Your day hits the 3pm mark, a slump kicks in and something feels a bit off in your stomach, the bloat is back and it is killing your buzz.
Beat the bloat quick with these 5 teas that will sooth, relax and make you feel a million bucks.
Digestive disorders like bloating, cramping, spasms and general discomfort are common place these days and no wonder why. We work ourselves hard for the money, socialise by eating out where the food isn't always Jamie Oliver quality and run from one commitment to another without giving our poor bodies and belly a rest to digest. City living is fun but it can be tough, it can also cause a host of unwanted symptoms, including that uncomfortable feeling of fullness, discomfort and ultimately the opposite of how you are wanting to be feeling in your days. Bloating affects most of us from one time to another, and is caused by trapped gas that builds up in your gastrointestinal tract, for some people it's every day and for others it may strike you when you least expect and this is why having a game plan to beat the bloat just makes sense. You want to feel good, look good and be at your best at all times and bloating ain't got no place in the equation, right?
The Brain in Your Gut
To get you on the right path to beating the bloat it's important you first understand the 'Gut-Brain Axis' and how it relates to your symptoms. Why? Because to tame the bloat we need to tame the mind; listen up to learn how.
The gut–brain axis (GBA) is the biochemical, bidirectional signalling that takes place between the gastrointestinal tract and the central nervous system; linking emotional and cognitive centres of the brain with peripheral intestinal functions. Essentially what this means is your stress affects gastric and intestinal function, even delaying gastric emptying which is known to cause bloating. You may also notice that your bloating may cause you stress or put you in a bad mood, again this is attributed to the GBA.
Those times where you are under heightened stress are the times you are most likely to experience bloating.
In particular irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) which is commonly diagnosed when bloating is mentioned is now considered a gut-brain axis disorder. When treating a bloated belly, we can now see that it's about soothing the brain as much as it is about soothing your stomach. Knowing this alone can be a great remedy to curbing the bloat and if you are interested in learning more I suggest you start with this video and this study. So the take home message here is treating the belly plus treating the mind equals you finally beating the bloat.
5 Teas to Beat the Bloat
Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) contains at least 4% anethol and fenchone, the essential oils that give it it's anti-bloat kick. It is a potent antispasmodic and carminative for any stomach disorder . Fennel has a slightly sweet, somewhat smooth flavour and is quite enjoyable to be sipped during the day or before rest to settle and deflate a distended stomach. Not only does it taste great but fennel will leave you feeling light, fresh and calm headed. Pour one cup of hot water onto one teaspoon full of the freshly crushed fruit, cover and let steep for 5 minutes, then strain. Drink 1-2 cups, several times per day.
Anise (Pimpinella anisum) contains at least 2% trans-anethol, another essential oil known for it's anti-bloating effect. Anise is a known carminative, it tastes great and is also an expectorant (so great when you are sick with a cold). Anise tastes quite similar to fennel, both being from the umbelliferous family, it's sweet, smooth and full flavoured. Anise will leave your belly warm, soothed and wanting more of this delicious tasting brew. To prepare pour one cup of boiling water onto one heaped teaspoon of the crushed fruit, cover and let steep for 10-15 minutes, then strain. Drink 1 cup, several times per day.
Hops (Homulus lupulus) is not just that delicious ingredient in your favourite Young Henry's beer but also a useful remedy to curb your upset and pregnant belly looking stomach. Unlike Fennel and Anise, the effect of hops is not attributed to it's essential oil content but rather it's bitter acids humulone and lupulone. Hops bitter acids have a stomachic (stimulate stomach activity) as well as a sedative effect. The bitter constituents stimulate the release of digestive acids and enzymes which assist in digestion and prevent the bloat. Hops will leave you feeling chilled in the mind, calm in the gut and possibly craving a cheeky lager after work. It is indicated for bloating caused by nervous stomach, racing mild insomnia. To prepare pour one cup of hat water onto one heaped teaspoon of the fruit, cover and allow to steep for 5 minutes. Consume 10-15 minutes before meals, 3 times per day.
Peppermint (Mentha piperite) is one of the oldest medicinal herbs. The primary active constituents of peppermint are the volatile oils, tannins and bitters. Peppermint exerts a spasmolytic (relieves spasm) action on the smooth muscles of the gastrointestinal tract, it also has a carminative and antibacterial effect. Peppermint is best indicated in those with complaints of bloating with nausea or bloating with sharp stomach pains. Peppermint tea pairs well with lemon balm to enhance it's anti-bloat effect and flavour and will leave you feeling minty fresh, light and refreshed in the belly. To prepare, pour one cup of hot, not boiling water onto two teaspoons of the leaf, cover and allow to steep for 10-15 minutes. Sip slowly while as hot as possible and sweeten to taste with honey if desired.
Lemon Balm (Melissa Officinalis) also known as one of my favourite teas is known for it's volatile oils citronellal and citral a & b. Lemon balm has a antispasmodic, carminative and sedative effect. It can also be described as a nervine agent useful in conditions of bloating caused by nervous stomach, stress and overwhelm. Lemon balm is a light, refreshing and minty flavoured tea which is enjoyable to most tea enthusiasts. To prepare pour 1 cup of hot, but not boiling water, over 2 teaspoons of the leaf, cover and allow to steep for 10-15 minutes. It is best drunk after meals especially after your evening meal and a teaspoon of honey can be added to enhance it's flavour.
Where to Buy
Take a look at your local health food shop, bulk food shops like The Source and tea house or ask your naturopath. You can stock up on these teas in large quantities once or twice a year as they last really well stored in an air tight containers out of the light.
How to Prepare
It's really important to have a favourite mug or tea pot on the go, this should now be a stock standard item in your home or at work. To have a beautiful and pleasant looking mug makes the tea go from being a medicine to being a meditative activity and an enjoyable part of your day, I quite like the range at T2 as they are colourful, functional and down right pretty. Drinking tea is one of the most effective practices to become a mindful person, doing it on a regular basis will bring you closer than ever to being that meditative, calm and chilled out person that you want to be. To learn more about how to become a meditative person, read my blog here.
Simply maintaining a stock of these 5 teas will make you feel fresher, lighter and more energised day in and day out without that nasty bloat following you around. There is no need to feel sluggish or to reach for meds, now you have your tea collection in place you will be the envy of the office and will be round house kicking your way through the 3pm slump!
Jennifer stocks a range of over 40 organic or wild crafted herbal teas in her Inner West clinic. For tea purchasing enquiries please contact Jennifer at firstname.lastname@example.org or place a comment below.
Jennifer Ward Adv Dip Nat, Bcom Econ
Jennifer is a leading naturopath trained in herbal medicine, nutritional medicine and health coaching. Consultations available by appointment at www.jenniferwardnaturopath.com.au. For speaking engagement enquiries or to collaborate email email@example.com.
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