Sometimes we can get so focused on pinpointing a certain trigger food to our bloating, the simpler stuff gets overlooked. Incorporate these simple steps into your day to reduce your risk of bloating, gas and uncomfortable cramping.
Eat in a 10-Hour Window
To help your digestion you should really avoid lying down soon after eating. Fasting for 12-14 hours overnight can make a huge difference to your risk of bloating. For example, have an earlier dinner with the kids at 6pm and then fast until breakfast the next morning, between 6-8am. Or, if you get home late, eat dinner at say 8pm and then wait until 8-10am to eat breakfast. It will minimise your risk of bloating and the mindless grazing we are all tempted by late at night. This tip also works wonders for acid indigestion, heartburn and slow metabolisms. Give yourself that window to allow your gut microbes to flourish.
How many hours a day are you seated for? Honestly, so many of us are sat for 8-10 hours per day without even realising! The drive to work - often in stressful situations where we tense up. Then at our desk for 8 hours under pressure and dealing with demanding situations. Take mini breaks and move more. It releases gas and aids digestion. Plus, when you are moving your gut bacteria improve and you produce short chain fatty acids which help with the health of the gut lining and repair. Try walking up and down the stairs in your building for five minutes or walk to a different floor to refill your water bottle.
Have Wheat-Free Days
Wheat is hard to digest and a common food allergen. Wheat is found in breakfast cereals, bread, pasta, biscuits and beer, to name a few. Start by having wheat-free days and see how it impacts your bloating. There are far more gentler sources of fibre we can use instead that will alleviate the pressure on our gut. Sweet potato, brown rice and oats are all gentler sources of fibre that are naturally wheat-free.
Alcohol is a major gut irritant and damages the lining of the gut. Sorry, I know! Even if you only drink in small amounts, if you have excessive bloating, gas or loose stools, I recommend going alcohol-free for one month and track the changes in your bloating.
Rest and Digest
When we are eating we want to be producing saliva and enzymes, not stress hormones. Go sit somewhere more mellow where there aren’t distractions like email, an angry boss, or a nail-biting episode of your favourite TV show. Breathe in the lovely aromas, chew slowly, savour the flavours and the wonderful textures. And remember, digestion starts in our mouth, our stomach does not have teeth.
Also, when we eat too quickly, we tend to swallow big gulps of air which can increase risk of bloating and cramps. Sit down, rest and digest, maybe with a friend, or family.
If you experience chronic bloating and you have been given the all-clear by your GP and you are still struggling, it might be time to consider Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth, or “SIBO”. Find out more here.
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