Who likes feeling as if you swallowed a basketball? I’m guessing that there’s no one out there who enjoys having a bloated belly, but it’s a common occurrence, especially for women, because not only can food make you bloated, but PMS can too. It makes you feel heavy, miserable, and definitely not very sexy. It doesn’t make buttoning or zipping up your pants easy either.
While there are multiple home remedies that can help, one thing you might want to consider first, or along with those remedies, is a diet change. Foods that contain something referred to as FODMAPS, which are certain carbohydrates found in common foods that contain sugar alcohols, fructose, lactose, fructans, and galactans. That’s because they draw excess fluid in your digestive system which can result in bloating and other digestive issues. In fact, research out of London’s King’s College focused on IBS sufferers, found that participants who followed a low FODMAP diet experience 82 percent less bloating.
Aim to be a conscious eater too, as it’s one of the most important things you can do to prevent bloating. Being aware of how you feel, how hungry you are, and the effects that certain foods will have on your body, help you to adjust your eating habits for the better, with most people doing best on a diet filled with whole foods that come from the Earth.
In addition to following a low FODMAP diet, and limiting or avoiding processed and fast foods, you might want to try one of these tried and true home remedies.
You know those weeds growing in your lawn? You might want to consider consuming them if they’re dandelions that is. These common plants that annoy lawn perfectionists everywhere actually contain lots of dietary fiber that supports better digestive health. Dandelion greens add bulk to stools for healthier bowel movements while helping to prevent becoming constipated in the first place. You can toss some into a salad, or turn them into a tea by simply pouring a cup of almost boiling water over a teaspoon or two of the dried leaves. It’s actually a rather effective natural laxative, so you might want to try this at home first just in case until you know how it affects you.
Taking a supplement is something you can easily do at home, and one of the biggest benefits of probiotics is combating belly bloat. That’s because when your gut is out of balance, it can lead to a host of different problems, including indigestion and bloating. While it’s always smart to follow a nutritious diet that contains probiotic-rich foods, such as kefir, kombucha and yogurt, you may want to consider taking a high-quality supplement to aid in repopulating that gut with healthy bacteria.
These seeds may be tiny, but they’re one of the best things you can do for your digestive system as they provide an excellent balance of insoluble and soluble fiber that work together, acting as a natural detoxifier that can help prevent constipation and other digestive problems over time. Including flaxseeds in your diet, can help heal all sorts of serious digestive ailments too, including IBS, Crohn’s disease, and colitis. They work as a natural laxative to eliminate bloat by expanding in the digestive system when coming into contact with fluids. They help to add bulk to your stools, which ensures they can pass smoothly through the intestinal tract, without backing things up.
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, research that involved those suffering from chronic constipation that was the result of irritable bowel syndrome found that adding flaxseeds to their diets was able to dramatically reduce symptoms, including bloating, constipation and abdominal pain.
4. Peppermint Oil
Peppermint is one of the most popular herbs when it comes to eliminating digestive problems as it contains the active compound menthol which offers antispasmodic properties. It also helps to trigger the secretion of bile and gastric juices which can help expel gas, getting rid of bloat quickly. Research published in the British Medical Journal demonstrated that peppermint essential oil was more effective for treating IBS than consuming a fiber-rich diet or taking an antispasmodic medication. The University of Maryland Medical Center reports that it works because its antispasmodic properties serve to calm the stomach muscles while helping to improve the flow of bile, something that’s used to aid the body in digesting fats and allows food to pass through the stomach easier and more quickly.
One of the best ways to use peppermint oil to prevent bloat and constipation in the first place is by adding a drop to an 8-ounce glass of water, sipping before every meal. If you’re battling bloat already, combine a couple of drops of the oil with a teaspoon of warmed coconut oil. Massage the mixture directly onto your abdomen while inhaling the aroma, which helps to get things moving and relax the muscles at the same time. Repeat two to three times daily until the issue has resolved.
5. Lemon & Apple Cider Vinegar
If you suffer from chronic bloating, one of the best things you can do to stop it, and for your overall health, is to get in the habit of consuming a glass of water at room temperature with a teaspoon of raw apple cider vinegar and a squeeze of lemon every morning. Do it as soon as you get up, allowing the apple cider vinegar, which is rich in enzymes, to wake up your lymphatic system and start going to work on helping your digestive system running like it should all day long. As lemons are high in alkaline, the lemon juice also helps to balance your body’s pH, further helping to address those digestive woes.
6. Cucumber Water
So you’ve started your day out by drinking water with lemon juice and apple cider vinegar- now, you should follow that up by sipping cucumber water throughout the day. Staying hydrated by drinking lots of water is one of the best things you can do for your health, including your digestive tract. Adding cucumber makes it act as a natural diuretic thanks to its silica content which aids in diminishing bloat.
One of the best ways to do that is to simply fill up mason jars with filtered water and cucumber slices. Put them in the fridge and drink all day long. The idea is to drink half your weight in ounces of cucumber water, so if you weigh 150 pounds, you should be drinking 75 ounces each day.
Ginger is an age-old remedy that’s not only used as a food but is often used as medicine for treating all sorts of health problems. It’s arguably most famous for its ability to help heal digestive issues and for its detoxing abilities, frequently used in cleansing programs as it helps to stimulate digestion and boost circulation. It offers powerful action to the digestive system, aiding in cleansing wastes and toxins that tend to build up in organs like the liver, colon, and others.
Ginger has carminative, or calming, effects that soothe the digestive tract and alleviate gas to relieve you from bloating while thinning the blood and improving circulation to relieve the pain and discomfort. It contains gingerols, compounds that are known to act as an effective pain reliever and also provides antibacterial, antiviral, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties that help strengthen the immune system while reducing inflammation that further addresses bloating and indigestion. These agents also serve to sustain digestive enzymes that neutralize acids, supporting the entire digestive process.
The easiest way to effectively use ginger is to make a tea from fresh ginger root. Simply grate a chunk about an inch of the root and add it to a mug. Pour a cup of almost boiling water over it and allow it to steep for about 10 minutes before sipping. Drink it before a meal to prevent bloating, or any time to get rid of it.
Including more spices in your cooking not only adds more flavor to any dish, but it can also help improve your digestive woes, especially when using turmeric. The active compound in turmeric that gives it its bright color and is responsible for so many of its benefits, is curcumin a fat-soluble antioxidant which is known to offer antispasmodic activity that can help calm muscles and inhibit spasms in the intestines. The spice itself is a carminative, which helps to protect against the formation of gas, preventing the overproduction of acids that can lead to flatulence, and ultimately, bloating. Studies have found that it can provide significant improvements in bloating as well as abdominal pain and pressure. Britt Brandon, CFNS, CPT, fitness and nutrition author, and blogger advises: “For fast flatulence relief, turmeric can be used as an effective, all-natural remedy that’s not only able to treat the symptoms of gas but the underlying issues as well.”
There are many ways to cook more often with turmeric, it can be tossed into many dishes, from scrambled eggs to stir-fries, turmeric bombs or even added to a smoothie. Another simple strategy when you’re suffering from bloating is to stir a tablespoon of turmeric into an eight-ounce glass of water and drink it down.
Ever wonder why so many athletes, especially runners, choose bananas as their ideal go-to snack? They’re well-known to help sustain energy levels due to their high amount of potassium, but that important mineral also helps to regulate fluid balance, which will help flatten belly bloat as well as ease digestive issues like constipation. In addition to potassium, they contain lots of healthy pectin, which provides soluble fiber. Soluble fiber aids in soothing the digestive tract as it absorbs excess water in the colon, helping to push out impacted fecal matter while stabling contractions in the intestine, like gas or cramping.
Before you take that first bite, however, be sure that your banana isn’t overripe. Ideally, it should be just right. If it’s too ripe, it may taste sweeter, but it can make your bloating worse. That’s because the riper the banana is, the more sugar there is, plus there’s the potential for some rotting on top of that. All in all, a too ripe banana is likely to wreak havoc on your digestion instead of making things better. So is a banana that’s too green, so try to find one that doesn’t have many brown spots, with little to no green.
10. Fennel Tea
Finally, perhaps the best for last. Fennel is one of the best things you can do to battle that bloated feeling. It’s been used for thousands of years in many different ancient cultures, as the seeds contain multiple volatile oils that help with inflammation, fight bacteria and microbes, and also act as an antispasmodic for eliminating gas and bloating. They’re also immune boosting and have been known to protect cells against damage. You can buy fennel tea, or you can crush and boil the seeds to make your own.