Bloating is something we all can relate to. Most of us get it at some point, some of us struggle with it always. Your stomach feels distended, your face is puffy, your legs are swollen, you’re generally uncomfortable. So we apply creams under our eyes and wear stretchy pants. But that’s not getting to the root of the problem.
Here’s how to understand what causes your bloating, and what you can do about it.
1. FOOD SENSITIVITY
If you have a sensitivity to foods like dairy, gluten, egg, or soy, you will feel bloated. From what I’ve seen in thousands of people I have worked with, cutting out these major allergens can dramatically reduce puffiness and abdominal dissension. Read ingredients lists, you’ll find that these three foods are often in processed foods. Replace gluten products with quinoa, millet, amaranth and buckwheat. Replace dairy with seed milks and nut milks. Replace soy protein with hemp seeds and chia. You’ll notice a difference right away in abdominal bloating and you’ll notice a reduction in your overall puffiness within a couple months.
2. LYMPHATIC ROAD BLOCK
Our lymphatic system is like the circulatory system—except that instead of bringing nutrients to the organs, it effectively takes out the trash. It removes waste from the body. However, it can get clogged when we eat mucous-forming foods, leading to more bloat. Dairy, gluten, eggs, and soy tend to clog the lymphatic system because they are mucous-forming, but meat can too. If you prioritize fruit, vegetables, seeds and gluten-free grains in your diet, you will soon find yourself not just looking and feeling less bloated, but you also may feel more energized and healthy. By unblocking pathways, you are allowing your lymph to flow so your body to cleanse itself for stronger immunity and vibrance!
3. FRUIT FOR DESSERT
Beats chocolate cake, right? Well, it does but it can also lead to bloatedness. Fruit digests very quickly, which is why you want to eat it on an empty stomach or between meals. That way it can move right through your digestive tract. When you eat it on top of a heavy meal, it can ferment, causing bloating. Don’t get me wrong, fruit is one of the most healing, cleansing, energizing and nutritious foods you should have, in fact you should have plenty of it. Just not for dessert!
4. DEHYDRATION & FLUID RETENTION
We often think that, if we’re drinking a lot of water, we’re contributing to the bloat. Not true! The body is more likely to retain fluid if we are dehydrated, so make sure you are drinking up and drinking the right kinds of fluids. Drink pure water (rather than tap water) whenever you can so you are not taking in extra chlorine or fluoride. Alternatively, drinking coconut water straight from the coconut is extremely hydrating and also rich in electrolytes.
BEAT THE BLOAT: PARSLEY WATER
In addition to removing certain foods and drinking more water, there’s one more trick you can try. Parsley is a diuretic that also helps flush and strengthen the kidneys. By drinking it, you are allowing your body to naturally flush out toxins. If you feel swelling coming on and drink parsley water, you’ll notice a difference very quickly. Besides, it’s delicious! Combine two cups water with a bunch of parsley, raw honey, lime and strawberries. Choose organic whenever possible and drink up!
First published on MindBodyGreen.