Do you have to unzip your pants after a meal to let your bloated belly out? Or wear long shirts or sweaters that disguise it? Don’t feel bad, I used to do the same thing years ago. My belly was constantly bloated!
By learning how foods can heal and support my body, and using specific practices, I learned how to eliminate the bloating and help my digestion.
There are many reasons for bloating, from food allergies to improper food combining to not chewing your food enough. I have a few tips that may help you combat the bloat.
Please note, that if you are constantly bloated, following one of these tips for a few days may or may not do the trick. Every person is unique, so what works for one person may not work for another.
1. Chew your food
You may think that digestion starts in your gut, but it actually begins the minute you put food or drink into your mouth. Once you do, enzymes in your saliva get to work, initiating the digestion process.
Most people chew around 5-8 times and swallow. If this is you, then you’re literally swallowing chunks of food. Digestion begins in the mouth, in fact, there’s an enzyme in your saliva that starts the digestive process (your stomach doesn’t have teeth)! Chew your food, and then swallow when your food is a paste. Not only will this reduce bloating, but it helps to prevent food allergies and improves the absorption of nutrients.
Also, think about when you take a sip of a delicious smoothie or vegetable juice, chances are you are swallowing it quickly because it’s so good. But here’s the thing: if you do that, you’re not giving enough time for the liquid to make contact with the digestive enzymes in your saliva. This means you’re not getting the full benefit of what you’re drinking. So instead of gulping it down, swish that healthy liquid around in your mouth for a bit, or even try “chewing” it. You’ll be surprised how far this simple step goes towards improving digestion.
2. Avoid Drinking Water with Your Meals
Water is an essential part of nutrition, as it’s a part of every metabolic activity in our body. Just make sure you’re not drinking it while you’re eating.
If you’re used to drinking water every time you eat and you’re looking to improve your digestion naturally, avoiding water with your meals could be a big step for you. This is because water greatly dilutes the digestive secretions present in the stomach leading to partial and inadequate digestion. What’s more, cold water is even worse as it ends up “shocking” your gastric secretions that help break down your meals.
By all means though, drink water all day long, but please avoid it while you’re eating.
3. Practice Mindfulness While Eating
This is so important; you should practice mindfulness when you sit down to eat. And I know that this may be the last thing you think about as you try to improve your digestion, but consider this: as a mindful eater, you make it a point to be very aware of what exactly you’re eating, that you are chewing properly, how much of it you eat, and not becoming stressed by sitting at your desk and looking at the latest email from a co-worker. Taking the time to savor your meals promotes fantastic digestive health.
4. Pay Attention to Food Combinations
This is about the different types of food and how they take a different amount of time to be digested.
Food combining is something to be mindful of; you don’t want to mix together foods that drastically differ in digestion times, as this can “add sludge” to your system.
Therefore, it’s wise to combine foods that will be digested well together and avoid combinations that may be problematic.
5. Move that body
Movement such as walking, Pilates, and yoga increases the digestive process, gives your organs a little massage and helps to deal with stress.
6. Take Probiotics
We all have good and bad bacteria in our gut, but we want more good than bad in there. Bad bacteria causes harm to your gut, causing your digestion to be off. Taking a probiotic supplement may help.
But, make sure to also include real probiotic-rich foods into your diet like organic yogurt, kefir, kimchi or drinking kombucha will definitely start to push out the bad and replace with good.
Drinking apple cider vinegar and/or lemon juice added to warm water first thing in the morning can also help digestion in your stomach.
Many things affect digestion time, including stress, the quantity, and combination of foods eaten, and the overall vitality of your digestive system. The biggest culprits to digestive problems are consuming caffeine, sugar, spicy foods, and other processed foods; eating in a rushed manner; eating under stress; and not chewing properly.
Taking the time to find what works for your digestion is beneficial to keep those pants on! ☺
If you would like more information on this, our Self Care Session this month (Friday, Oct 26th) is all about digestion!
You will enjoy stretches for digestion, and learn about ideal food pairing and the order in which you eat your food.
To register, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 902-890-6625
Hope to see you on Friday!