Bloating can cause much pain and discomfort, for some it may be a short-term concern, whilst for others their symptoms of bloating could be a long term issue. Bloating provides us with a physical clue that our digestive system is not in balance. There are many reasons why bloating may arise and numerous way in which you can deal with the problem.
Beat the bloat in just seven days with top tips from Nutritional Therapist, Claire Barnes:
Day 1 – Start to keep a food diary. Note down which foods you are eating and when the symptoms of bloating occurs. It may not necessarily be the last food you ate, so keep a check on any recurring foods that are followed by symptoms (even if hours later). If we continue to eat foods that our bodies are intolerant to, we will not be able to break these foods down effectively to absorb them. These undigested foods could then be fermented by bacteria in the intestines leading to excess bloating.
Day 2 – Are you digesting properly? As we age, our stomach acid and digestive enzymes reduce, making it more difficult for the body to break foods down ready for absorption. Try taking a tablespoon of organic unfiltered apple cider vinegar in a small glass of water before eating main meals and eat more bitter foods, such as leafy green vegetables.
Day 3 – Relax. Ensure you are in a relaxed state whilst eating, if we are feeling stressed, our body turns its attention away from digestion meaning we can’t break down and digest foods properly. If possible, turn off all possible distractions, and sit by a window where you can stare off into the distance.
Day 4 – Increase beneficial bacteria. Consume more fermented foods or take a multi-strain probiotic, such as Bio-Kult (£8.99 from www.bio-kult.com) daily. Pathogenic bacteria are believed to produce more gas than beneficial bacteria when they ferment unabsorbed foods in the colon. A more balanced gut flora should therefore produce less gas and bloating.
Day 5 – Reduce processed foods and refined carbohydrates, such as white bread, pastries and pasta. Follow a more Mediterranean diet by eating at least five vegetables and two fruits each day from a rainbow of different colours and consume more oily fish, such as mackerel. Drizzle foods with olive oil after cooking.
Day 6 – Improve metabolism. Encourage regular bowel movements by eating more soluble fibre. Soluble fibre from grains, such as psyllium husks or soaked flaxseeds forms a soft gel in the intestines encouraging movement in the digestive tract and helping to eliminate excess toxins and hormones from the body.
Day 7 – Relaxation exercises such as yoga, Pilates, meditation and mindfulness all help to relax the body and improve both nervous system health and digestion. Stretching and twisting of the abdomen in yoga moves may particularly reduce bloating.