Do you constantly feel sluggish, bloated and heavy? After you eat certain foods like bread or pasta you tend to feel worse, puffy and uncomfortable? Here are some tips and tricks to help fight the bulge and stop you from un buttoning those tight denims.
1. BITTERS : Before each meal add an acidic bitter component to some room temperature water. When taking bitters, your tastebuds that pick up the bitter substance signals the brain to start releasing your digestive enzymes to prepare your body for the big meal ahead. By adding some lemon, lime or apple cider vinegar to room temperature water 15 minutes before your meal, you will find it much easier to digest that heavy meal therefore reducing the amount of bloating in response.
2. TIMING: In todays society we are all super busy and in a rush to get somewhere, when you rush your meal and get moving soon after your digestive system is working under strain, hence the bloating and driving into the notorious 'food coma'. When you sit down and eat your meal slowly your body switches to the 'rest and digest mode' allowing more time to digest your food.
3. FIBRE: There are two main types of fibre, soluble and insoluble. These two different classes of fibres work in syn with different actions within the body. Soluble fibres like Slippery Elm are high mucilage substances meaning they coat the digestive tract, reducing inflammation in turn increasing nutritional absorption. Slippery Elm is also known as a pre biotic feeding the good bacteria of the gut. Insoluble fibres like Physllium Husk are not soluble, they can not be broken down by bacteria and work as 'mask' for the digestive tract, binding to toxins and expelling them. Regular consumption soluble and insoluble fibres maintain the inebriety of your digestive system improving its function.
4. PROBIOTICS: After talking about fibres it brings me to probiotics. These are the good microbes that live inside the digestive tract, they are needed to break down food, immune health and brain function. Probiotics come in many forms from kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha and supplementation. They break down food particles for engird and help reduce flatulence and bloating.
5. RINSING and SOAKING: ALWAYS WASH YOUR FRESH PRODUCE AND SOAK YOUR NUTS AN LEGUMES! Some fresh produce, legumes and nuts contain oxalates and phytates. They upset digestive processes, cause inflammation and inhibit absorption of some nutrients. When you soak nuts and legumes for 24 hours and rinse you are dramatically reducing the consumption of these nasty compounds. Rinse your fresh produce and blanch your greens for 30 seconds in hot water. These simple food preparation steps will reduce bloating and improve digestion without irritation.
6. WARMING FOODS: The current trend to eat more raw foods works well for some people, but these raw foods can be harder to digest. Some people tend to get a lot of bloating from eating just raw foods. I would recommend a balance between raw and cooked foods to avoids this. Warming foods such as soups, teas and stews as well as warming herbs like ginger or cayenne warm the digestive easing bloating. Have you ever wondered why the Japanese drink miso or green tea with their meals? Its because eastern asian countries found that commonly cold foods and cold drinks can slow the down the digestive process that can cause bloating.
7. DIGESTIVE ENZYMES: Digestive enzymes are naturally occurring in our bodies, there are different enzymes for each nutrient i.e. lactase for lactose, protease for protein ect.These enzymes are essential to break down you're food before it can enter the next step of your digestive tract. These enzymes can be found in fruit like pineapple, papaya and Kiwi. Digestive enzymes can also be found in high amounts in naturopathic supplementation. By increasing these foods or taking supplements your dramatically assisting your natural digestive process, decreasing bloating!
8. COOKING TECHNIQUES: Certain food preparation or cooking techniques can help reduce bloating. Slow cooking, tenderising or marinating meats with acids help to reduce bloating as these processes help break down proteins within for easier absorption.
9. GLUTEN: last but not lease if non of these tips have worked for you, it may be that you are gluten sensitive or intolerant. Foods contain gluten in a person with compromised gut health can cause a lot of digest upset and inflammation reducing nutritional uptake from the intestines. If this sounds like you, book into your trusted natural health practitioner for dietary and lifestyle advice.
10. MIROBIAL OVERGROWTH: an overgrowth of bad bacteria of yeast can cause serious digesting upset. These over growth cause irritation, inflammation, minimal nutrient absorption and relate toxins into the blood stream that make you feel unwell, cause flatulence and of course bloating! If you suspect you may have an overgrowth of either bad bacteria or yeast again contact your natural health practitioner for a protocol that will help combat not just symptoms but causation.