fuel for the probiotics and can be found in fibre, particularly leeks, onions, garlic and artichokes.
- Keep a food and symptom diary to see if there are any obvious triggers to your bloating. Don’t be put off if it doesn’t throw up any patterns. Sometimes when symptoms are severe it can be hard to see a pattern as the problem is there all the time. Once you start to reduce inflammation or reduce some of the problematic foods, you may then see a pattern occurring.
Sometimes it really takes a bit of detective work to understand what is causing your bloating to know how to tackle it. This can mean doing some testing to see what your gut bacteria are like and if there are any underlying food sensitivities that may be driving the bloating. We may also need to do some work on soothing or repairing the gut lining if this has become inflamed.
In conditions such as endometriosis, where the endometriosis may be affecting the bowel and causing the bloating, we also need to do some work on reducing inflammation and balancing hormone levels.
That’s where seeing a nutritional therapist can be helpful to work through what might be causing your symptoms and devising a plan to help you manage them.
Do get in touch if you would like to talk through any digestive problems you may be experiencing and what the options might be to manage this. I offer free, no obligation 30 minute hormone health review calls to talk things through.
The information contained above is provided for information purposes only. The contents of this blog are not intended to amount to advice and you should not rely on any of the contents of this blog. Professional advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from taking any action as a result of the contents of this blog. Emma Belton Nutrition disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on any of the contents of this blog.