6 ways to reduce bloating and improve digestion naturally – Part 2

In Part 1 of this article, I listed 3 easy ways to improve your digestion that you can start today. Here are 3 more simple ways you can improve it even further.

1. Don’t drink water before or during your meal

If you have digestive problems such as bloating, not drinking water before or during meals can help. Water is important for proper hydration, however some people may benefit from reducing fluid intake around meal times. Water and other liquids can dilute stomach acid and increase the volume of food in the stomach, adding to the feeling of bloating.

What to do: Have a drink 30min before and 1 hr after a meal, but not with your meal.

2. Cook your vegetables

Sometimes when people have imbalanced gut flora, fibre in raw vegetables may be problematic and contribute to bloating, gas, abdominal pain, constipation or diarrhoea. It’s because the digestive system needs more energy to break down vegetables when they are raw, and when this process is not complete the gut bacteria can feed on undigested fibre, releasing gas. Cooked vegetables (and other foods such as meat or fruit) are easier to digest. Cooking starts the breakdown of food molecules, so it’s easier for the gut to digested it further.

What to do: Focus on boiled, steamed or lightly sautéed vegetables. Juicing can also be a good alternative as it takes away some of the fibre.

3. Eat fermented and bitter foods

Fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, yoghurt and kombucha are readily available now and found in major supermarkets in the UK. These fermented foods have been used for centuries in various cultures around the world because of their beneficial effect on the gut and subsequently, on the immune system too. These naturally fermented foods help improve the gut microbiome because they are full of beneficial probiotics and digestive enzymes.

Bitter plant foods can help address digestive problems such as heartburn and bloating because the bitter substances they contain help stimulate the release of stomach acid. Bitter foods include: rocket (arugula), endive, chicory, artichokes, broccoli, cauliflower, ginger, pepper, cardamom, dandelion leaves and herbs (thyme, marjoram, lovage, rosemary, tarragon, bay leaves, sorrel, sage)

What to do: Include fermented foods in your daily diet. Start slowly if you are not used to them as they will cause a shift in the gut microbiome and can cause bloating to start with. Focus on natural, raw, unsweetened fermented foods. Incorporate bitter foods in your meals, or try having them at the beginning of the meal to improve digestion. Introduce chicory drink – an excellent caffeine free alternative to coffee.

These are just some general tips but remember what works for one person, may not work for someone else. If in any doubt, please get in touch and I’ll be happy to have a chat with you.

Let me know in comments below what has helped you to improve your digestion.

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