Nobody likes feeling bloated – firstly, it's uncomfortable and secondly, lets face it, it does. Not. Look. Good!
The best thing you can do is to try and prevent the issue, rather than trying to deal with it once you're actually suffering. Here are top health tips to get rid of bloating:
Chew Your Food, Properly
Digestion begins in your mouth so it's important that you chew your food properly. The chewing process begins to stimulate the stomach and it starts to create more stomach acid in order to break down the food. By chewing each bite into small pieces, you're allowing for it to mix more easily with your stomach acid and it can therefore be broken down properly. If you inhale your food and do not chew properly, your stomach is put under pressure and has to do extra work!
Different people have varying ideas of how long to chew food for, it is also different for soft fruits and dense meats – so to ease bloating, try chewing and breaking down your food as much as possible. A good rule is to chew more denser foods up to 20-25 times. Also, start becoming more aware of the pieces of food you swallow, and learn that the food is at the start of a long process and you are there to help.
Eat More Potassium
Potassium is responsible for the proper function of cells, tissues, and organs in the body. It is an electrolyte which is required to maintain a normal water balance in the body, so including it in your diet could help with bloating. Try adding bananas, spinach, tomatoes or asparagus into your daily meals.
On another note, potassium can also help with constipation. Water retention and bloating can be common symptoms of constipation which sometimes people overlook. Try and eat foods rich in both potassium and fibre like beans, which are an excellent choice for ramping up fibre intake and boosting potassium consumption.
Eat More Parsley
Often people complain about being bloated and having unwanted gas. Parsley is a natural diuretic so it increases the excretion of water, stimulates digestion, and relieves bloating, indigestion and flatulence. Also, parsley leaves are carminative, meaning that they prevent formation of gas in the gastrointestinal tract, so they are definitely worth a try. Bonus? Parsely is also rich in potassium!
Cook Your Vegetables
Although raw foods are packed with nutrients, have you ever wondered how they get broken down in the body once we eat them? Raw fruits and vegetables have cellulose and other fibrous structures that are hard for our stomaches to break down. By gently cooking them, you are breaking down these fibres and lending your stomach a helping hand. Of course, you don't have to ban all raw foods – just be mindful that eating an entire bowl of raw courgetti (spiralized courgettes) before bed isn't going to give your digestion the most comfortable sleep! Another top tip to beating bloating is to limit the amount of raw food you eat for dinner – eat it at lunch so your body has the afternoon to do the work, and then it can rest at night.
Don’t Go To Bed Full
Ideally, you want your digestion to have finished work for the day when you go to bed at night. If you pack it full of raw veggies, or stuff it really full, it's going to be working overtime. The best thing to do to stop feeling bloated is to finish your dinner about 2.5-3 hours before bed time. Understandably, life gets in the way and sometimes this isn't possible, but at least on those occasions you can help your digestion by chewing really well! Another great thing about not going to bed full is that you will also sleep better if you have fully digested.
Enjoy A Herbal Tea Before Bed
Ginger or peppermint are great herbal teas to drink before bed to beat bloating. Ginger helps stimulate saliva which we know from above, helps begin the digestive process. It also stimulates bile and gastric juice production which also help digestion.
Peppermint is beneficial for the digestive system and helps alleviate bloating. It has antispasmodic properties which help to relieve cramps in the gastrointestinal tract. This improves the passage in the digestive tract allowing food and drink to pass more freely, alleviating bloating.
De-Stress and Practise Yoga!
Yoga twists are a long established remedy to kick-start the digestive system. They put pressure on the stomach, the small intestine and the large intestine, which helps stimulate your body's natural process of expelling food and gas through muscle contraction and relaxation.
BKS Iyengar states that jathara parivartanasana (described as churning the stomach winds, or revolving twist), “tones and eradicates sluggishness, cures gastritis and strengthens the intestines.”
Yoga is also a great way to unwind and relax, with so much going on in our lives day to day, it can be the perfect place to switch off and give your body some time to catch up.
Last But Not Least...
My favourite top health tip to beat bloating is: don't drink out of a straw! You can take in extra air when sucking on a straw, creating unwanted bloating.