In spring, it is known, some ailments can get worse. As can happen with allergic asthma, with tiredness, but also with gastrointestinal problems, such as acid reflux, which was the subject of an article published recently, or intestinal disorders, which we will discuss today. During this period, disorders such as bloating, stomach pain and constipation can appear more easily, or worsen if already present. The causes are many, such as a change in diet but also changes in the body induced by longer and brighter days. What can we do to alleviate and counteract these symptoms? In the following we offer interesting tips, based, as always, on scientific research. However, the premise we make is that, if you have intolerances or allergies to particular foods, it is important to contact a specialist who can follow the case and evaluate a diet, perhaps eliminating foods considered problematic, but avoiding do-it-yourself which could lead to remove important sources of livelihood.
Physical exercise helps against bloating and constipation
Studies have shown that physical exercise, especially riding a bicycle or stationary bike, helps by significantly reducing bloating. It should be emphasized that any type of physical exercise is beneficial in this case and that a sedentary lifestyle, perhaps preferring the supine position on the bed or sofa, worsens the retention of intestinal gas (Lacy et al, Gastroenterol Hepatol, 2011). Not only that, regular and moderate physical activity, such as a brisk walk, is also beneficial in case of constipation, while an inactive life increases the risk of developing this disorder (Gao et al, Scand J Gastroenterol, 2019).
The role of probiotics in regulating intestinal functioning
Probiotics are live bacteria that, once taken through specific drinks or supplements, support our gut microbiota, helping it to function at its best. Studies have observed that the intake of probiotics of the Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium infantis and Bifidobacterium lactis type improved, within two months, bloating, even in the presence of diarrhea, and reduced abdominal cramps (Lacy et al, Gastroenterol Hepatol , 2011). Then, probiotics are also useful in counteracting constipation, by stimulating peristaltic movements (He et al, Molecules, 2022).
Small tips for great benefits against bloating, abdominal cramps and constipation
To counteract bloating, abdominal pain and other problems such as constipation, there are some guidelines you can follow. First of all, it is important to chew foods well and slowly so that they are soaked in saliva. Then, it is important to get up from the table not feeling completely full. At the table, one should also avoid talking about stressful topics and problems, which would only make eating faster by swallowing air and thus worsening bloating (Larijani et al, Iran Red Crescent Med J, 2016). Another recommendation is to add, to the culinary preparations, spices and herbs with a carminative action, namely useful to counteract trapped wind, such as dill, parsley, basil, fennel, thyme and celery (Larijani et al, Iran Red Crescent Med J, 2016 ). Mint deserves a separate mention, the leaves of which can be added to vegetables, salads and fruit salads. Mint, in fact, contains essential oils with an important carminative and antispasmodic action, also useful to regulate intestinal transit (Roudsari et al, Daru, 2019). In case of constipation, it is also useful to include wholemeal bread, dried figs, raisins, prunes and kiwifruits in your diet and remember to take liquids, in the form of water, juices, centrifuges, fruit and vegetables (Larijani et al, Iran Red Crescent Med J, 2016 - Bae et al, Pediatr Gastroenterol Hepatol Nutr, 2014).
Herbal teas and remedies against bloating and constipation
In case of a bloating you can prepare herbal teas with a carminative action. Ask the pharmacy for a mixture of cumin, fennel and anise, but these mixtures can also be found ready-made in shops and supermarkets. Bring a cup of water to the boil, remove from the heat and add a tablespoon of the mixture, let it rest for 15 minutes, then filter and drink after the meal (Larijani et al, Iran Red Crescent Med J, 2016). Among the remedies we can also mention aloe vera juice, which is found in supermarkets and specialized shops. In fact, studies have shown that drinking 30 ml of aloe juice twice a day for 8 weeks has helped reduce abdominal pain and bloating. Not only that, aloe juice also counteracts constipation (Fifi et al, Nutrients, 2018). Then, in case of constipation, yellow tea helps, too, by ensuring hydration and better intestinal transit (Cao et al, Food Funct, 2021). Yellow tea is a type of tea that is obtained from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, the same as green tea and black tea. To prepare the yellow tea infusion, bring a cup of water to the boil, remove from the heat and wait a couple of minutes for it to reach 70-80°C. Add a teaspoon of tea leaves and steep for 3-4 minutes, then filter and drink. Ginger has also been shown to improve digestion and relieve gastrointestinal disorders such as bloating, flatulence and heartburn (Brimson et al, Nutrients, 2021). You can grate fresh ginger root on salads, vegetables, fish and fruit salads, or you can steep 1 centimeter of ginger root in a cup of boiling water for 15 minutes and drink once it is warm. Finally, don't forget the benefits of clay. In fact, clay has adsorbent properties on intestinal gas, thus helping to reduce swelling and abdominal pain (Droy Lefaix et al, Dev Clay Sci, 2006). In the evening, pour a teaspoon of clay into a glass of water, ventilated green clay is fine, and let it rest overnight. The next morning drink only the water and not the clay deposited on the bottom. Alternatively, you can find clay-based supplements.
Yoga against bloating and constipation
There is a yoga position, called Pavana muktasana, or the position of the release of the winds, which, as the name suggests, helps in particular in case of bloating and trapped wind. Get on your back. Exhale, bend your right leg and bring your right knee close to your chest, inhale and stretch your arms over your head and legs in front of you, exhale and bring your bent left knee towards your chest, inhale and stretch your arms and legs, continue like this way for a few cycles. Alternatively, even yoga positions that require twists are helpful when it comes to counteracting constipation, bloating and abdominal pain (Kavuri et al, Evid Based Complement Alternat Med, 2015). Sit on the ground, cross-legged. Exhale and rotate the torso to the right, the right hand rests on the ground while the left presses against the right knee, helping the rotation. Inhale and relax slightly, with the exhale try to rotate a little more. Then release the position and repeat on the other side.