Beat The Bloat!
It’s summertime, and you know what that means! Pool time, family get togethers, beach days, camping and more. Despite the strange times, most people will be spending a lot time outside with those they love. It’s certainly not a time that you want to feel super bloated and gassy, that’s for sure!
What’s that? Your big boat weekend is only a week away and you’re feeling a bit like the Michelin Tire man? Not to worry, getting rid of bloating can be faster than you think if you’re willing to put in the work.
Now let me say this first, before you all get the wrong idea. I am not one for quick fixes. If you know me, or have read some of my other blogs, then you already know that I’m a root cause kind of gal. As a physician, most of my work involves working with people long term so that they can figure out what causes their symptoms (like bloating) so that they can stay better permanently. That being said, I know that sometimes we just want to feel better fast, then tackle the big problems once we’ve had a chance to look decent in a swimsuit!
So here are my top 5 ways to reduce bloating naturally:
1. Cut the sugar – Especially if you have an event coming up, then you shouldn’t have any issues taking a week off of the sweet stuff. This means ALL sugar. Added sugars, like in coffees, candies and desserts, but also as many carbohydrates as possible like potatoes, breads, pastas, chips and crackers. While sometimes carbohydrates can provide energy, most of the time they are doing more harm than good. As far as feeling bloating, carbs can contribute in multiple ways. The first way is by feeding not so good bacteria in our gut. As these bacteria ferment the carbs they release gas creating, well…gas. The other way they often get you is by causing inflammation. A diet high in carbohydrates, particularly processed foods, is known as inflammatory and can leave you feeling achy and puffy all over!
2. Cut the booze – Alcohol is another major cause of inflammation in the body. Most alcohols also have a high carb or sugar content which causes the above-mentioned issues. Alcohol also taxes the liver. When your liver is functioning lower it has trouble eliminating toxins from the body, which is its main job. A body full of toxins will definitely be much more puffy and bloated than one that isn’t!
3. Drink more water – It’s a common thing for people to cut water when they want to “lean out” like we see athletes doing before a body building competition. The problem with that is that most of us aren’t elite athletes who are typically working out hard and eating fairly clean, so their bodies are relatively free of toxins. Drinking more water a week out from an event will help to flush more toxins and excess sodium out of the body so that it can decrease the inflammation and puff. Ease off the extra water the day before your big event and you’ll not only look great but you’ll feel so much better. A good guideline for a “flush” would be to drink 2/3 of your body weight in ounces of water. For example if you weigh 150lbs, then you would drink 100 oz. of water daily.
4. Stay away from processed, pre-marinated and prepackaged foods. Foods like these, even marinated meats from the store, may contain huge amounts of sodium, especially yucky forms of sodium like MSG to up the flavor of the food. While I’m not all about people cutting out tons of salt, because sodium is actually really important for our cells, this type of artificial sodium packs massive amounts in small portions which can cause…you guessed it, inflammation and water retention.
5. Consider adding a probiotic. While sometimes probiotics take a while to work, often times many notice a quick turnaround, especially in elimination and regularity. If you’ve got a belly full of poop, it’s certainly going to be difficult to make it any smaller if we don’t work on getting rid of it. The best way to get into a probiotic is to see a functional medicine physician who can let you know what type is best for you as an individual. If time is of the essence, there are a few brands that I recommend commonly that work well for a majority of people. You can find these probiotics here. Search for BioDoph7 or Therapearls.
I hope these tips help you feel better fast so you can enjoy the rest of your summer. As I mentioned, don’t take a quick decrease in symptoms as a full solution to the reason they were there in the first place. While the above tips can work quickly in a pinch, and certainly improve your health, they will only keep you in good health if you keep up with them long term. If you’ve been suffering from tummy troubles for a while then I highly recommend that you see a qualified functional medicine doctor to help you really get down to the bottom of what is causing these issues!
It's time! Enjoy your summer!
Dr. Caroline Ricker has been passionately helping people avoid unnecessary medications and surgeries since 2009. She combines a very logical functional medicine approach to digestive disorders and more using a more alternative holistic approach, utilizing standard lab tests and in-office evaluations as well as nutrition, acupuncture and homeopathy.
Whole Health & Wellness
10807 Big Bend Road
St. Louis, MO 63122
P: (314) 269-3847