You already know that if you eat crap all day, that’s how you can expect to feel. Aside from being low in energy and foggy headed, an upset stomach complete with belly bloat is on your horizon. But what if you eat healthy, drink enough water, and avoid foods that make you bloated, like dairy, and you still feel bloated? Stephanie Clarke and Willow Jarosh of C&J Nutrition, registered dietitians and authors of Healthy, Happy Pregnancy Cookbook, have a quick tip that has nothing to do with what you eat.
Their simple advice is “to implement a daily stress reduction technique, whether this is deep breathing or five minutes of meditation daily.” There is a strong connection between your brain and your gut, and not just for people with IBS or other digestive issues. Your emotional state directly affects how your belly feels. You’ve no doubt experienced this when you’re nervous about a flight or if you’re going through a breakup — you either have to run to the bathroom or feel too nauseous to even think about food.
Deep breathing, mindfulness, and meditation can help keep your digestive system calm and running smoothly, which in turn reduces the chances of recurring bloating. “In addition, deep breathing and mindfulness can help slow down your eating at meals, and that can also help to reduce bloating because you’ll likely swallow less air if you eat more slowly, chew thoroughly, and take deep breaths between bites.”
Don’t worry if you’ve never meditated a day in your life. Start off with an easy approach: first thing in the morning, sip on a hot cup of tea, breathe deeply, and set an intention for your day. Try it every single day, for five to 10 minutes, for a week and see if you notice a sense of calmness that resonates to your belly.