5 natural & effective ways to reduce stomach bloating, including using natural supplements.
Overeating is a part of the festive season, which goes on for a good part of December and carries over into January as well. From heavy meals and too much alcohol, to the stress of insufficient sleep or planning a party for 50 guests, these are numerous factors that can trigger digestive issues and bloating, making you feel uncomfortable, and put a damper on your Christmas festive spirit.
From heartburn to nausea and the feeling of fullness or bloating, this is your digestive system crying out: “Give me a break”.
While these symptoms are mostly benign, they’re nevertheless uncomfortable and in some cases can be painful. 70 per cent of adults suffer from occasional digestive difficulties, and in some cases these problems can be chronic.
Bloating is when your stomach makes you feel uncomfortable due to the accumulation of gas, and you feel like an inflatable balloon or have ‘swallowed a sponge’.
Here is your 2017 strategy to remove bloating from your life and feel normal again:
- Modify your eating habits:
Adjusting your eating habits is the first step towards better digestion. Keep a food journal to track what you eat, and find which food you’re more sensitive to. Eat smaller portions so as not to overload your stomach, be more mindful about what you eat and how you eat it should bring you some relief.
- Be active
Regular physical activity can help relieve bloating symptoms as it stimulates the general blood circulation in the body, including in the digestive system. Exercise stimulates the intestinal muscles to move content through the digestive system, and help gas pass through. Other than that, physical exercise may help relieve stress, which can also be a cause of bloating and digestive issues.
- Use plants known to help digestion
Other than its sedative, relaxant and anti-spasmodic properties, lemon balm also provides relief from bloating. Lemon balm consists of extracts produced from the leaf of the plant. You can get lemon balm in various forms such as dried leaves, tea, and capsules. It also comes in the form of tinctures and oil. To reduce the effects of bloating, having a cup of lemon balm tea once or twice a day after meals should be quite effective.
Sage not only reduces acidity but also provides relief for stomach cramps. Sage is a good remedy to counter the effects of bloating. In fact, sage has many curative properties, which will also benefit you if you consume it. As sage is a commonly-used herb in cooking, you can consume it through cooking, or separately in the form of tea infused with sage leaves.
Dandelion leaves and roots are used for various preparations, which have multiple benefits. Due to its diuretic and purgative properties, dandelion is ideal for cleansing the system and flushing the body of toxins. It also has a stimulating effect on the liver and gallbladder, to increase bile production, and is beneficial to health in many other ways. An infusion of one cup of dandelion tea after lunch and dinner will work wonders to your entire digestive system, and keep bloating in check.
Peppermint has been known for generations to help digestion. Chew a few leaves or add it to your food. You can drink it as a herbal infusion or rub some diluted essential oil on your stomach when you feel the symptoms of discomfort. Essential oils should be ingested only with the advice of a medical professional.
You can also benefit from the properties of plants by consuming them in capsule form. Even better, if you find a product such as Activa Digestion or Activa Gastric that combines them together, as you’ll benefit from the gastroprotection of their active ingredients as well as their synergistic action in the body.
- Balance the acidity of your stomach to improve digestion
Digestion is the long journey for your food to be broken down and its nutrients to be assimilated by the body, providing the necessary energy, vitamins and minerals for your vital functions. It starts in the stomach and ends in your colon. Stomach acidity, with an average of 1.5 to 3.00 pH, plays a key role in the assimilation of proteins, amino acids and other nutrients as well as the activation of specific enzymes. If the pH of your stomach is too high (acidic) or too low (alkaline) it will impair your digestion and result in heartburn and bloating, which could impact your overall health.
- Support your intestinal flora and keep probiotics in check
An increase in the levels of bad bacteria in the body results in a condition known as dysbiosis, which can lead to constipation, diarrhea, flatulence and bloating. Probiotics are substances composed of active ‘good’ bacteria. The digestive system contains ‘good’ and ‘bad’ bacteria—probiotics have the property of stimulating the growth of ‘good’ bacteria, while fighting and killing ‘bad’ bacteria in the body, thus reducing dysbiosis. These are regularly prescribed by health practitioners for patients with chronic digestive problems. Probiotics can reduce and nullify the effects of bloating. There are many strains of probiotics, the most common types are lactobacillus, and bifidobacterium.
Probiotics that we recommend
First and foremost, look for gastroprotected capsules, to make sure the bacteria resist the digestive juices. Activa Symbiotic combines four strains of probiotics with two prebiotics, combining the action of 12 billion healthy bacteria to support your gut, including Bifidobacterium Infantis, has been shown to lack in the microbiome of children born by C-section. Recent reports indicate that supplementing with this strain of probiotic has great positive results on the reduction of symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
If by implementing some of the simple steps quoted above you still suffer from chronic bloating or the symptoms do not improve, immediately consult a health practitioner to address any possible serious health condition.
Written by Valerie Marin – Integrative Nutrition Health & Wellness Coach of Your Vitality Store.