What a lovely topic right? But honestly, who hasn’t been in a position where they wish they knew the best answer to this question? Because let’s face it, when you’re feeling super bloated, you would do just about anything to get relief.
As awkward as it is to write this article, it must be written for the good of all!
How to Relieve Gas – The Herbalist’s Way
Why am I so Bloated?
It all begins with diet my friends! I know that the holiday season has been less than optimal for our digestive symptoms. Who can resist the endless veggie and cheese plates, cured meats, olives, and other h’orderves? Or the mountains of cookies, cakes, and pumpkin pie? And let’s not forget the alcohol. It’s tough, really tough. It’s offered by your host and you eat it…and then…THE BLOAT happens. I’m sure you know it well this time of year especially. It’s the time of year you never cease to be bloated after eating due to the sheer abundance of foods available. It seems endless!
Typically, bloating occurs because of poor food combining and over eating. It can also happen when you have had a few too many bubbly drinks like beer, soft drinks, or sparkling wine or even be because of low stomach acid or not enough bile to help properly digest your food. Either way, feeling bloated is uncomfortable.
The most common symptoms for bloating are:
• Extended stomach
• Gas- flatulence and belching
• Gurgling stomach/intestines
• Feeling of fullness
• Abdominal pressure
• Stagnant digestion
The stomach will often look like you’re 6 months pregnant and will normally take hours to go down. When you’ve reached this point, many people are willing to do all kinds of crazy things just to get relief. Hopefully this article helps you to do just that!
How to Relieve Bloating
The first and foremost thing to do is to prevent bloating from happening in the first place. Proper food combining and avoiding known allergens is the best way to keep your stomach flat. Of course, this is nigh impossible after Halloween hits for a lot of people, so the next best thing is to be prepared (try keeping a good enzyme with you) and be mindful while eating your meals. If you aren’t present during a meal, your body will not release the proper gastric juices needed for optimal digestion. This of course leads to bloating and other uncomfortable digestive issues. So eat with reverence while following the below tips!
Avoid Problem Foods
This should go without saying, but I’ll mention it anyways. If you know of certain foods that give you digestive troubles no matter how often you eat them (because yes, your body CAN adapt to foods), then you’re better off avoiding them. It could be that you have an intolerance to these troublesome foods.
Some of the most common culprits include:
- Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts, kale, cauliflower, etc.
- Spicy foods
Drinking While Eating
Try to avoid drinking too much liquid during meals. Doing so will put out the “digestive fire” leading to poor digestion, gas, and bloating. It is recommended to have only a small amount (about ¼-1/2 cup) of liquid with your meals. Anything more than that can cause poor digestion in sensitive individuals. It is also recommended to avoid drinking fluids at least 30 minutes before/after eating to prevent bloating. Evidently, drinking a large glass of water 30 minutes to an hour before your meals helps prevent digestive upset and bloating.
Applying pressure to the abdomen can be beneficial for relieving gas. Try to roll the palms of the hands across the abdomen in a counter-clockwise circular motion to help ease and release bloating.
This always gets a laugh from me, but it works for most people. Simply put your rear in the air and wait for a bit. You’ll know if it works…lol You can also lay on your stomach or on your left side to encourage relief.
Gentle yoga would be good for this too.
Getting regular exercise will help keep things moving if you know what I mean. Sometimes all you need to do is move around! Take a walk, go for a jog, ride a bike. Even taking a short walk will help your body get the gasses out! Leading a sedentary lifestyle tends to cause things to back up in the digestive tract so daily movement is key.
If you haven’t heard of this nifty contraption then you’ve been missing out! Honestly, this thing changes lives, I’m not even kidding.
The squatty potty allows for better elimination by correcting your body’s alignment while going number two. I have heard of people being able to stop bloating in its tracks just by using it. Check it out here.
Taking daily probiotics will strengthen good bacteria in your gut allowing for better digestion. The better your flora is the less bloat you will get as the bacteria will be more equipt to absorb and assimilate nutrients. having imbalanced gut flora allows certain foods and sugars to ferment which is what causes gas and bloating. I recommend this brand.
Another great tool to have on hand when combatting bloating, enzymes have the ability to assist your body in digesting all kinds of troublesome components in food. Take them right before a meal to help jump start the digestive process. Some can even be taken after meals. I like this brand and this brand.
Eating too fast, on the go, or while you’re stressed can drastically impair digestion. Not only that, you actually end up swallowing more air! Allowing time to chew your food properly will decrease bloating not only because you’re digesting properly, but also because you will be swallowing less air as you eat.
Eat Less More Often
Eating huge meals can wreak havoc on the digestive system pretty much ensuring that you’ll feel it later. Snacking or eating smaller meals throughout the day will help keep you satisfied and bloat free.
Hospitals make you chew gum after surgery for a reason. It helps you pass gas! Choose a gum with a strong peppermint or cinnamon flavor and chew till you get relief. I like healthier gum with xylitol to help keep my teeth strong and healthy at the same time. Win win!
Herbs for Bloating and How to Relieve Gas
You can often find caraway collecting dust in your spice cabinet because it isn’t often used in western cooking, but now you will be using it daily! Caraway is known to be very effective against gas causing bacteria in the intestinal tract. It is also a carminative herb which helps prevent gas or aid in its release. You can buy caraway here.
Simply chewing a pinch of caraway will relieve bloating symptoms but you can also make a strong tea with caraway seeds and sip it before and during meals. You can also add caraway to homemade sourdough recipes.
The stronger you steep it the more effective it becomes! Be wary though, strong chamomile tea can taste very bitter, but bitter flavors are GOOD in my book. The bitter taste will encourage the release of bile, enabling your digestive system to properly digest fats and function at its best. A lot of the time, bloating is caused by a poor ability to breakdown fats so strong chamomile tea is the answer you’ve been looking for. I like this tea.
A tasty remedy for bloating, fennel is known to help quickly expel built up gasses from the intestinal tract. It contains strong carminative properties (especially in its volatile oils) and helps soothe cramping and pain in the abdomen.
Eating a fresh fennel salad with meals is a tasty way to prevent bloating, but you can also chew the seeds before and after meals for quick relief. Making a strong tea will quickly relieve gas and bloating as well. You can find fennel as a capsule or tea on amazon.
You can also try applying diluted fennel essential oil over the abdomen to help encourage relief.
Ginger is known to be a strong carminative herb, meaning it is great for stagnant digestion such as gas and bloating. The gingerols it contains also relieve cramping and improves circulation to the abdomen. I find it best to make a very strong tea (learn how to make my favorite one here) and drink it as hot as is comfortable. I will normally drink a few mugs-full for best results.
One of the best remedies for all manner of intestinal distress, peppermint is a must have for every kitchen. Its powerful essential oils soothe the gastrointestinal tract and helps expel built up gasses. Taking peppermint oil soft gels is a popular way to help prevent and control IBS as well as relieve bloating.
Some other great herbs to consider are:
Each one can be made into a strong tea and taken during or after meals for best results.
What have been your tried and true remedies for relieving gas and bloating? Share below!
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