Home remedies for bloating
Bloating is one of the most common symptoms that my patients complain of. Its uncomfortable, painful and can even cause people to feel self-conscious about their appearance as you ‘feel 8 months pregnant’. While there are many reasons for bloating (please see my previous blog , there are some simple home remedies that bloating that you can try at home:
1- Peppermint oil
Peppermint oil is great for bloating and other digestive symptoms such as gas or indigestion. It is a carminative herb, which means that it acts as a relaxant to the digestive tract, calming down spasms and reduces the buildup of gas, thereby preventing bloating. The volatile oils within peppermint work locally in the digestive tract to reduce inflammation and also has It tastes pleasant and is cost effective. Simply add 2 drops into a glass of water or herbal tea and sip. You can also try rubbing some peppermint oil on the abdomen for bloating relief.
2- Ginger tea
Ginger is another carminative herb that reduces abdominal bloat as well as a digestive stimulant and demulcent. Demulcent herbs work to soothe and reduce inflammation in the mucous membranes lining the digestive tract. Gingers effect on stimulating digestion means it increases transit time as well as digestive acid and enzyme production to clear contents of the GI tract more quickly. The longer something sits around in the digestive tract, the more gas and fermentation will occur, leading to bloating. A ginger tea between meals helps to reduce bloating and improve digestion. Ginger tea bags will work, however it is just as easy to add some freshly grated ginger with a squeeze of lemon into boiled water and strain after 5 mins or so.
Fennel is the number one herb for bloating. Another carminative herb, the British herbal pharmacopeia states that it is useful for ‘flatulent dyspepsia’. It works best when the bloating is related to flatulence and gas. Fennel has an aniseed flavour, and tastes great when added into salads. I use a potato peeler to add shreds into my salads. Fennel seeds make a nice addition to meat marinates when crushed using a mortar and pestle. Fennel can also be purchased in a tea bag to sip throughout the day and is often combined with other herbs such as licorice or ginger for digestive support.
4- Apple Cider Vinegar
The bitterness of apple cider vinegar stimulates digestion by increase stomach acid production. This in turn ensures that our food is broken down efficiently and reduces bloating. It has lots of other health benefits such as improving liver function, stimulating gall bladder function, regulating bowel movements, increasing nutrient absorption and stimulating metabolism. In fact, anything that tastes bitter will stimulate digestion and reduce bloating such as lemon juice in water, a few olives before dinner or dark green leafy veggies such as chicory or radicchio. Apple cider vinegar is a cost effective and strong way of incorporating more bitter foods. Add 1 tsp of good quality and ideally organic apple cider vinegar into about 30-50mls of room temperature water and ‘shot’ before breakfast and dinner.
5- Fermented foods
Fermented foods contain natural live cultures (like probiotics) that improve our digestive health and reduce bloating. While not commonly incorporated into a western diet, this foods do wonders for digestion. Fermented foods include sauerkraut, kefir, yoghurt, kombucha or kimchi. While it is ideal to make these yourself, this can be quite time consuming and there are some great companies who now sell fermented foods. Try your local farmers markets or health food stores.
If these simple home remedies don’t help to resolve your problem please make a time to see me at the practice on 9518 0722 for a fuller evaluation to identify the underlying cause of your bloating.