Sponsored blog post by Sofia Potente of The Natural Switch
Ahh the mystery of bloating. Is your child’s tummy persistently bloated? Or perhaps it’s your own – it starts flat in the morning but by the afternoon, it’s like you’re 3 months pregnant.
Did you know 16-30% of people report feeling bloated regularly? All that excess gas stuck in the belly can be so uncomfortable, makes you feel and look stuffed or swollen.
Good news is there are some simple things you can do to ease symptoms.
We’ve been dealing with it for years, and have found what works and what doesn’t – both for myself and my son.
Here are 3 approaches bound to help relieve bloating once and for all!
1. Chew your food!
Chew and eat your food more slowly and mindfully. Such a simple thing, right? But how often do we eat on the run or scoff our food down unconsciously?
Eating in a hurry or without chewing leads to swallowing excess air and poor digestion, as large food particles reach the stomach that have not been predigested.
Don’t underestimate the powerful effect of this simple step!
Chewing our food is the first step to proper digestion as it activates the release of saliva which contains digestive enzymes. The longer you chew? The more time these enzymes have to break your food down.
Did you know chewing your food properly also triggers the rest of the digestive process?
Chewing our food well sends signalling messages throughout the gastrointestinal tract – such as the production of hydrochloric acid in the stomach or enzymes by the pancreas.
Properly chewed food also allows your stomach to work more efficiently as it has been pre-digested. Chewing also improves the absorption of nutrients, and sufficiently relaxes the pylorus (stomach muscle) allowing food to travel through the digestive tract more freely.
We have a rule at home to only eat sitting at the table – well, most of the time! And we try to remind our kids (and sometimes ourselves!) there is plenty of time to eat – no need to hurry.
Don’t underestimate this simple tip – best of all, it’s free and you can do it straight away.
2. Rule out hidden food allergies or intolerances
If you’re dealing with symptoms like bloating, gas and indigestion, it’s worth looking into food intolerances. Food intolerances are more common that we think – and often go undiagnosed.
The most common intolerances are gluten or wheat, egg, lactose or fructose. Fructose and lactose fall under a group of indigestible carbohydrates or fiber know as FODMAPs which can cause digestive distress for many people.
Low FODMAP diet results are pretty impressive! A 2009 study in the Journal of Crohn’s and Colitis found that 50% of patients with irritable bowel showed significant improvement in bloating and flatulence when reducing FODMAPs. Another study in 2010 found it reduced gas by 75% in patients with IBS.
Reducing FODMAPS can be tricky, as they are also in ‘healthy’ foods, such as apples, beans, cauliflower and other fruits and vegetables. But like any food elimination plan designed to relieve symptoms – it’s often well worth the effort!
Identifying food triggers can be like a needle in a haystack and a guessing game. Or they can be unexpected – like for us, it was coconut that was the culprit. If you’re having trouble working out the foods triggering your bloating or aren’t sure where to start, I highly recommend seeing a practitioner to test for food intolerances or allergies. They can also guide you on FODMAPS if recommended. FODMAPS shouldn’t be a forever diet though. Once you’ve taken them out of your diet and done some gut healing work, you can slowly re-introduce them back in.
For a directory of where to find holistic practitioners that can guide you on testing for food intolerances, download my 4 Step Gut Health Action Plan on The Natural Switch website.
It’s packed with practical tips for better gut health for your whole family – where to start, practitioners to see, how to choose gut friendly foods, natural remedies and more.
3. Try natural remedies
Plant based medicine has been used for centuries around the world to relieve digestive distress, ease heartburn, constipation and IBS type symptoms. It also comes without the side effects of common prescription medications.
Here are 3 essential oils shown to help digestive symptoms
- Peppermint – shown to reduce muscle spasms and reduce bloating in IBS symptoms. A 2007 clinical study found that consuming peppermint with your meal speeds the rate that food empties the gastrointestinal tract, which may help relieve constipation or bloating.
- Ginger – improving the movement/motility of the bowel can help to reduce bloating. Ginger is found to enhance gastrointestinal motility and have a similar effect to prescription medications such as metoclopramide and domperidone. Due to its carminative, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory properties, it has been used traditionally to improve digestion and for preventing and reducing discomfort such as indigestion, nausea, gas and bloating.
- Fennel seed oil has been shown to reduce intestinal spasms and increase motility of the small intestine. Fennel is a great option for babies and children – a 2003 study found that the use of fennel oil eliminated colic in 65% of infants in the treatment group, which was significantly better than 23.7% of infants in the control group.
Want to try a combo of these three oils? Fennel, ginger and peppermint oil are all contained in a favourite blend of mine, that is our go-to for tummy upsets and bloating. Called DigestZen, this powerful essential oil blend helps relieve bloating, promote healthy digestive function and ease stomach upsets.
To purchase DigestZen at a discount or to learn more about natural remedies, head to The Natural Switch website here.
About the Author
Sofia Potente is a health researcher, educator and health professional.
As the Founder of The Natural Switch, a Local Business Award Finalist, Sofia helps women improve their family’s gut health and live healthier, happier lives, using a holistic, natural approach.
Gut health is close to Sofia’s heart as she transformed her son’s own gut health – from being in pain, heavily medicated and destined for surgery – to medication free and thriving, using the simple 4 Step approach outlined in her Gut Health Action Plan.
See her story here.
With over 14 years of experience in health research and education, mental health and cancer prevention, Sofia has published numerous research studies and has postgraduate qualifications in Public Health.
Learn more from Sofia on her Happy Mums, Healthy Kids webinar.