We’ve all experienced the sensation of feeling bloated – that swelling or increase in diameter of the abdominal area. It’s not a pleasant feeling and can be brought on by diet, irritable bowel syndrome, lactose intolerance, reflux, and constipation, just to name a few.
Luckily there are some simple ways to beat the bloat.
Water with Lemon
The idea of adding more liquid to a body that is retaining water may seem absurd, but it’s actually extremely helpful. When your body is holding onto extra fluid, it’s usually because it is trying to keep you from dehydrating. When you’re bloated is when you want to push fluids through your system, not restrict them. Lemons are a natural diuretic and gentle laxative. Adding lemon slices to a glass of warm water can help reduce the amount of salt retained in the body.
Papaya contains the enzyme, papain, which is similar to digestive enzymes secreted by the pancreas to help breakdown proteins. Eating papaya can help ease constipation and gas related bloating. Having some papaya on an empty stomach before your breakfast or as your breakfast is a great way to get your system moving properly for the day.
Black Licorice Root
This isn’t a free pass to hit the candy aisle. Black licorice root comes as a supplement or in liquid form at your local health food store. It is a natural diuretic and mild laxative, which helps with water retention. It’s recommended to take 1ml of black licorice root a day. Please note that people with hypertension or congestive heart failure should stay away from this one. Black licorice root suppresses the release of aldosterone by the adrenal glands and can aggravate these conditions.
Yogurt carries a lot of “good bacteria.” The most common strains are lactobacillus, acidophilus and bifidus, all of which help regulate your system. Go for brands with the most live active cultures and try to stay away from ones containing high fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners.
Asparagus is a natural diuretic and helps to flush waste and excess water from your body. It also contains some great probiotic properties. You can get your greens and fight bloat with this one.
Dandelion tea is also a mild diuretic which helps get rid of the water your body is holding onto. By stimulating bile it helps to breakdown fatty meals that can make you feel bloated. It is recommended to drink one cup per day.
Fiber-rich foods help to keep your stomach from getting clogged by moving food through the gastrointestinal tract quickly and efficiently. Daily, you should be eating 25-30 grams of fiber. Some excellent sources are bran flakes, raspberries, and lentils.
All of the above are excellent ways to help ease bloating but, if you want to win the battle against bloating for good here are some long term tips.
- Stay away from heavy sodium and processed foods. Opt for fresh food as often as possible.
- Limit your booze consumption. Alcohol causes dehydration resulting in your body holding on to extra fluid.
- Lead a balanced and active lifestyle. Try to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day and make sure you get enough sleep. These are huge contributors to a properly functioning system.
Note: If your bloating becomes chronic, consult a physician.