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Must try home remedies for bloating
Posted 6 months ago by Clare
Do you sometimes just want a simple answer? Are you tired of life being complicated? When it comes to bloating would you just love a few simple remedies to get rid of that dreaded bulge?
I am going to endeavour to give you some nice and easy, deflating tips that are simple to sort at home. These are tips that I have personally tried and found work for me, and for those I have suggested them to. As well as being a health practitioner, I am a keen traveller. Well, I was when I had the time. I love all that you can learn from other cultures, their people, their customs, and their food! Whenever I have been away, I always come home and ponder over how detached we in the West have become from ourselves, our environment and our bodies. And if you look at other cultures, their food, and their routines and rituals are often deeply embedded in what is necessary for good health.
So here are a few tips, including some I have picked up whilst away from home.
Have you ever noticed that the spices used in the Middle Eastern and Asian foods we love to savour are actually also used as remedies? Cumin turns out to be a biggie. This has absolutely got to be my new favourite remedy. It really works. On a recent trip to Morocco, I went into a herbal pharmacy and asked them for their best remedy for bloating. The man disappeared and came back with a bag of cumin and some water. Told me to sit down and then offered me a huge desert spoonful of cumin powder. I have to admit to taking one look at that and baulking. In fact, I joked that he was a little mad, to which responded by swallowing an entire mouthful and giving me a big grin. I did eventually manage a large teaspoon which in fact is easily swallowed back with water and really doesn’t taste as strong as I expected. And, it worked.
In Sanskrit, cumin actually means ‘that which helps digestion’. Cumin stimulates the stomach, gall and pancreatic secretion giving it excellent overall digestive qualities (1). It is also antispasmodic soothing tense digestive tracts and removing gas from the intestine. And as an added bonus cumin has high levels of magnesium and iron in it so it also nourishing and good for anaemia. Cumin also contains cuminaldehyde which is an important phytochemical extending many health benefits, it is thought to help with lowering blood sugar levels as well as preventing clotting. (Anyone with blood clotting conditions or on diabetic medication should check with the doctor before using this in large quantities)
You can take Cumin as I was told to. However, there is no scientific research to give us dosing guides so I would err on the side of caution and just use a small teaspoon full. Another way to take it is using the seeds, crush them and then steep them in just off boiling water to make a tea. Adding cumin to some yogurt is also very palatable. Of course, you can also get supplements containing this spice, but all you need for this home remedy is cumin in your spice cupboard.
I’ve known about Fennel tea for a long time. However, again on my trip to Morocco, I was given a tea after my meal which looked more like murky pond water than anything else. This was not peppermint tea as was usually served, but instead was a deeply brewed fennel cuppa. It reminded me of how sanitised our teas can be. We like them to look pretty. However, are they actually strong and ‘raw’ enough to do the job? This tea had been made with both the seeds and the little fine fluffy leaves from a fennel bulb and clearly steeped for ages. And again, I personally found this tea so soothing.
Fennel is an important herb which has been used in Chinese, Indian, Arabian and Western recipes for flavour as well as for its healing properties. Fennel contains oils called anethole, fenchone and estragole that are all believed to be antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory as well as antibacterial and antimicrobial. A fantastic concoction of benefits for a struggling digestive tract. Fennel is also a diuretic so will help flush excess water and toxins out of the body. (Again, due to lack of research on safe quantities, use this in moderation or avoid, if you have any hormone-related conditions such as endometriosis, breast cancer, fibroids)
To make fennel tea pour 1 cup of just boiling water over 1-2 teaspoons of freshly crushed fennel seeds. Steep this mixture on a hot stove for 5-10 minutes without boiling again. You can include the leaves and even some of the bulb as well if you have these. Then strain and drink. Or alternatively just chew on the seeds as they do in The Middle East and India.
Ginger, lemon, turmeric and cinnamon drink
This is a delightful and easy to make drink that will bust your bloating. Ginger (2) is a calmative so helps calm intestinal activity, and this relaxation helps expel gas from your digestive tract. It is anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant as well, Gingerols are also pain relievers which is helpful for any abdominal pain that often comes hand in hand with bloating. Turmeric is thought also to work as a calmative and protect against gas forming (3), antispasmodic (4), and is a well-known anti-inflammatory. Animal studies show that curcumin (turmeric) stimulates the digestive process by improving the action of lipase which is the enzyme that breaks down fats as well as sucrase and maltase, enzymes that break down carbohydrates(5). Lemon and Cinnamon also have similar properties with lemon being a great detoxifier.
Watch this vlogger here for a fun 5 mins on how to make this tea. I would suggest adding some black pepper as this helps the absorption of Turmeric
Anyone who has been to India will know that meals are often finished off with a lassi. It’s well known here in the West that regularly consuming yogurts with live cultures supports your gut flora and therefore gut health. So why not team it up with some spices to make a yummy spicy anti-bloat lassi. You need:
• 1 cup room-temperature water
• ¼ cup fresh homemade yogurt
• 1 pinch ground ginger
• 1 pinch ground cumin
• 1 pinch ground coriander
• 1 pinch salt
Just blend these for a minute and then drink.
Bitters – radishes, chicory, and apple cider vinegar (as well as lemon juice)
'Bitters' stimulate your digestive juices and stomach acid. These digestive juices contain enzymes which are vital to efficient digestion of foods. If this does not happen bloating can occur. This is more of a preventative tip than a remedy, but one worth keeping in mind (and the cupboards) for those likely bloat days. Just chomp on radishes or chicory before eating. Or alternatively mix a tablespoon of vinegar with a little water and drink before main meals
The last two recommendations are not food or spice based at all. There are all sorts of possible causes for bloating such as food intolerances and gut dysbiosis. However, one of the most common causes is stress. Stress can cause almost instant bloating. Ever felt your belly tighten up into that familiar frustrating bloat but also taken note of how the rest of you feels physically? Shoulders up? Jaw tight? And breathing quite shallow and unrelaxed, and only going as far as your chest? This tension causes not only your digestive tract to tighten and be more likely to cause bloating. But this tension and stress can also reduce the blood supply to your gut causing digestive disturbances including bloating. The two best things for this are exercise and breathing.
Get your trainers on, or get yogic
Go for a brisk walk, easy run or whichever physical activity it is that you enjoy doing. Exercise gets your pulse rate up, blood circulating, relieves stagnation, gets the bowels moving and helps air bubbles to be released.
Yoga is also an excellent form of exercise for your digestive system. If you speak to a true yogi they will tell you that from the ‘natural wisdom of yogic psychology,' a powerful 'digestive fire’ not only enables us to digest and absorb our food properly thereby getting the essential nutrients we need. But a healthy fire in our belly is also directly correlated to our mental and spiritual wellbeing. If we can properly digest our food, then we can more easily 'digest' the emotional difficulties that arise in our lives. Now, this may sound weird to some but it rings true to me. Often when we are stressed, anxious or angry, our digestion goes to pot. Yet when we are relaxed and happy there are fewer moments in our day when we even think about our digestion. The link between gut and mind is a strong one and one which is being constantly researched. Yoga is an excellent way to bring together exercise and breathing to create a calm mind and a calm belly.
Click here for 5 poses to relieve bloating
Or alternatively, check YouTube for some great video tutorials. I personally really like Yoga with Adriene
Finally – if getting in yoga kit and doing a downward dog is just too much for you on a particular day. Simply remember to breathe. As mentioned stress stops us breathing adequately. In fact, shallow breathing causes over-breathing and when we over-breathe we expel our carbon dioxide too quickly. Carbon dioxide is as necessary for our body as oxygen. Over-breathing can, therefore, cause chemical changes in our body which can among other things cause us to feel almost breathless (ironically), anxious and our stomach to feel in knots. Try to be aware of your breathing. Regularly reassess it. Sit comfortably, let your tummy hang lose, then breathe in slowly, hold, then breathe out slowly. Do this several times and then repeat several times a day. This will help with anxiety, tension and therefore also the bloating.
So get shopping for your spices, lemons and yoga mat, subscribe to YouTube and be prepared to beat that bloat.
If you loved this you will also love 5 products for bloating.
1 Johri, R. K. (2011). Cuminum cyminum and Carum carvi: An update. Pharmacognosy Reviews, 5(9), 63–72. http://doi.org/10.4103/0973-7847.79101
2) Handiadka R et al (2011) A review of the gastroprotective effects of ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe) Food Funct. 2013 Jun;4(6):845-55. doi: 10.1039/c3fo30337c. Epub 2013 Apr 24.
3) Ammon HP et al (1991) Pharmacology of Curcuma longa. Planta Med. 1991 Feb;57(1):1-7
4) Itthipanichpong C (2003) Antispasmodic effects of curcuminoids on isolated guinea-pig ileum and rat uterus. J Med Assoc Thai. 2003 Jun;86 Suppl 2:S299-309.
5) Platel K et al (1996) Influence of dietary spices or their active principles on digestive enzymes of small intestinal mucosa in rats. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 1996 Jan;47(1):55-9.
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