How To Debloat
It might not be your favourite thing to talk about but have you found yourself dealing with bloating recently?
I know how frustrating it can be to work hard at improving your fitness and nutrition, feel like you're making great progress and suddenly experience the discomfort and see the signs of bloating. Bloating can feel like a real setback when you're putting serious work into being healthy, but I want you to know that it is totally normal and there are some things you can do to reduce bloating!
How to debloat
There can be a number of different causes of bloating but whatever the reason, I’m sure we can all agree it is uncomfortable. What makes it worse is bloating can sometimes trick you into thinking you haven’t lost weight or that you are doing something wrong. The good news is that there are ways to get rid of bloating so you can feel comfortable again.
Read on for my top tips on how to reduce bloating.
What is bloating?
Bloating is the temporary and forced expansion of your lower abdominal region. In other words, it looks and feels like your belly is pushing itself out at the bottom. There are actually a number of reasons why this could be happening.
What causes bloating?
The most common causes of bloating are:
Hormones, periods and some forms of birth control, such as the Pill
Food intolerances, allergies or deficiencies.
These common causes of bloating can actually be linked in one way or another.
How to Get Rid of Bloating
It is really important to understand that, depending on the type of bloating you have, different remedies may help to get rid of bloating. These are some of the things you can do to reduce bloating.
If you want to know to debloat fast — drink plenty of water! Water can help to restore balance in your body and help it to run smoothly again, which is exactly what you need after eating fatty and sugary foods.
When you’re feeling bloated and full, drinking things such as soft drinks may make it worse. The bubbles in carbonated drinks move air into your stomach, which can make you feel more bloated and uncomfortable. Try to keep a drink bottle with you at all times — it makes it easier to remember to sip on water throughout the day. Another great option is to have some fruit-infused water if you’re trying to cut back on soft drink but still want some flavour.
Give ginger a go
To get rid of bloating, try giving some ginger a go! Ginger can be so helpful for smoothing your stomach because it can help to stimulate the digestive juices, assisting with the breakdown of food. That means your stomach can process the food more easily, so it empties faster. The gases produced in this time can then move through your small intestine more quickly — helping to reduce any buildup and discomfort.
It is best to use fresh ginger (if possible) so that you can reap its full benefits, including easing an upset stomach. Ginger can have quite a strong taste if you aren’t used to it, so I recommend taking it slow! Try grating some into a glass of hot water with some freshly squeezed lemon or some honey, which can help to dilute the taste a little. Ginger also tastes amazing when added to juices and smoothies, or you can add it to your main meals, like my prawn stir-fry recipe!
Stay away from salt
If you want to know how to get rid of belly bloat, this tip is really valuable! Feeling uncomfortable and bloated from the day before can be the result of eating too many foods high in salt. Salt can cause your body to hold on to excess water and may give you that puffy, bloated feeling. The best way to debloat is to stay away from foods that are high in salt and give your body a chance to let go of all of that excess water. As I mentioned above, drinking water throughout the day can help if you overdid it on the salty foods.
Be aware of food intolerances
Food intolerances, allergies and nutrient deficiencies can put stress on your digestive system.
An example of this is lactose intolerance which is when you have an inability to digest lactose, a type of sugar found in dairy products. If you have an intolerance for any food or nutrient, such as lactose, it will almost always cause symptoms such as bloating, flatulence and even diarrhoea.
Tips to avoid food intolerance or allergy-based bloating:
- Try to avoid the food or use alternatives.
- If the issue is an enzyme deficiency (such as lactase with lactose intolerance) try using an enzyme supplement that helps support healthy digestion.
- Organic apple cider vinegar can help kick-start digestion so your stomach can manage your meal better and minimise bloating. Try having 1 tablespoon in a glass of water before a meal.
Pop a probiotic
Another way to help your body debloat is to include some probiotics in your day. Probiotics can help to balance the digestive flora in your gut, which can help create a healthy microbiome and reduce bloating.
You can find probiotics in food sources such as natural yoghurt, sauerkraut, kimchi and other fermented foods. Alternatively, you can take a probiotic supplement, however, remember to check the ingredients list for any sugars or additives.
Asparagus is rich in potassium, which can help to regulate the fluid balance in your body and counteract all of the salt you may have consumed that has made you feel bloated. Chop some up and saute it with a little olive oil or add it to your breakfast omelette.
Try making something nourishing like my quick cauliflower base pizza — it has asparagus but also uses herbs for flavour, so you won’t be overloading on salt.
Steer clear of onions
Onions contain fructans, which are oligosaccharides and polysaccharides (forms of carbohydrate). Humans don’t have the enzyme needed to break these materials down properly, which can lead to malabsorption. The gut bacteria then ferments the fructans, which may cause bloating, gas and abdominal pain, particularly for anyone with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
While some people may have no issues with onion, others can become quite bloated after eating it. If onion is a problem for you, try adding cucumber to your salad or wrap instead of raw onion. Cucumbers are a natural diuretic so they can help to flush out excess water.
Ease into exercise
It might be the last thing you feel like doing but exercise can help you to debloat fast. When you move the muscles in your body, it stimulates blood flow, which can help to ‘wake up’ your digestive process. Gentle stretches can also be useful for stimulating your organs and aiding the digestive process. Take it slow — you should begin to notice a difference once you’re done. A short walk can help too!
Sip some peppermint tea
If you’re wondering how to debloat overnight, sipping on some peppermint tea can be a nice gentle option! Peppermint can help to soothe inflammation and it also aids in relaxing the digestive tract, which makes it easier for food to pass through. A cup of peppermint tea after dinner can help get rid of bloating gently, especially if you accidentally overdid it.
Eat a banana instead of dried fruit
When a piece of fruit is dried, it makes the natural sugars and fibres more concentrated. The bacteria in your colon can start fermenting any sugar and fibre that hasn’t been digested — leading to a buildup of gas. Either drink some extra water whenever you eat dried fruit or switch to whole fruits instead.
Both banana and kiwifruit are sources of potassium, which helps rid your body of sodium. Kiwifruit also contains an enzyme called actinidin, which can help speed up digestion.
Those are some of the ways to reduce bloating fast!
Now, I don’t want you ladies to worry that you should deprive yourself of the foods you love out of a fear of bloating. Just be mindful of your nutrition and follow some of these tips and you should be fine.
Even if you are feeling bloated, for whatever reason, remember that you still need to eat! It might be tempting to skip a meal but that will only cause your blood sugar to drop. This can make you feel irritable or sap your energy, which isn't a great tradeoff for not feeling bloated! It may also lead to eating a larger portion later in the day, which is likely to make you feel bloated again!
Lastly, don’t be too hard on yourself and feel guilty if you eat any differently from what you set out to do. Now you know how to debloat, you can focus on helping yourself to feel better.
* Results may vary. Strict adherence to the nutrition and exercise guide are required for best results.