The pain of too much bloat in your belly can be unbearable. The excess air and fluid that can build up in your body can be uncomfortable in so many ways. The most common place bloating occurs is in the stomach area, mostly due to the foods we eat.
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Thankfully there are ways to naturally counteract the effects and remove the bloat in both your stomach and your extremities, such as cutting out or adding certain foods to your diet.
With these tips you will no longer feel the pain of excess air and fluid, your clothes will fit as they should, and you can go back to making dinner plans without the worry of after-meal bloating!
1. Probiotics To The Rescue
A major culprit of stomach bloat is an improper balance of healthy gut bacteria. When the good bacterium doesn't have the ability to fight the bad bacteria, certain foods begin fermenting while still in the digestion stage. This leaves a build-up of gas with nowhere to go except to expand your waistline temporarily with uncomfortable symptoms.
To combat the imbalance of bacteria, probiotics are usually the first line of defense. You can find probiotics in capsule form at the pharmacy, but there are also many foods with naturally occurring probiotics, from pickles to kimchi to certain yogurts. One probiotic filled food, in particular, is very popular among people with irritable bowel syndrome: kefir.
Kefir has been found to be an excellent source of probiotics with up to three times more probiotics than regular yogurt. It might seem odd to eat a yogurt-type dairy product to combat what is essentially excessive gas in your belly since dairy products are often the cause of gas! But the good news is that kefir has been found to actually improve the way a person digests lactose.
2. Salt Is The Enemy
Have you ever returned from a meal at a buffet or your favorite pizza joint and just felt so incredibly full? That might not only be from the amount of food you consumed. Eating extra-salty foods, which is often the case at restaurants and buffets, can lead to intense bloating via water retention.
Sodium is an important aspect of your diet, but the recommendation for healthy individuals is to not have more than 2,300mg of sodium in a day. That's because sodium helps balance the fluids in your body. When you consume too many salt-filled foods your fluid retention goes up, making your heart work harder and giving you a general bloated feeling in your stomach and extremities.
If you notice you are bloated after many meals, look at the amount of sodium you are consuming. If you are averaging close to or more than the daily limit, try to find ways to cut back. Processed foods such as pre-made freezer meals, canned soups or potato chips are often very high in sodium.
Even sweet snacks that you might think would be salt-free could have hidden sodium. Keep an eye on your salt intake, and choose low-salt or salt-free versions of foods you can't live without, such as low-sodium soy sauce or ketchup.
3. Drink Up!
You may find yourself feeling bloated all because you aren't drinking enough water. When you aren't giving your body enough fluids, it goes into panic mode and begins storing any fluid it can find. By retaining fluid your body begins to bloat, giving you the tell-tale sign that it's time to reach for the water glass!
If you think water is boring and want to reach for a glass of soda instead—think again. Yes, soda is a liquid and surely water is an ingredient, but the carbonation in the soda can actually create more bloat. That is the opposite of what you need, so perhaps try to flavor your water by adding some cucumber slices or citrus fruit to give it a bit of flavor.
Drinking more water can also help combat the excess salt you may find yourself consuming on certain occasions. If you know you will be having a sodium-heavy meal, begin drinking water earlier in the day and continue even after the meal. It may seem strange to drink more water to counteract a build-up of fluid in the body, but the water has a way of flushing out the excess bloat-causing fluid.
4. Tea Time
Along the same vein of upping your water intake comes the bloating remedy of drinking certain herbal teas. Herbal tea is an excellent choice to battle the bloat and not just because you are giving your body some much-needed fluids.
Certain herbs like fennel and ginger have the ability to de-bloat your stomach and soothe your digestion altogether. Having tea or even a capsule with these herbs can quickly reset you back to your bloat-free self.
You may notice fennel and ginger are both common ingredients in many dishes in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine. Some people consume candied fennel seeds or candied ginger as after-dinner sweets.
This is because they both really help battle any gastrointestinal discomfort that comes with overly spicy or rich foods. If you don't have candied fennel or ginger on hand, an easy way to consume these herbs is through tea after your meal.
Steep a teaspoon of crushed fennel seeds or a half-inch of fresh peeled ginger root in a cup of hot water for five minutes and drink. Fennel has a slightly licorice or anise flavor to it, and ginger has a nice warm, spicy flavor.
5. Remove The Stress
Whether your bloat is caused by dehydration, excess salt intake, IBS symptoms or just eating too much food, removing stress from your life can ease the pain in your belly. Stress manifests itself in individuals in various ways both mentally and physically.
The most notable way stress appears physically is through tense shoulders, neck and back, which a good yoga session can help with. But did you know that intestinal problems like bloating can also come from stress and can also be remedied by stress relieving activities like yoga? It's true!
Yoga is good for the mind, body, and spirit, and your stomach is part of your body. If you are going through a stressful event yoga can calm your mind and relax you instantly. Yoga poses stretch your body in a way that helps re-set your body and gets all of the body parts functioning at optimum levels.
Picture your stomach as a balloon of air that is being pressed on every which way as you sit hunched over on your sofa in pain from the excess gas and fluid. Instead of pressing down on the balloon and making it feel like it will pop, get stretching with some simple yoga moves to open up the passageways, allowing your body to redistribute the air and fluid. The end result leaves you feeling bloat-free and stress-free!