Are your jeans feeling a little tight? Maybe it’s not weight loss you need – the answer could be that you need to beat the bloat. The truth is, many people suffer from tight waistbands because of bloating and poor digestion.
There are some really simple diet and lifestyle tweaks you can make to beat the bloat and get your digestive system in tip-top shape. Just a few small changes is all you need to beat the bloat.
Dietician Nigel Denby shares his top 5 tips:
Hold the sprouts, garlic and beans
The aim is to cut out the “fermentable” fruits and veggies that can cause bloating. Still aim for five a day, but go for choices that are easier to digest…
Mediterranean veggies such as aubergines, courgettes, tomatoes and peppers are easier on the digestive system – but hold the onions and garlic. Spinach, carrots and potatoes are all great too, but steer clear of broccoli, sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower and leeks.
When it comes to fruit, stick to melons, berries (not blackberries), soft fruits (not peaches), and bananas. For a comprehensive list of foods to avoid, go to ibsdiets.org/fodmap-diet
It’s also worth avoiding pulses like beans and lentils for a while, too – they contain a type of carbohydrate that many people struggle to digest. However, if you really enjoy pulses, its a good idea to avoid the tinned variety and buy dried pulses. Then, simply soak them overnight before cooking them, which will help you to digest them better.
If you suspect wheat is the problem, opt for spelt bread or a gluten-free option for a while to see if it helps. Also try grains like oats, quinoa, polenta and rice. Buckwheat is fine too, as it’s a fruit seed, and doesn’t contain gluten.
Try a supplement
If your gut bacteria is out of sync and you have gas build-up, consider taking a good-quality probiotic like Fithealth Super Acidophilus, from R146 for 30 capsules, Dis-Chem. A charcoal supplement such as NutriLife Activated Charcoal, R52,99 for 60 capsules, Wellness Warehouse, can also help to detox the system and aid digestion.
Rehydrate to regulate
You need to drink plenty of fluid to avoid water retention and beat the bloat. Fluid such as water and herbal tea will help the fibre in your food to do its job. Aim for around six to eight glasses of water or diluted fruit juice, herbal tea or low-fat milk daily.
Some people find that wine can cause bloating and reddening of the face, too. Experts don’t know exactly why this happens, but suffice to say that if it bothers you, keep off the Cab Sav for a while.
Love your tummy
Talking while you eat, drinking through a straw or from a sports bottle, chewing gum, and eating on the run all force air to enter into the digestive tract. Once it’s in there, it can get trapped, causing your tummy to expand and bloat, so try to slow down, and don’t talk with your mouth full! Gentle night-time tummy massage can help relax your gut and promote natural, nocturnal digestion.
HOW TO: Lightly massage your tummy in a circular, clockwise direction for five minutes before you go to sleep.
Ditch the fizzy drinks
Try to steer clear of fizzy drinks… and you’ll probably notice a big difference when it comes to bloating and constipation. Cider, beer and fizzy drink mixers are the biggest culprits due to the gas they contain, as well as the additional yeast and sugars. If you drink two or more cans of fizzy drinks a day, try swapping to tap water flavoured with a little fruit juice, or chamomile and peppermint teas, which are soothing for a bloated tummy.
DISCLAIMER: Before starting any diet, you should speak to your doctor. You must not rely on the information on this website/newsletter as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare provider.