Cramps and bloating are two of the worst digestive issues to deal with and can significantly reduce your quality of life, not to mention that they be painful and wreck your mood!
Whether you’re a female dealing with menstrual cramps, or you’re just someone who suffers pain and bloating after meals that’s accompanied by cramping, there are many things you can do to reduce symptoms and find relief.
First Things First …
One of the first things to do to relieve cramps and bloating is to avoid taking harsh stimulant laxatives or over the counter drugs.
These products can disrupt the normal patterns of the digestive tract and even deplete healthy levels of gut bacteria. The result of this unfortunate circumstance is that over time, these products make gut problems even worse because of how they affect the body as a whole.
Many over the counter remedies for cramping and bloating can also lead to general inflammation since they contain synthetic drugs and chemicals.
So what’s the solution when you’re desperate for relief?
One of the first things to do is to look at your diet. A high-fiber diet is important for relieving cramps and bloating because it helps move food through the digestive tract on a regular basis, however, fiber intake is a tricky issue.
If you take in too much fiber at once, it can actually backfire on you and lead to cramping and bloating because your body isn’t used to all the high fiber intake at once. However, since we need fiber to keep wastes moving out of the body, the answer is to choose whole food sources of fiber and eat them in smaller portions while increasing your intake of fiber slowly over time.
Processed foods that claim to have fiber should also be avoided. Many of these products, such as granola bars and cereal, contain types of fiber that can be harsh on the body and lead to further pain and bloating.
With these things in mind, take a look at these 10 simple, healthy foods that relieve cramps and bloating quickly. You should notice that they help keep your belly in working order without causing pain in the process. Be sure you also drink plenty of plain water throughout the day and eat a diet rich in whole foods as you add these foods to your diet.
10 Beneficial Foods to Add to Your Diet to Relieve Cramps and Bloating
Berries are fantastic foods to eat because they’re high in a soluble fiber known as pectin. Soluble fiber tends to be more gentle on the body because it forms a gel in the stomach and aids in elimination whereas insoluble fiber can lead to harsh movements in the gastrointestinal tract and cause cramps and bloating in the process.
We need both insoluble and soluble fiber for optimal digestion, but most people take in too much insoluble fiber and not enough soluble fiber. Berries have both types of fiber yet are very gentle on the body.
Fresh or frozen blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries are all great foods to add to your diet. You can also enjoy more exotic berries such as goji, maqui, camu camu, and acai berry if you choose.
Add one cup of berries to your day either in some oatmeal, a smoothie, a salad, or enjoy them as a snack. Either way, they’re a fantastic food that improves not only digestion, but also your heart, mood, and waistline!
It isn’t just an old wives tale that one apple a day will keep the doctor away. Apples are one of the best foods you can eat for digestive health for several reasons, starting with the fact that they’re a great source of pectin and rich in soluble fiber. In fact, the fiber found in apples is a prebiotic type of fiber which feeds the good bacteria in your body and improves gut health over time.
Apples are also very alkaline fruits meaning they reduce inflammation and improve the pH balance in the body.
If your body is too acidic, your stomach can quickly become inflamed and cramping may occur. Apples keep things moving along very well without causing pain in the process, and they’re a great source of potassium which also fights bloating and cramping.
The key to eating apples for optimal digestion is to either eat them alone when you can, say 30 minutes before a meal or as a quick snack.
Because when eaten with high-protein foods or high-fat foods, the body will digest the apple (and other fruits) more slowly which can lead to the fruit fermenting in the stomach. This can lead to pain and bloating, so try to eat your fruit away from high-fat and high-protein foods when you can.
Or, blend yourself up a smoothie as another option since it’s easier to digest.
3. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are a wonderful food to add to your diet because they’re extremely gentle on the system and packed with nutrients that boost digestion. Sweet potatoes can help relieve pain and bloating because they are high in soluble fiber, potassium, Vitamin C, and magnesium which all play a role in a happier digestive tract.
Sweet potatoes are also very anti-inflammatory foods and contain just the right amount of fiber to keep you regular without causing pain and bloating. Feel free to enjoy one sweet potato per day either at breakfast or lunch; they’re one of the best foods you can eat for a healthy body and mind!
Carrots are another wonderful food that works wonders to improve digestion. They’re a great source of gentle fibers and potassium which help to reduce pain and inflammation in the body. Carrots are also a great source of Vitamin A and Vitamin C.
Since they can be a bit fibrous and harsher when eaten raw, carrots should be lightly steamed when your system isn’t working up to par. While raw carrots may retain slightly more nutrients, lightly steamed carrots tend to be much easier to digest for most people
5. Wild Rice
Wild rice is a very easy to digest food because it’s technically a grass and not a grain. It’s also very anti-inflammatory and excellent for relieving cramps and bloating quickly. Wild rice also helps sooth the nervous system because it’s a good source of magnesium and potassium.
Your nervous system is largely housed in your digestive tract and can affect how often you are bloated because of the way your nerves affect hormones that can lead to bloating, so taking care of your nervous system is pivotal to optimal gut health.
Eating foods like wild rice that improve your nervous system is a great way to reduce stress while also giving your body healthy foods to fill your appetite.
Cook wild rice just like you would regular rice, perhaps with some carrots, celery, and some low-sodium vegetable broth as a delicious and comforting side at dinner. It will satisfy your hunger without leaving you cramping or bloated after you eat which is what we all want after every meal, right?
Pineapple is a wonderful food that improves your digestion. It reduces bloating and pain because it’s high in enzymes that boost the digestive process and reduce the rates of constipation. Pineapple is also a great source of Vitamin C, potassium, and several trace minerals.
Enjoy a slice of pineapple before a meal or enjoy a cup with your morning breakfast. It’s a wonderful food to relieve inflammation in all parts of the body and can be benefitted from in more ways than one.
Scared of the sugar in pineapple? Don’t be! One cup of pineapple has just 13 grams of sugar which is less than an apple or an orange. The sugar from fruit also benefits your body much more than processed sources of sugar that can disrupt your blood sugar levels and hurt your heart.
7. Seedless Cucumbers
Cucumbers are well-known for fighting cramps and bloating, but those teeny tiny seeds that are found in cucumbers can often be problematic for individuals who have sensitive digestive tracts. So to benefit from cucumber’s anti-bloating benefits, just choose the longer, seedless varieties instead.
Cucumbers are packed with water and potassium which can flush out your system naturally without dehydrating you or causing cramping in the process. They’re also a very alkaline food so they reduce inflammation and pain in general.
Enjoy them in a salad, smoothie, or just snack on them raw with some raw almond butter or sprinkled with lemon juice and black pepper.
Zucchini is also a very easily digested food and is similar to cucumbers in the way it benefits the body. Zucchini actually has more potassium and Vitamin C than cucumbers and helps aid in elimination since it’s high in soluble fiber.
Zucchini squash is usually easy to digest whether eaten raw or cooked since it has smaller seeds than regular yellow squash, but if you are sensitive to raw vegetables, be sure to enjoy your zucchini lightly steamed versus raw. Zucchini pairs great with just about any other vegetable, and it goes wonderfully with wild or brown rice and some simple herbs for seasoning.
Speaking of herbs, add some mint to your diet pronto! Fresh mint is a magical food for improving digestion and relieving pain and bloating quickly. It’s also delicious when added to a smoothie and can be enjoyed in water with lemon for a refreshing treat.
Mint works its wonders by reducing cramps and it helps keep you regular by promoting healthy digestion. Keep a look out for mint at your local grocery store or buy your own mint plant to grow at home. Not only is it very easy to grow, but you’ll have mint at your disposal right when you need it the most!
Sauerkraut is high in probiotics which keep your gut bacteria in check and reduces further pain and bloating. The probiotics in sauerkraut have also been shown to improve immune health and improve mood due to the way these good bacteria affect the overall mind and body.
When buying sauerkraut at the store, be sure that you buy it in the refrigerated section instead of on the shelves. The bacteria in sauerkraut is only active when it’s kept cold and refrigerated.
A Few More Things …
Along with these foods to add to your diet, experiment with rolled oats and brown rice which tend to be gentle whole grains most people digest easily and that can help reduce pain and bloating.
Avoid especially fibrous foods that are harsher on the body such as wheat bran, excessive nuts and seeds, and avoid high-fat foods since they can slow down digestion and lead to cramps and bloating in the process.
Fresh greens and cooked vegetables are especially nourishing to the body and are important for optimal gut health. Fresh vegetable juices may also be helpful as you look to improve your digestion and are easy to make at home if you have a juicer.
Finally, be sure to get some movement each day which will keep your gut in working order and help ensure things stay moving along as they should be.
Remember, the key idea is to give your body nutrition while you eat simple foods that work with your system and don’t tax the body in the process. For more tips on digestion, you can also check out this holistic guide to help you improve your gut health naturally for the long-haul.
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