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Say Goodbye To Bloating – 9 Natural Lifestyle Approaches To Relieve Discomfort

Written by: Jeneve Clarke, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 
Executive Contributor Jeneve Clarke

Bloating can be a frustrating and uncomfortable experience that many of us face. It can be caused by a variety of reasons, such as overeating, stress, or even hormonal changes. However, there are natural lifestyle approaches that can help alleviate the discomfort and prevent bloating from occurring in the first place.

person touching stomach with heart shape gesture

Experiencing sudden bloating in your abdominal region is not an uncommon occurrence. Nevertheless, it's imperative to bear in mind that bloating might be a red flag indicating an underlying health complication. Therefore, it's vital to acknowledge this symptom and take the appropriate measures to identify a resolution that best suits your needs.


Dietary triggers


When it comes to dealing with bloating, making changes to your diet can have a significant impact. This is because certain foods may trigger hypersensitivities that lead to digestive issues like bloating and gas. However, the good news is that research has shown that restricting specific dietary triggers can help alleviate symptoms and even resolve the issue in some cases. So, it's worth considering a dietary overhaul to pinpoint potential triggers and achieve relief.


Fodmap


Research has shown that reducing the intake of FODMAP foods can be highly effective for individuals who experience discomfort and bloating due to fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols. These types of foods are often poorly absorbed or slowly absorbed in the small intestine, which can cause bloating in sensitive individuals. In fact, a study has demonstrated that restricting dietary FODMAPs can lead to a notable decrease of up to 82% in bloating. ² Additionally, emerging evidence suggests that a low FODMAP diet may reduce histamine load and histamine intolerance by an impressive 800%. ³


It is important to keep in mind that FODMAPs are not necessarily harmful for everyone. In fact, they are generally considered healthy and function as prebiotics, which can be beneficial for the healthy bacteria in your gut. Therefore, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional to determine if reducing FODMAPs is the right approach for you.

Lactose intolerance


If you happen to experience an uncomfortable swelling in your stomach after consuming milk and milk-based products, it's probable that you are lactose intolerant. Lactose, a type of sugar that is naturally present in milk and milk products, is the culprit. Astonishingly, statistics show that around 68% of the global population is prone to lactose digestion issues. ⁴ But no need to fret, because there are excellent alternatives to lactose-containing products that taste just as good. For example, plant-based milk alternatives are great substitutes. By making small, achievable changes like this, clients often experience significant relief. Additionally, incorporating foods that contain Lactobacillus acidophilus, such as coconut yoghurt, can be beneficial. The clinical response to yoghurts that contain L. acidophilus has been favorable. ⁵ Just be sure to check the label on the yoghurt and ensure that the cultures are active and alive.

Lay off the fizzies


When I had IBS, fizzies was my absolute vice. I can bashfully recall drinking 500ml of Lucozade a day and then being in absolute agony with bloating, distension and gas a few hours later. If you already experience sensitives to gassy foods, it's likely that carbonated drinks will also contribute to your bloating. Switch these out with water, herbal teas, or juice.


Eat mindfully


Practicing mindful eating is a crucial aspect that many of my clients tend to overlook. Taking the time to eat slowly and savor each bite can reduce the amount of air swallowed during meals, which can lead to bloating. This simple technique can effectively alleviate digestive issues and discomfort caused by bloating. If you have a habit of hastily consuming your food after just a few bites, it's time to slow down and savor each mouthful. Remember, the digestion process initiates in your mouth, and insufficient chewing can lead to insufficient enzyme production, which in turn can result in bloating, cramps, and gas, and put extra strain on your stomach. Additionally, mindful eating can aid in weight management since it helps you feel fuller sooner. Interestingly, some experts recommend chewing every bite of food up to 32 times, depending on the circumstances.

Time of the month


If you have been noticing an increase in bloating a few days before your period, it could be due to the influence of your hormones. Research suggests that up to 85% of women experience some form of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) in the days leading up to their period. Symptoms of PMS can include abdominal bloating, distension, and water retention. If you are one of these women, you may find that consuming foods rich in B6, magnesium, and potassium, such as green leafy vegetables, can provide some relief. A recent pilot study revealed that modified-release magnesium proved to be effective in decreasing PMS symptoms in women with PMS.


Stress to avoid bloating


Although stress can have some beneficial effects, it is important to acknowledge that excessive stress can have a negative impact on our overall health. If you find that your bloating symptoms are exacerbated during periods of heightened stress, it may be wise to consider making some changes to your daily routine. When we experience stress, our bodies can respond in a number of ways, including inhibiting digestion and increasing colonic motility. This can contribute to a greater risk of bloating. It is important to recognize that everyone experiences stress differently based on their unique internal makeup. What may be stressful for one person may not be for another. It is important to be kind to yourself and remember that your reaction to stress is completely valid and unique to you.


Other underlying issues


If you are experiencing bloating, it could potentially be a sign of other underlying issues. These issues may include malabsorption, such as pancreatic insufficiency, dysmotility caused by certain medications, bacterial or fungal fermentation (SIBO and SIFO), surgical intervention like gastric banding surgery, infections (bacterial or parasitic, such as SIBO or giardiasis), altered reflex muscles of the abdominal wall, or even malignancy, such as bowel or gastric malignancy. It is important to address any persistent bloating and seek medical attention if necessary.


So, what lifestyle changes can you implement today

  • Abdominal Massage. One way to potentially alleviate gastrointestinal symptoms is by performing an abdominal massage on yourself. Studies have indicated that this technique is both safe and effective, and can serve as a non-invasive method of managing your bowel movements. ⁸

  • Avoid Gum and artificial sweeteners. Individuals with functional abdominal bloating and gas-related complaints should be cautious of their sugar intake. Sugar malabsorption and intolerance are common among this population. ⁹ Additionally, sugar substitutes like sucralose or sorbitol, commonly found in sugar-free chewing gum, may contribute to bloating. Therefore, it is advisable to avoid such products to alleviate digestive discomfort.

  • Mild exercise Engaging in mild physical activity can be a beneficial approach to alleviate the discomfort associated with abdominal bloating. Furthermore, such exercise may also improve the process of clearing intestinal gas, thereby providing additional relief. Studies have indicated that incorporating a moderate exercise routine into your daily regimen can significantly mitigate abdominal bloating and promote digestive health. ¹⁰

  • Practice mindful eating. It is important to practice mindful eating as it can positively impact your body's ability to digest food. One of the key factors in mindful eating is taking the time to slow down before you start eating. This can be as simple as taking two minutes to still your mind and relax before you begin your meal. Additionally, it's important to chew slowly and thoroughly, aiming for at least 15-20 chews per bite if possible. By doing so, you allow your body the time it needs to properly process and extract nutrients from the food you consume.

  • Drink Carminative Teas. If you're experiencing bloating and gas after meals, consider drinking carminative teas to alleviate your discomfort. These types of teas can help to expel gas from your intestines by increasing motility, which is beneficial for reducing the pain of distension. It's recommended to wait around 30 minutes after eating before drinking carminative tea to support symptomatic control. However, it's essential to be cautious and check for any contraindications with your current medications before trying this out.

  • Try Herbal Remedies. Certain herbs like ginger and peppermint have natural anti-inflammatory properties and can help soothe digestive systems and reduce bloating. Just ensure that there are no contraindications with your current medications. One way to try peppermint is to first, boil some water. Then, pour the water into a mug and add a peppermint tea bag. Let it steep for 3-5 minutes. Remove the tea bag and add a little honey or lemon juice if desired. Drink the tea slowly and enjoy the soothing effects of peppermint on your digestive system. Repeat as needed throughout the day. Remember, peppermint tea is a natural and safe way to alleviate bloating, but if your symptoms persist, it's always best to consult with a medical professional. In addition to drinking peppermint tea, another way to alleviate bloating is by taking enterically coated peppermint supplements. These supplements are designed to release the peppermint oil in the small intestine, where it can have the greatest impact on digestive issues like bloating. To take enterically coated peppermint, simply follow the dosage instructions on the label of your chosen supplement. It's important to note that enterically coated peppermint should only be taken as directed and under the supervision of a healthcare professional. It can be a helpful addition to other natural remedies for bloating, but it's always best to consult with a medical professional if your symptoms persist.

  • Hydration. Drinking plenty of water (spaced out throughout the day) and avoiding sugary drinks can help reduce water retention and bloating.

  • Spend time outside daily. It is highly recommended that you allot some time to spend outdoors every day. The fresh air can work wonders in reducing stress and uplifting your energy levels.

  • Probiotics. Incorporating probiotic-rich foods like yogurt and kefir into your diet can help promote a healthy gut and reduce bloating.

  • Prayer. Incorporating activities that rejuvenate your body and mind is crucial for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. This includes engaging in outdoor activities and practicing prayer as a means of self-care. Scientific research has shown that prayer can significantly lower stress levels, reduce cortisol secretion, and promote overall well-being. Thus, it is essential to recognize the importance of nurturing oneself with these practices.

In conclusion, there are various factors that can lead to bloating, making it a complex issue to tackle. However, by identifying what triggers your bloating and adopting some natural lifestyle practices, you can hopefully bid farewell to this uncomfortable sensation and embrace a healthier gut.

If you're currently experiencing bloating and wish to explore how functional medicine and nutritional therapy can enhance your gut health, we invite you to sign up for a complimentary 'end tummy turmoil' breakthrough session available here. It's important to stay positive and not lose hope. In fact, when it comes to gut health, I always find comfort in the ancient text that says, "behold now, his strength is in his loins and his power in the muscles of his belly" (Job 40:16).

Have a fabulous week and be kind to yourself! “You are fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalms 139:14).


With love from ‘Natures Physician Nutrition Clinic and Wellness Retreat’.


Follow me on LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info!

Jeneve Clarke Brainz Magazine
 

Jeneve Clarke, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Jeneve Clarke has dedicated her life to supporting others in achieving optimal health. With her vast expertise as a Nutritional Therapist, Functional Medicine Practitioner, Solicitor, and Chartered Lawyer specializing in Gut Health, Endocrine health, and IP, she has a unique perspective on the importance of good health. Having experienced firsthand the challenges of dealing with IBS and Diabetes, Jeneve is passionate about helping others reclaim their health. She is the Founder of 'Nature's Physician Nutrition', a clinic and community wellness hub that provides accessible health services to all. Her practice is guided by the principles of the gospel, with her mission statement being 'Nature is God's Physician'

 

Footnotes:

  • [3] Foley A, Burgell R, Barrett JS, Gibson PR. Management Strategies for Abdominal Bloating and Distension. Gastroenterol Hepatol (N Y). 2014;10(9):561-571.

  • [4] Foley A, Burgell R, Barrett JS, Gibson PR. Management Strategies for Abdominal Bloating and Distension. Gastroenterol Hepatol (N Y). 2014;10(9):561-571.

  • [5] McIntosh, K. Reed, D.E. Schneider, T. et al. (2017). ‘FODMAPs alter symptoms and the metabolome of patients with IBS: a randomised controlled trial’, Gut, 66, pp. 1241-1251.

  • [8] Quaranta, S. Buscaglia, M. Meroni, M. et al. (2007). ‘Pilot Study of the Efficacy and Safety of a Modified-Release Magnesium 250mg Tablet (Sincromag??) for the Treatment of Premenstrual Syndrome’, Clinical Drug Investigation, 27(1), pp.51-58

  • [9] Foley A, Burgell R, Barrett JS, Gibson PR. Management Strategies for Abdominal Bloating and Distension. Gastroenterol Hepatol (N Y). 2014;10(9):561-571

  • [10] Foley A, Burgell R, Barrett JS, Gibson PR. Management Strategies for Abdominal Bloating and Distension. Gastroenterol Hepatol (N Y). 2014;10(9):561-571

  • [11] McClurg, D., et al. (2016). Abdominal massage for the relief of constipation in people with Parkinson’s: A qualitative study. Parkinson’s Disease, 2016.

  • [12] Fernando Fernández-Bañares, MercéRosinach, Maria Esteve, Montserrat Forné, Jorge C. Espinós, Josep Maria Viver, Sugar malabsorption in functional abdominal bloating: A pilot study on the long-term effect of dietary treatment, Clinical Nutrition, Volume 25, Issue 5, 2006, Pages 824-831

  • [13] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17029608/, Lacy BE, Gabbard SL, Crowell MD. Pathophysiology, evaluation, and treatment of bloating: hope, hype, or hot air?.Gastroenterol Hepatol (N Y). 2011;7(11):729-739.


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