We all know that bloating is flat-out uncomfortable, but the good news is that it doesn’t have to be a part of life. Learning how your body responds to certain foods is key to avoiding it in the first place, but sometimes we have an unexpected reaction to something new or something we chose to eat even though we fully understand the consequences (looking at you, cheese platter). Regardless of the cause, there are a few things you can do to help that uncomfortable, distended feeling in the moment. Here are six tried-and-true tips to beat the bloat:
1. Try a supine spinal twist.
Twisting your body is something we don’t do naturally, especially if your day involves sitting at a desk. But easing your body into a twist helps massage your internal organs and move around whatever is causing the blockage.
Start lying on your back with your legs in tabletop position, bent at a 90-degree angle. Straighten your right leg and allow the left leg to fall over to the right. Open your arms into a T position and keep the right leg as straight as you can while anchoring both shoulders down. Then bring your gaze over your left shoulder and breathe into your belly for five honest breaths. Repeat on the other side.
2. Cook foods rather than eat them raw.
Cooking foods breaks down the fiber content in veggies making them easier for our systems to digest. In line with ancient philosophies like Traditional Chinese Medicine and ayurveda, sticking to cooked meals instead of raw will ease bloating while still allowing you to eat healthful plants, fats, and proteins. With these tips, you should be feeling lighter and more comfortable in no time!
3. Incorporate a probiotic into your daily routine.
Fun fact: Good gut bacteria feed off the fiber you eat and take care of other food remnants that may otherwise cause indigestion. If your microbiome is out of balance, which can be caused by a number of things, including too little sleep, too much stress, or eating inflammatory foods, it may be hurting, not helping. Taking a probiotic will help you help your gut and ultimately your bloating.
4. Ease up on fiber.
While fibrous plants are good for our guts, they can make you feel worse if you’re already distended and gassy. If you’re feeling bloated, a good rule of thumb is to eliminate processed foods like gluten, sugar, and dairy and avoid veggies like broccoli that are notorious for causing Buddha belly. Instead, go for foods with digestive enzymes, like papaya, or a hydrating natural diuretic like cucumber.
5. Drink filtered water instead of seltzer.
If you're feeling like it might be tempting to drink something carbonated when you’re bloated to "break it up," think again. Even seltzer, devoid of calories, can temporarily make you bloated. It’s best to drink flat filtered mineral water to stay hydrated, but no need to overdo it by chugging gallons either. Drink what you need.
6. Sip diuretic herbal tea such as peppermint or senna.
Peppermint is a gentle diuretic and will help with digestive issues. Senna is a natural, FDA-approved diuretic, so use it sparingly (we don’t like to use it more than once a month, max), but for those situations when nothing else seems to work, sipping on senna tea before bed helps the digestive system move things along in the morning.
With these tips, you should be feeling lighter and more comfortable in no time!