Nobody likes the feeling of a bloated stomach! Unfortunately, most women, especially those experiencing severe PMS, are familiar with an unpleasant feeling of having a bloated belly. It feels like you have a balloon in your stomach that’s weighing you down, making you feel heavy, and not sexy at all! Bloating doesn’t help with the romantic part of your life either. What is more of a “mood killer” than feeling like you swallowed a basketball?
I used to experience bloating quite a bit before introducing ayurveda and conscious eating into my daily life. As it appears, bloating is mostly a result of improper eating habits. Yes, certain people are more susceptible to it due to hormonal imbalance (like with PCOS) or due to weak digestion, but it is preventable if one follows some eating guidelines. I still remember that unpleasant feeling of a full belly even after a small meal and I'm so happy that those days are behind me. Now that I found a solution for myself, I want to share what works for me and, hopefully, some of you will find these suggestions useful as well.
Conscious eating is one of the main components for preventing bloating. If you are aware of how your stomach feels, how hungry you are, and the effects that certain foods have on your body, you will be able to adapt your eating habits accordingly. I believe that people who are truly conscious and follow their intuition rarely experience digestive un-ease.
If you don’t trust your body to that level just yet, here are some suggestions to prevent and alleviate bloating while you are working on making friends with your belly.
It is best to prevent bloating instead of trying to address the issue when it is already there. It is a lot easier and will save you the trouble of experiencing this pretty unpleasant feeling.
First, let's start with some prevention strategies:
- Eat only when truly hungry.
- Allow your previous meal to fully digest before eating the next meal or snacking. It means wait at least 3 hours in between meals!
- While eating, chew well and don’t talk while chewing. If you are eating with others, put your folk down while eating. DON’T EAT and TALK at the same time.
- Follow general food combining rules.
- Don’t eat fruits after a meal. It will be gas forming and produce bloating
- Try chewing on a slice of ginger with lime juice or lemon 20 minutes before a meal.
- Use digestion stimulating spices when making your food. Try black pepper, ginger, and cumin.
- Try adding enzymes, especially to heavy meals.
- Regularly take probiotics, especially if you were on antibiotics recently.
- Pay attention how your body reacts to dairy and wheat/flour products. If you feel bloated after them, you might have to reduce your intake or remove them completely.
- Don’t drink anything cold while eating.
- Avoid drinking anything 30 min after the meal. It will dilute digestive juices and will make it harder to digest food.
- Reduce SALT.
- Try aromatherapy. Bloating is more likely to appear if you are anxious, stressed, or worried. It is all due to Vata imbalance. Any Vata balancing essential oil will help. Try peppermint, orange, rose, cinnamon, and basil. You can also just get a stress-relieving or balancing essential oil mix at most health food stores.
- Learn Agnisar Kriya. Do it every morning before a meal after having a glass of warm water with lemon. I have been doing it for years, and besides strong abs and a flat stomach it is great for all digestion related issues.
If you feel bloated, try these remedies:
- Chew on a few fennel seeds or sip a hot fennel and mint tea. Prepare fennel tea by crushing one teaspoon of fennel seed and adding it to one cup of water in a pot. Bring the water to a boil, and cover and steep it for 10 to 15 minutes. Cool and strain. A traditional dose of fennel tea is about two to three cups daily.
- If you are at the restaurant or don’t have fennel seeds, opt for a mint/peppermint tea. It soothes your digestive tract.
- Do 5 mins of deep abdominal breathing.
- Lay on your left side and breathe deeply.
- Go for a brisk walk for 30 minutes. I like doing a few jumping jacks or twists. It helps to increase blood circulation since your heart will be beating faster and release gas.
- Do a child’s pose, wind-relieving pose, supta vajrasana, peacock (it is tricky but is the most powerful digestion-stimulating gas-relieving asana).
This list is long and might seem overwhelming but different things work for different people. Try a few of the above listen to your body’s feedback. Soon you will be able to find a few anti-bloating tricks that work for your unique body. Experiment and learn!
Let me know if any of these work for you and what other effective tips have worked for you in the past.