Recent scientific research has found that our gut is our second brain and our emotional centre. It detoxifies, regulates inflammation and makes 90% of our neurotransmitters, like the happy chemical Serotonin. Therefore we must nourish our tummies well so our health and happiness can thrive.
The bacteria that live and feed in the gut are the ones responsible for your bloated belly or that hideous ‘food baby’.
What I’m sharing with you isn’t a flat tummy diet or fad. Let‘s take a step back from modern research and look at how Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) explains digestion.
Thousands of years ago in China, the body was understood and mapped out using meridians (or channels) that correlate to internal organs. This became the foundation of the ancient medicine that we know and love today. In TCM, the digestive processes are due to that of the spleen. Yes, the spleen, with help from the stomach, dominates digestion and helps with bowel movements. It’s responsible for transporting the food and the water we digest to the other organs and is in charge of the circulation of Qi (vital energy) and blood throughout the body. It’s function clearly differs from it’s unremarkable role in Western medicine in which it is primarily a blood filter, but it is not an organ to be underestimated.
We need to nurture and support our spleen as it controls metabolism and weight loss and has a huge role in regulating hormones.
The spleens function can become weak due to emotional issues like stress or worry, poor diet and an unhealthy lifestyle. It’s digestive fire burns out, and the spleen simply can’t function properly. This in turns causes a dampness or sluggishness, the main cause of that dreaded bloating. But don’t stress, I got your gut covered!
11 Tips to keep your spleen happy and hence your tummy flat!
1. Eat with the seasons: When the seasons change, our bodies change too and so should our diets. Coming into Spring we want to eat more bitter and pungent foods, as well as lots of leafy greens, sprouted grains, citrus fruits and berries.
2. Quit cold water: Avoid drinking cold water (room temperature is good, warm is best). Start your day with a big glass of warm water before you put anything else into your body.
3. Warm your insides: Limit raw, icy and frozen foods. Too much cold puts out your spleen’s digestive fire and can cause bloating.
4. Eat mindfully: Eat slowly, while sitting. Chew lots to really taste and enjoy your food.
5. Walk it off: Forget flat tummy exercises for a minute – take a walk after lunch or dinner to aid the digestive process and promote longevity (Confucius say so! Apparently 1000 steps after dinner will help you live longer).
6. Love your belly: Massage your tummy clockwise and stretch out after eating or sitting for long periods of time. This increases blood flow and expands the surface area of your intestines, to digest food better.
7. Re-colonise your gut: Take a daily probiotic to restore good bacteria that will balance out the baddies (that cause bloating) and boost general gut health to increase nutrient absorption.
8. Drink mint: The oils in peppermint tea (‘Bo He’ in TCM) are soothing and relax the intestines as well as stimulates the spleen.
9. Befriend ginger: Add ginger (‘Sheng Jiang’ in TCM) to your cooking; add ground ginger to your smoothies and baking; add fresh ginger in hot water as the ultimate flat tummy tea. It’s warm in properties but also simulates saliva, bile and gastric juices. More flat tummy foods and spices right below :).
10. Use food as medicine: Adding other warming TCM herbs like ‘Gui Zhi’ (cinnamon), ‘Jiang Huang’ (turmeric) and ‘Sha Ren’ (cardamon) to cooking will help with bloating and inflammation and metabolism.
11. Get acupuncture: It gives instant relief from bloating, just like letting the air out of a balloon. Acupuncture will also relax you and help release those wonderful happy hormones that get made in your belly.
So give these tips a go and remember – the spleen is in charge of transformation (of food, air, water) and transportation (of Qi and blood) throughout your body. So if you have a happy spleen, then your general health will flow. It is our second brain after all, so trust your gut on this one.
Tell me, have you made a conscious effort to clean up your gut health of late, or is this completely new to you? And what do you do to get a flat tummy fast? I’d love to hear your experiences or how you go with these tips via the comments below!
For more natural remedies like these, join the CDK tribe to receive a Natural Remedies eBook filled with an A-Z guide of tips from myself and other qualified, holistic health experts.
P.S. Do you know someone who wants to get a flat tummy? Share this read with them now. The big buttons below are here to help you spread the word and create a happier and healthier community.