Oh the dreaded bloat – What can we do about it?
This simple technique is free, available to everyone at anytime of day and most importantly, is oh-so effective!
Most of us actually breathe in shallow breaths which tells our body that we are in a stressful situation and activates our “fight or flight” nervous system. Conversely, deep breathing tells our body we are safe and activates our “rest and digest” nervous system – this is where we want to be for that bloat-free lifestyle.
There are several breathing techniques but I personally love the 4-7-8 breathing technique because research shows that when our exhale is twice as long as our inhale, our body shifts to rest and digest.
I like to do 3-6 rounds of 4-7-8 breathing before each meal to help reduce/prevent bloating.
Hands up if you have attempted to reduce bloating by eating multiple small meals across the day and/or graze and snack throughout the day? I know I certainly used to!
This might help reduce bloating straight after a meal, but by the end of the day, you’ll likely experience a more severe bloat. Why? Because the migrating motor complex (MMC) hasn’t had a chance to do its job properly.
The MMC is our body’s own internal cleaning mechanism a.k.a the housekeeper of our gut.
The MMC kicks in around 90 minutes after eating: It ‘sweeps’ through the gut, cleaning out any undigested food and bacteria down and along our digestive tract.
If our MMC is absent or disordered, then bacteria are allowed to accumulate in the small intestine leading to an overgrowth. This is why SIBO and all the symptoms that come with it (bloating, constipation, flatulence – to name a few) is commonly associated with an absent or disordered pattern of the MMC.
Eating food or drinking anything with calories in it literally stops the MMC. Therefore, by spacing meals and snacks 3-5 hours apart you can support your MMC function which in turn helps to improve bloating (and gas, and constipation) and decrease the risk of SIBO relapse.
If your meals are balanced with adequate protein, healthy fats and plenty of fibre from colourful veggies, then meal spacing by 3-5hrs apart should be easy to implement.
However, if you have blood sugar imbalance then please reach out before implementing.
This beat the bloat hack has made one of the most noticeable differences in bloat to both myself and my clients.
Exercise has so many benefits, it can improve our mood and sleep, reduce stress and it also works wonders for bloat by helping us to clear out gas and encourage daily bowel movements.
However, exercise can put temporary stress on the body by releasing cortisol. Research shows that cortisol can impair our gut lining integrity, interfere with gut motility and drive inflammation in the gut. All of which can exacerbate digestive issues like bloating, reflux, abdominal pain and diarrhoea. Hence intense exercise is not recommended for those trying to heal their gut.
To beat the bloat, consider switching HIIT, spin and crossfit classes to lower intensity exercises such as pilates, yoga, walking, gentle bike riding, swimming and gentle weight or bodyweight workouts.
And remember, this does not mean avoiding intense exercise forever, but avoiding this temporarily, whilst you heal your gut or whilst you’re symptomatic, can can make a huge difference to bloating.
Looking for more support with bloating?
With my 1:1 clients, we take a deep dive into the above techniques plus many more strategies to beat the bloat, for good! Gut healing can feel overwhelming at times, so having someone to support you every step of the way and guide you on how to implement changes slowly, easily and effectively can really make a difference.
Book a 30 minute free call to discuss how we can work together to help you beat the bloat.
If you’re ready to start living your life to the full, without being controlled by your gut then get in touch today