If you often get up in the morning feeling like a bunch of water balloons stuck together, this blog is for you (and the countless other individuals who constantly feel puffy, stuffy, and bloated too).
You’ve gotten more sleep. You eat a ton of fiber. You cut back on your alcohol and sugar and drink clean water. You’ve dealt with the dust and mold. If you have allergies, they aren’t overwhelming you. Nevertheless, the puffiness persists.
Could being more mindful of the fats you eat and how well you digest them help soothe the stuffiness and banish the bloat? When I commissioned the clinical trial for my program in Glow15, the women who participated, reported real results in this area including better digestion, less bloating, less puffy-feeling skin. Read on to learn about some critical fats and foods that support the digestion of fat to boost a high-fat, and ketogenic lifestyle.
Anti-Inflammatory Fats: Fight Puffiness and Stuffiness
Focus on reducing chronic inflammation to fight puffiness. Consider these fat-centric methods:
- Start with high-quality fats. Oxidized (rancid) fats make inflammation worse. Choose quality fats: cold-pressed, unrefined, and preferably organic since most toxins, like pesticides, are fat soluble and concentrate in food fats.
- Maintain quality after opening. Choose smaller quantities of fats stored in dark containers made of glass or metal and keep refrigerated, even if you have to thaw before use.
- Choose more omega-3 fats from (mostly raw) plant or cooked fatty fish/seafood sources. Your dietary Omega-6 to Omega-3 fatty acid ratio is most anti-inflammatory when it is about 4:1, per current scientific understanding. Because almost every fat you eat except flax oil and fatty fish has a higher ratio than 4:1, you can turn the dial down on this ratio by choosing more omega-3’s. Omega-3’s also help boost autophagy (a cellular clean-up process) and simulate the effects of fasting in some cells, which is great for repair and fat-burning. Their role in reducing inflammation is correlated with improvements in heart health and brain health.
Boost your omega-3’s by consuming:
- Plant Sources: Chia Seeds, Flaxseed, Walnuts, Soybeans/Tofu/Tempeh, Tea Seed Oil, Mustard Oil, Hemp Oil
- Animal Sources: Bass, Halibut, Herring, Salmon, Mackerel, Sardines, Shrimp, Trout, Tuna, Grass-fed meat, Egg yolks, Cod Liver Oil, Fish Oil
- Mend your Membranes with Monounsaturated Fats. Damaged cells drive inflammation. The outer membrane of a cell is where it is most susceptible to damage, and those membranes contain a lot of monounsaturated fatty acids. You can do a lot to boost your intake of these heart-healthy fats by including the following foods in your diet:
- High Histamine? Consider the quality and age of the proteins you choose. Some of the fatty foods you are incorporating come in a protein package, which may increase your histamine load. If your puffiness comes with a lot of allergic stuffiness, limit histamine where you can because some of the healthiest foods are high in histamine!
Try these tips:
- Choose very fresh fish instead of canned, or buy fish frozen right on the boat.
- Choose fresh cheeses or goat cheese instead of aged cheeses (like parmesan).
- Choose raw, organic nuts and seeds and keep them refrigerated.
- Limit alcohol and coffee. Maybe limit black tea. Black tea – especially my favorite citrus bergamot black tea – has some amazing health benefits which might counteract any potential risk. But on a day of sniffling and redness, swapping it out for green tea can take the stuffy edge off. Green tea has some histamine but it is far less, and packs a powerful polyphenol punch to boot! Green tea is a great way to lower inflammation and your histamine intake.
Other Ways to Banish Body Bloat
- Choose more dietary fat. Did you know that when you digest fat, you create metabolic water inside your cells? This is the opposite of digesting carbohydrates or protein that require hydrolyzation, or being “cut by water.” This water becomes part of the sugars and building blocks of protein. Moreover, carbohydrates stored in liver and muscle needs water for storage. (This is why most “carb-loaders” feel heavy before an athletic event). Fat does not use water for processing or storage, so your cells can be better hydrated without a feeling of heaviness. Choosing a higher-fat diet may generally reduce feelings of bloating.
- Boost your intake of minerals, especially calcium, magnesium, and potassium. Achieve this by pairing your fats and fatty proteins with a heaping helping of non-starchy vegetables. Support your kidneys and don’t be afraid of either drinking water or eating foods with salt.
- Don’t fear sodium because you need salt to burn fat. Try getting salt with foods that are powerhouses of nutrition such as fermented foods (like sauerkraut or traditional pickles) or seafood (especially fatty saltwater fish high in omega-3s such as salmon or sardines). Salt nourishes your adrenal health as well, so if you are very stressed, don’t avoid it.
Deal with Difficult Digestion: Get Rid of Gas and Boost your Bile
But what about the * other * kinds of bloating? Let’s explore critical ways to reduce gas and bloating in your bowels when choosing a high fat and high fiber keto diet.
Choose raw, cooked, and fermented fibers in your diet and chew them thoroughly. Don’t avoid eating plant foods- just be mindful to take your time with them. If your digestion is extremely difficult, stick with fermented foods and cooked fiber until you can handle more raw foods. Chewing adds digestive enzymes to your digestible starches and breaks up indigestible fibers, getting them ready to nourish your body or feed your probiotics (the good bacteria that live in your colon). An understated benefit of my Glow15 program is to place these chewing-intensive foods with your evening meal when you can give chewing the time and focus it deserves.
Choose fermented foods daily like sauerkraut, kimchi, traditional pickles, or organic miso soup to seed your colon with the good guys. Nourishing your microflora (probiotics) is a fabulous way to reduce gas and bloating over time. The more “good guys” you get into your colon to thrive on the fiber you cannot digest, the more of the fatty acid butyrate they will make from the fiber you eat. Butyrate fuels your colon cells to help them multiply and repair and reduces inflammation in both your colon and brain! If you want to glow, help your microflora flourish!
Don’t forget the nourishing fats listed above. Rebuild cell membranes with monounsaturated fats and boost your anti-inflammatory potential with foods rich in omega-3s. Reducing systemic inflammation supports the entire digestive tract, allowing it to repair and heal itself.
Choose medium-chain triglycerides, like organic MCT oil. MCTs do not need the elaborate digestive course taken by most dietary fat. Instead, they go straight to the liver and support your stamina right away. More energy for you, less fat storage, enhanced brain cognition, and far less wear and tear on your digestive tract.
Boost your Bile Flow. Bile binds fat and makes it soluble in water, much like you use soap to bind grease and wash it down the drain. Bile binds to fats in your small intestine and supports their digestive journey. If you don’t have enough bile and you eat a lot of fat, that fat may not be well digested and can end up causing bloating and cramping. Poor bile flow can also cause heartburn because the slower you digest fat, the slower your stomach empties, and digestion can slow down. You also use bile to bind fat-soluble toxins and excrete them in stool, which is very important when you lose fat mass. Fat is where toxins we can’t easily excrete are stored! Furthermore, some individuals, who have had their gallbladders removed entirely, are further compromised in how much bile is stored and ready for a high-fat meal. Choose foods that promote the flow of bile (cholagogues) often and with high-fat meals, such as:
- Organic Green Apples, Cherries
- Lemon Peel, and Lemon-infused-water, and other Citrus Peels
- Beets, Cabbage/Sauerkraut, Artichoke, Radishes
- Olive Oil (small regular doses)
- Caraway seed, Dill Weed, Turmeric Root, Cayenne, Mint, Rosemary, and Sage
Try eggs with dill weed, a coconut milk curry made with turmeric and cabbage, radishes lightly sauteed in olive oil with rosemary leaves and a dash of cayenne, or beets tossed and roasted in tea seed oil with sage. Enjoy the detoxifying and digestive benefits!
Glow15 takes a deeper dive into choosing healthy fats in a healthy way, minding your microflora, reducing inflammation, dealing with difficult digestion, and banishing the bloat!