Today I’m treating a topic that concerns way too many people, me included. Hive five if you are among the many suffering from bloating and other gastrointestinal problems.
A few months ago I had told you about IBS and my personal process against food intolerances. Well the process is almost over, and I feel much better, a lot less bloating and bellyaches. It’s not perfect, and I still have my moments when I feel shitty: that’s why I’m writing this article, to help us both fight bloating when it comes up. So here are my tips and advice, you will discover or be reminded of some ingredients that will become your best friends. I also need to thank a dear friend for enlightening me about these secrets, thank you Francesca.
Bloating may be caused by various things: bad fats, yeast (bread, cakes, pizza…), too much dairy, alcohol, and of course stress. Now imagine a combination of all these elements and you end up with massive spasms and belly aches that can make you stay in bed all afternoon. I’ve been there.
Bloating is air and fermentation in the intestines, causing pain and other digestive problems. Bloating will not help you have a flat belly either.
- Food to avoid when you’re bloated
• Yeast & bread
Everything containing yeast is going to swell in your belly. Food with yeast will also tend to ferment. So try to avoid bread, white flour, cakes, pizzas., etc.
It’s a shame, but pasta too can make you bloated.
While regular rice (Thai or basmati) will not bloat you, sushi rice will. It’s made to stick together.
• Veggies and fibres
I’m addicted to veggies I admit, and maybe I eat too much which creates fermentation and hence bloating. You need to avoid butternuts, brocolis, cauliflower, kale, aubergine, carottes…
Also fibres that are usually your friends, will not help when you are bloated.
• Legumes and potatoes
Beans, chick peas, lentils or potatoes that are usually good for you, full of proteins will make you hurt! Maximum bloating ahead.
• Red meat
It will ferment, reduce or avoid.
Good bye onions, it provokes gas in the intestines: not something new, but always good to know.
• Ready meals
It’s pretty obvious but with all the additives and preservatives or added sugars you will hurt yourself (and not just when you are bloated if you have them on a daily basis).
• Meals that are too sophisticated or spicy
As much as I love them, spices or chili will irritate your belly. Exotic food isn’t great when your belly is in pain.
Avoid sugary food. Prefer fructose from fruits (although don’t eat pears as they can make you bloated).
Wine is acid and irritating. Beer is great at bloating. Cocktails are a combination of alcohol and loads of sugar, so not to abuse.
2. Spices and tips against bloating
This is your best friend. Grated or cut into small chunks you can let it infuse in hot water, drink the tea and eat the pieces. At first it’s super strong, but you get used to it quickly. I drink it in the evening but also when I wake up, in my lemon juice, on an empty stomach.
• Lemon juice
Squeeze a lemon in the morning, add water and drink it 10-15min before your breakfast. Lemon activates the digestion. Combined with ginger it’s also detox and burns fat.
• Curcuma (or tumeric)
This spice is amazing, anti-inflammatory it’s used to heal in the countries where the root grows. Use it to perfume some meal. I like it with bananas or in golden milks.
It’s also a great spice for the immune system.
Drink infusions or mint tea or to season your salads. Mint is a great asset when it comes to bloating, or nauseas by the way.
• Thyme & rosemary
In herbal teas or seasoning.
3. Food to favour
• Lean meat and fish
Think chicken and tuna for instance. Law calories, they don’t ferment in the digestive tube.
• Low fat yogurts
• Tomato, cucumber
To eat raw. You can have cucumber in smoothies too.
• Sweet corn
In salads or even corn crackers for breakfast with almond puree for instance.
Chop it in a salad with olive oil, a bit of pepper and cherry tomatoes. Steam or cook it in a pan. Fennel is your belly buddy.
– Grapefruit, clementines, oranges
– Red Fruits: blueberries, wild berries, etc.
– Banana, pineapple
– Dried fruits
• Vegetal drinks
Vegetal drinks of “milks” with rice, almond, hazelnut, coconut, etc. They bring variety and are easier to digest than cow milk.
• Sources of fat to favour
Olive oil, nuts and nut purees (almond, hazelnut, etc.)
4. A simple rule to keep in mind: avoid mixes
Eat as simply as possible, with little seasoning. I mentioned earlier the risks of being too adventurous with spices. You need to go easy on a painful belly.
It also means to avoid mixing carbs or types of proteins. For instance if you have rice, try not to eat fruit after. If you have meat, don’t eat yogurt or cheese afterwards, and so on.
5. Control your water consumption
We need about 1.5L of water everyday. Personally I drink too much (about 2,5L) and I can be bloated from water too, especially when I drink too much while eating. Now I try not to drink during meals and also stop water 1h before having lunch/ dinner, and wait another hour after to start drinking again.
6. A formidable tip : bicarbonate
It’s a grand-mother recipe, and I was a bit anxious about drinking bicarbonate at first. But it turned out to be not so bad, and pretty efficient. 1 teaspoon of bicarbonate + 1/2 glass of water: drink and goodbye pain. It also works when you overdo it at dinner and need a quick solution.
Charcoal absorbs gas. You consume it in capsules between meals, about 1h before eating. It’s efficient. However just a little warning: if you are subject to constipation, rather not use charcoal as it could make things worse.
Pilates teaches how to breathe properly. When you do pilates exercises, especially abs, you help your body expulse the air in your belly. A good thing to add to your daily routine if you know about them.
9. Bonus tip : minding your food is good, caring for your mind is better
I was telling you earlier how bloating can be caused by stress. Well in a more general way, digestive problems are often linked to what goes on in your mind, in your life. And guess what? Your body reacts quicker than your mind. They say intestines are our second brain. So maybe, and I’m telling myself first, we should try to listen more to what our body tells us.
How about you, any tip you know about ?