Bloating is that annoying guest at a dinner party. It shows up uninvited, makes itself comfortable, and often refuses to leave. While the occasional bloat is a common occurrence, dealing with it frequently can be difficult. Rather than relying on pills and potions, there are many natural remedies that kick bloating to the curb. Some such methods we’ll talk about include the importance of staying hydrated, getting your body moving, and tapping into the power of herbs like coix seed, cassia seed, and bitter orange. Plus, we’ll discuss the foods known to cause bloating.
Staying hydrated is a simple remedy for bloating, as it prevents stagnation within the body. When we eat salty foods, our body holds onto the water in our systems causing water retention and bloat. So although it may sound counterintuitive, we should drink lots of water to flush out those toxins and excess sodium.
Make it a habit to drink plenty of water throughout the day. There are even equations that help calculate your body’s optimal water intake! Also, try infusing your water with cucumber, lemon, or mint for added flavor and digestive benefits.
Move Your Body: Yoga and Exercise
Sedentary lifestyles can contribute to bloating and digestive discomfort. So, it’s important to engage in regular physical activity. Exercises like yoga and walking can help alleviate bloating in several ways:
- Promotes digestion: gentle yoga poses and stretches can stimulate blood flow to the abdominal organs. This increase of blood flow promotes healthy digestion and reduces bloating.
- Relieves gas: physical movement can help gas move through your digestive tract more efficiently, effectively reducing discomfort.
- Reduces stress: stress can exacerbate bloating. Yoga and exercise are excellent stress-reduction techniques. They help to calm the mind and relax the digestive system.
Herbal Remedies: coix seed, cassia seed, bitter orange
Herbal remedies have been used for centuries, especially within TCM, to address various digestive issues – including bloating. Here are three tried-and-true herbs that may ease bloating.
- Coix Seed: in TCM, coix seeds are used to clear heat and resolve dampness. The herb moves through the spleen, which aids in the flow of qi. Dampness often gives rise to digestive issues and bloating, so coix seeds are important in preventing those ailments. Coix seed is also known for its diuretic properties, which help reduce fluid retention and bloating. It’s easy to incorporate coix seeds into your diet through herbal teas or supplements.
- Cassia Seed: Cassia seed has mild laxative properties, which can aid in regular bowel movements and prevent constipation related bloating. In TCM, cassia seed is cool in nature. This coolness can restore a healthy yin-yang balance through cleansing and clearing out the body of heat and dampness. Like coix seed, cassia seed is commonly found in teas and supplements.
- Bitter Orange: bitter orange is believed to stimulate digestion and relieve bloating by promoting the flow of digestive juices. It has been used in TCM for indigestion, nausea, and constipation, and can be found in supplements or essential oils.
Avoid Inflammatory Foods
Certain foods can trigger inflammation in the digestion tract, leading to bloating and discomfort. To reduce this risk, consider avoiding or minimizing the consumption of these foods.
- Processed foods: highly processed foods often contain additives, preservatives, and artificial ingredients that can irritate the digestive system. Rather than reaching for those processed snacks, grab an apple, some nuts, or some premade chia-seed pudding or pasta.
- Carbonated beverages: carbonated drinks can introduce excess gas into your digestive tract, leading to bloating. Although they may taste good and be fun to drink, we suggest going for a still drink if you're worried about bloating.
- Dairy products: some individuals are lactose intolerant, and consuming dairy products can lead to gas and bloating. If this happens to you, your body is not producing enough lactase enzyme to break down lactose. We recommend trying dairy alternatives, such as almond milk or plant-based yogurt.
- Gluten: gluten-containing grains like wheat can be problematic for individuals with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease. If your body has troubling digesting starch, it will cause a buildup of gas, thus leading to bloating. Opt for gluten-free options if needed.
Staying Bloat Free
Bloating doesn’t have to be a constant companion in your life. By embracing these holistic solutions and lifestyle tweaks, enjoy a more comfortable and carefree digestive experience. So, say goodbye to that bloated feeling, and here's to a happier, bloat-free you!