KILL THE BLOAT NATURALLY WITH EASTERN MEDICINE
Feel Your Best (Fast!) With These 6 Tips
Everyone gets bloated. Sometimes it’s after a big meal, or during your time of the month. Whatever the reason, bloating is uncomfortable and can stop you from feeling the best in your own body.
Luckily, just because it’s natural doesn’t mean it’s unavoidable. Here’s the best advice from eastern medicine on how to get rid of bloating and discomfort.
What Causes Bloating?
Bloating happens when our gastrointestinal tract gets filled up with air or gas. You might feel swelling or pain in your lower abdomen, and you may notice that your stomach looks bigger and feels hard. Farting and burping are other side effects of bloating, too.
Western medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), and Ayurveda all agree: the root cause of bloating has to do with digestion.
According to TCM, the main culprits when it comes to bloating are the Stomach and Spleen. The Spleen and Stomach work together to digest your food, absorbing nutrients and turning them into blood and Qi (your life energy). They’re also in charge of sending blood and Qi out to other organs throughout the body. But when there’s a problem with your Spleen or Stomach, our digestive system doesn’t work very well and Qi can begin to stagnate. This leads to bloating, low energy levels, a poor appetite, and puffy skin.
When it comes to Ayurveda, bloating is caused by a dosha (energy) imbalance, also known as having a weak digestive fire. Having too much vata–the air energy–can lead to bloating and gas. This is usually caused by eating foods that are high in vata, like beans, carbonated beverages or alcohol. Other bad habits, like eating too fast or too slow, not sleeping enough, and having high stress levels can imbalance our doshas as well, leading to uncomfortable bloating.
How To Get Rid of Bloating With Eastern Medicine
Pick the Right Foods
Since bloating is all about digestion, it makes sense that eating the right foods in the right way can help us get rid of bloating. Here are some good rules to stick to to prevent bloating:
- Skip carbonated yeasty beverages like soda, kombucha, and beer
- Don’t overeat because this can overload your Spleen and Stomach
- Incorporate more bitter foods, like orange peel, chamomile and kale into your diet. These help move your Qi downwards and reinvigorate your digestive system.
- Ditch starchy foods that are hard to digest like potatoes, bread, and noodles
- Opt for warm foods rather than cold ones. According to TCM, warmth helps the stomach digest food better. This even applies to drinks, so skip the ice cubes. In Ayurveda, cooked food helps stoke your digestive fire, preventing bloating.
Eat The Right Way
When it comes to bloating, it’s not just about eating the right foods. You also have to eat them correctly, or your digestion could get messed up. Here’s some good rules to remember:
- It’s important to eat at the right speed. According to Ayurveda, eating too fast can prevent some of your food from being properly digested. Make sure to chew each bite 20-30 times to make sure you can digest it and get all the nutrients out.
- Don’t eat too slowly, either! This can lead you to overeating, which is also bad for digestion.
- Don’t eat if you haven’t finished digesting your last meal. You need enough time in between meals so you can get rid of the excess waste and prepare yourself for your food.
- Make sure to ditch any distractions during mealtime. That means no answering emails or watching TV. mindful eating helps our bodies digest things better.
Eating the right food in the right way isn’t the only thing that can help with bloating. If you’re feeling some swelling and discomfort, try giving yourself an acupressure massage to get your Stomach Qi flowing again.
Lie down on your back on your couch or bed. Put your hands, one on top of the other, right above your right hip bone. Move in a circular motion up the rib cage, then over to the left rib cage and down to the other hip bone. Continue rubbing in a circular motion for about 10 minutes and you should notice the bloating get much better.
Take A Hike
Worried about bloating after a meal? Then hit the road. A study from 2008 showed that taking a light walk after a meal can help speed up your digestion, preventing bloating and gassiness. According to TCM, getting some light exercise will help get your Qi flowing and ease bloating.
Namaste the Bloat Away
Yoga is a doubly-effective remedy for bloating because it helps target two things that cause the swelling–stress and a blocked up gut.
Some yoga poses like downward dog, baby pose, happy baby pose and squats can help encourage your GI tract to stretch out and release gas. You can also do twists, either seated or standing, to put some pressure on your intestines and squeeze out the gas. Just make sure to do these poses in private unless you want others to be around when you finally let go of all that gas.
Studies show that for people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), stress can actually make bloating and gassiness worse. Yoga has long been touted as a great tool for stress-relief, and researchers have found that people with IBS who practice yoga actually noticed a big difference in their IBS symptoms, including bloating and gassiness. So the next time you’re feeling bloated, strike a pose and you should notice some relief.
Peppermint has been used around the world to help upset stomachs and ease bloating pain. That’s because it helps to relax the muscles in your digestive system, making it easier for gas and digested food to pass. In TCM, peppermint is known for its ability to boost Qi circulation, which is also great for digestion. Since you’re supposed to drink and eat warm foods and drinks to help boost digestion, a nice cup of peppermint tea will definitely make you feel better.
Bloating can be annoying, painful, and stop you from looking your best in your bathing suit. But luckily, there are things you can do to prevent bloating and stop it in its tracks when it does happen. So the next time you’re in gastrointestinal distress, take a leaf out of eastern medicine’s book and try tweaking your diet and moving your body to kill the bloat.