Do you always complain that you’re feeling bloated and that your belly looks bigger that what it should be? It’s basically an excessive build up of gas, solid and sometimes liquids in your digestive system.
That heavy feeling in your abdomen is often due to various causes related to a sluggish bowel and poor gut health. This can be due to constipation, fluid retention, indigestion, allergy, a poor diet, stress, lack of sleep or certain digestive disorders. You’re not alone, I’ve suffered through bloating and indigestion for many years.
Through the years, I’ve learned that what I do in the morning can have a major impact on how my digestive system functions later in the day. So here are the 5 things I practice daily in the morning for a flatter belly and healthier gut.
1) Don’t Eat Immediately Upon Waking Up
I’m sure we all know about the importance of eating breakfast, and some even recommend that you should consume breakfast within 30 minutes of waking, to ensure they “charge up” their metabolism and get fat burning going.
I do believe that there can be lots of benefits to eating breakfast, however I don’t believe that we should consume breakfast IMMEDIATELY upon waking up.
Now, remember that your metabolism is not going to just “shut down” overnight. So your metabolic rate is still going to be running at a steady pace when you wake up. It’s not like if you don’t eat first thing in the morning, your body will stop burning calories. That’s not true at all.
Personally, I’m not someone who can just wake up, put my clothes on, rush out of the door and grab something to eat on the go. A rushed morning means a rushed breakfast, and eating too fast can be seriously detrimental to your gut health and contribute to bloating later in the day.
I need time in the morning to wake my body and brain up and also to get my digestive system going. So I’ve learned that having heavy solid food upon waking up is not going to do my gut health any good and it will leave me feeling bloated.
This said, you do need to know your body. If you are a breakfast person, then you can consume breakfast 1 - 2 hours after waking up. And make sure you find at least 10 - 15 mins to sit down and consume your meal mindfully.
2) Drink 2 Glasses of Water on an Empty Stomach
The first thing you should be consuming in the morning on an empty stomach is WATER.
Why is it so important? Your body has been without water for 6 - 8 hours when you are asleep. Drinking 2 - 3 glasses of water right when you wake up is a must to rehydrate your body quickly. In fact, rehydrating after an all-night fast can fire-up your metabolism, improve digestion, reduce bloating and curb your appetite, as a result cutting down your calorie intake!
It sounds like a really simple thing to do, however, most of us do forget or don’t make the effort. So, I like to have a huge bottle of water next to me, before I go to bed. Once I’m awake, I’ll make sure to rehydrate myself first thing in the morning.
Drinking water in the morning can also help flush out all the toxins that’s stored in your body overnight. It naturally stimulates movement in my bowel and aid my morning spree to the bathroom. So if you are someone who do suffer from constipation regularly, drink water on an empty stomach first thing in the morning!
3) Take Prebiotic & Probiotic Supplements
I’m sure you’ve heard me say this many times, our gut is our second “brain”. A healthy gut is key to a healthy body. If you’re constantly bloated, experience digestive issues, or constantly feeling lethargic and moody, that’s a sign that your gut is not functioning at its optimum.
This is when taking prebiotic and probiotic supplements can really help. They are both important and play different roles:
- Probiotics are food or supplements that contain live microorganisms meant to maintain or improve the “good bacteria” in our body.
- Prebiotics are a type of fibre that the human body cannot digest and they serve as food for probiotics.
We need both prebiotics and probiotics to keep our immune system strong and to support our overall digestive health. I’ve seen positive changes. I don’t experience indigestion or bloating anymore. My body is able to better digest and absorb nutrients from the food I consume. I’ve also seen improvements on my energy level as well as fitness performance and also on my skin health.
I think once your gut is able to function at its optimum, you’ll see and feel tremendous improvements to your overall health and wellbeing. And it all starts right here (gut).
4) Do a Mini Morning Workout
I’m not asking you to do an hour long of intense HIIT workout or strength training. Just 10 - 15 minutes of movement in the morning can make a huge difference to your digestion. In fact I’d keep it low impact and low intensity. Activities such as yoga, brisk walking or a total body functional training can help to stimulate your digestion and speed up your bowel transit.
For me, my mini morning workout session will be walking my 2 dogs for 20 - 30 minutes around my neighbourhood. When we walk or move in the morning, we are activating our body’s system and this gives you energy for the rest of the day. I believe it’s something all of us should practice even as we get older, because it’s going to support our health and wellbeing in the long term.
5) Sip on Green Tea
And finally, my favourite drink, green tea. I’ve filmed several videos just on the benefits of green tea. A warm cup of green tea is anti-inflammatory and has a high concentration of antioxidants called catechins.
Drinking green tea in the morning and even throughout the day improves metabolism, aids digestion and eliminates the build-up of gas in the intestines, which brings down bloating in your tummy. Green tea also helps to reduce fluid retention and eliminate excess water, hence you won’t feel so puffy. On top of that, regular consumption of green tea has been found to reduce body fat, especially around the abdominal area. That’s why I love green tea so much.
Try swapping your morning cup of joe with green tea. And remember, you want to be consuming the unsweetened green tea, not the green tea latte loaded with added sugar!
With all these morning tips and tricks, remember that your gut health still comes down to your lifestyle. Eat a well balanced diet and avoid food that causes inflammation. Get enough rest daily. Move daily. Do things that will reduce your stress levels and boost your mood.
Learning what causes bloating in your daily life can help you get on the right track. If your bloating is persistent, you may want to speak to a doctor, but many times, these symptoms can be dealt with by changing your everyday habits.