Whether it's caused by gas, water retention or digestive issues, bloating can disrupt your day and make you want to reach for those loose-fitting pants. The good news is that there are a number of foods you can rely on in a pinch.
Bloating—it's that uncomfortable, sometimes embarrassing sensation that can leave you feeling like your stomach has inflated like a balloon. Now your main course of action is to ensure you’re eating a balanced diet with fibre, healthy fats and antioxidants, along with getting regular exercise and steering clear of the ultra-processed stuff. But, when you’re in need of a quicker solution, there are a number of unexpected foods you can try. Some you may have heard of – you might even have it in your fridge! – and others you might be surprised to see.
Activated charcoal is exactly what it sounds like - but don't be put off! It's a substance that has been used for centuries for its medicinal and detoxifying properties. When it comes to bloating, activated charcoal may help in the following ways:
Gas Absorption: Activated charcoal is highly porous and has a large surface area, which allows it to bind to gases and toxins in the digestive tract. This can include excess gas produced during digestion. By absorbing gas, it can help reduce bloating and discomfort. Activated charcoal can also help absorb and neutralise odours in the digestive tract, which can be particularly beneficial if excessive gas is causing embarrassment or discomfort.
Indigestion Relief: In cases of indigestion or heartburn, activated charcoal may help absorb excess stomach acid and relieve discomfort. However, it's essential to use it cautiously and under the guidance of a healthcare professional in such cases.
Anti-Inflammatory Properties: Activated charcoal may have mild anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce inflammation in the digestive tract. Lowering inflammation can alleviate bloating and related discomfort.
It's important to note that while activated charcoal has its uses in certain situations, it should be used with caution:
- Timing Matters: Activated charcoal is most effective when taken before or shortly after consuming gas-producing foods or medications.
- Interference with Medications: Activated charcoal can interfere with the absorption of some medications and nutrients, so it should be taken separately from them. Consult a healthcare professional if you're on medication.
- Dehydration Risk: Activated charcoal can cause dehydration if not taken with enough water. Ensure you drink plenty of fluids when using it.
- Short-Term Use: It's typically recommended for short-term use to address specific digestive issues rather than as a long-term solution.
- Consult a Professional: If you have severe or chronic digestive problems, it's essential to consult with a healthcare provider to determine the underlying cause and appropriate treatment.
Activated charcoal can be found in various forms, including capsules, tablets, and powder. If you're considering using it to address bloating or other digestive issues, it's advisable to seek guidance from a healthcare professional to determine if it's suitable for your specific situation and to ensure safe and effective use.
Fennel seeds are a natural remedy for bloating and digestive discomfort. Here's how they help alleviate bloating:
Carminative Properties: Fennel seeds are rich in volatile oils, including anethole, which have carminative properties. Carminatives are substances that help relieve gas and prevent its formation in the digestive tract. By promoting the expulsion of gas, fennel seeds can reduce bloating and discomfort.
Relaxation of Digestive Muscles: Fennel seeds can help relax the muscles of the gastrointestinal tract, including the lower oesophageal sphincter (LES) and the muscles in the intestines. This relaxation can facilitate the movement of gas through the digestive system, preventing it from becoming trapped and causing bloating.
Anti-Inflammatory Effects: Fennel seeds contain anti-inflammatory compounds that can help reduce inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract. Inflammation can contribute to bloating and discomfort, so fennel's anti-inflammatory properties may provide relief.
Improvement of Digestive Function: Fennel seeds can stimulate the production of gastric juices and enzymes, which aids in digestion. Better digestion means that food is broken down more efficiently, reducing the likelihood of undigested food causing gas and bloating.
Soothing Effect: Fennel seeds have a mild, soothing effect on the digestive tract. This can help ease gastrointestinal irritation and reduce the sensation of bloating.
To use fennel seeds for bloating relief, you can chew them directly after meals, make fennel seed tea by steeping a teaspoon of crushed fennel seeds in hot water, or incorporate them into your cooking, such as adding them to soups or stews. Fennel seeds are a safe and natural way to address bloating, but if you experience severe or persistent digestive issues, it's important to consult with a healthcare professional to rule out any underlying conditions.
Pineapple is a tropical fruit that offers several digestive benefits, helping to reduce bloating and digestive discomfort in the following ways:
Bromelain Enzyme: Pineapple contains bromelain, a mixture of proteolytic enzymes. Bromelain can aid in the digestion of proteins, breaking them down into smaller, more manageable molecules. This digestive enzyme can improve overall digestive efficiency and reduce the likelihood of undigested proteins causing gas and bloating.
Natural Diuretic: Pineapple has natural diuretic properties due to its high potassium content. This can help flush excess sodium and water from the body, reducing water retention and the feeling of bloating.
Soluble Fibre: Pineapple is a good source of soluble fibre, particularly pectin – this stuff absorbs water in the digestive tract, forming a gel-like substance. This can help soften stool, promote regular bowel movements, and alleviate constipation, which is often associated with bloating.
Anti-Inflammatory Effects: Pineapple contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, which can help reduce inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract. Inflammation can contribute to bloating and digestive discomfort, so pineapple's anti-inflammatory properties may offer relief.
Promotion of Gut Health: The fibre in pineapple acts as a prebiotic, nourishing the beneficial bacteria in the gut. A balanced gut microbiome is essential for proper digestion and can help prevent bloating and other digestive issues.
If you’re not one of those heathens who think coriander tastes like soap, you’re in luck! This herb can provide digestive relief (alongside its fresh and citrusy flavour) and help reduce bloating in the following ways:
Anti-Spasmodic Properties: Coriander contains natural compounds that have anti-spasmodic effects on the muscles of the digestive tract. These properties help relax the digestive muscles, reducing cramping and discomfort associated with bloating.
Carminative Effects: Coriander is considered a carminative herb, which means it can help alleviate gas and promote its expulsion from the digestive tract. By preventing the accumulation of gas, coriander can reduce bloating.
Aid for Digestion: Coriander has been traditionally used to support digestion. It can stimulate the production of digestive enzymes, which helps break down food more efficiently and reduces the likelihood of undigested food causing gas and bloating.
Anti-Inflammatory Benefits: Coriander contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that can help reduce inflammation in the gut. Lowering inflammation levels can alleviate bloating and related discomfort.
Detoxification Support: Coriander has been studied for its potential to help the body detoxify by binding to heavy metals and other toxins in the digestive tract. A cleaner digestive system can function more efficiently, reducing the risk of bloating.
To incorporate coriander into your diet for digestive relief, you can use it as a fresh herb in salads, salsas, and soups. It pairs well with a variety of cuisines and can add a burst of flavour while providing digestive benefits.
Join us for the ALL-NEW Beat the Bloat Gut-Loving 8-Week Program and we’ll help you change the way you look at food – and that doesn’t mean you have to follow restrictive diets or miss out on your favourite foods; we believe you can still enjoy delicious food without jeopardising your health. We know it can be hard to stick to your health goals – especially when you’re trying to manage it alone. When you sign up with us, you’ll have access to clear-cut meal plans, community support and exclusive access to our sugar-free content. Here’s what’s on offer:
- 8 weeks of gut-boosting meal plans and shopping lists.
- Community forums to share your journey.
- Support and guidance from the I Quit Sugar team.
- Exclusive content from our panel of experts.
- Exercises for gut health.
So, if you’re ready to put your gut first, it’s not too late to join. We’d love to help you get started on your health journey. Sign up HERE today!