How To Reduce Bloating Through 5 Easy Ways

5 Easy, Expert-Led Ways To Reduce Bloating

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Are you feeling bloated right now? If our collective internet histories are anything to go by, many of us are. Recent Google Trends date revealed that searches for “anti bloating foods” have soared, while the number of people trying to establish the “reasons for bloating” has doubled. Bloating can feel uncomfortable and, in some extreme cases, debilitating, so understanding why we bloat – whether that’s due to irritable bowel syndrome or a reaction to certain foods – and ways to rectify it, is useful.

Before we start, it’s worth noting that there’s a dark side to the world of bloating remedies. The term has 532.8 million views on TikTok, with a worrying number of posts highlighting users with six-packs, showing how they “reduce bloating”. While some might be well-intentioned or even helpful, posts around the topic can quickly veer into detox tea territory, so it’s really important to only seek out and heed advice from qualified experts when it comes to your digestive health.

If the festive period has impacted your stomach in more ways than one, Rhian Stephenson, nutritionist, naturopath and founder of Artah, explains some of the key things to know about preventing and relieving bloating.

Focus on your motility

Motility is the gut’s ability to successfully contract and move food through the digestive tract – if it is slow, you’re more likely to experience bloating. “If motility continues to be slow for some time, it can contribute to constipation, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) and other bacterial imbalances in the gut,” Stephenson explains. “Poor motility is common in those suffering diabetes, chronic stress and thyroid issues, but one of its key regulators is triggered by the absence of food, so eating too frequently can also slow things down.”

If you are chronically stressed, make relaxation – breathwork, going for a walk, even deliberately putting your phone down for a prolonged period of time – a priority. If eating too frequently could be the issue, Stephenson recommends leaving at least 12 hours between your dinner and breakfast the following morning, and avoiding grazing. “Aim for a three to four hour gap between meals during the day,” she advises. “Walking is a prokinetic agent for the gut, which means it helps everything move, so try and walk after meals, or even just more frequently throughout the day.”

Avoid raw food

When feeling bloated, you might assume that simple, raw food is a good idea – wrong. “Too much raw food can be difficult to digest and will exacerbate bloating if your digestive system is under fire,” says Stephenson. “Many vegetables have tough cellular structures that require more energy to digest, so while they are great source of fibre, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, you should seek to reduce your intake if bloating is an issue.”

Swap the raw foods you currently eat for cooked versions of the same, until you start to feel better. And make sure you chew your food thoroughly. “It’s an important part of digesting raw vegetables, but most of us don’t chew enough,” adds Stephenson.

Take your apple cider vinegar

If you’re not already on the apple cider vinegar (ACV) hype, take this as a sign. “As well as offering a protective effect on the microbiome, ACV is great for digestion. It helps to acidify the stomach which, contrary to popular belief, is actually a good thing,” explains Stephenson. “It helps trigger digestion by cleaving inactive forms of digestive enzymes into their active forms.” Mix 30ml of ACV into water and consume before a large meal.

Incorporate digestive bitters into your routine

Often used in Traditional Chinese Medicine, digestive bitters help to stimulate digestion, regulate bowel movement and detoxify. “They trigger digestive enzyme production, bile secretion and promote optimal acid levels in the stomach, plus some of them also have an antispasmodic effect, which can help when you’re also suffering from cramping,” says Stephenson. Try adding Artah’s Digest + Debloat into water before or after a meal – you can also mix it with ACV if it’s easier.

Drink the right kinds of alcohol

While alcohol – sadly – isn’t great for your gut, if you are going to drink it then it pays to opt for the right kinds. Avoid Champagne, white wine or sugary cocktails. Instead, enjoy drinks which contain some health benefits. “Certain types of wine will have a more diverse phytonutrient profile than others, which – when drunk in moderation – may help counteract some of alcohol’s negative effects on the microbiome,” says Stephenson, who points to organic Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon as examples. When a nutritionist lets their hair down, they might do so with vodka, gin or tequila, all of which are low in sugar.

This article was originally published on British Vogue.

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