Uncomfortable bloating has many causes and many possible solutions. What works for one person may not work for another so you might need to try different techniques to get results. The tips below, used in combination over a week, may be more effective than any single solution. So why not try and complete the 7-day program and see how you feel?
Day 1: Start taking a probiotic every day
Probiotics such as Bio-Kult have been shown in some studies to rebalance the gut flora, help the body digest food more efficiently and encourage regular healthy bowel movements. Bloating is often due to an imbalance of microflora in the gut. Bacteria and yeasts ferment undigested food, producing gases which can lead to excessive bloating and flatulence. Beneficial bacteria, bifidobacteria in particular, do not produce much gas.
Day 2: Support digestive function
Make sure that your food is properly digested because undigested food can be a cause of bloating. Take some apple cider vinegar before each meal, chew your food well and eat your meals in a quite relaxed environment. Try to prepare fresh food - the thought and smell of food starts the digestive enzymes working. These natural techniques could be all you need but for a little extra help, why not pop a D’Mix sachet in your handbag? This fusion of seed and herbs could help break down food and eliminate bloating.
Day 3: Cut down on processed carbs
Reduce simple sugars and refined carbohydrates that could cause more gas and encourage the growth of fungi such as Candida. Avoid processed products such as white pasta, breads and baked goods (cakes, biscuits, pastries).
Day 4: Up your fibre intake
Try to eat seven different portions of vegetables and salad each day to increase your fibre intake and keep bowel movements regular because the build-up of waste material in the colon can cause bloating. Soluble fibre from rolled oats, linseeds, ripe fruits and non-starchy vegetables (carrots, celery, bok choy, lettuce) may be the easiest to tolerate for those susceptible to bloating from vegetables. Or a supplement such as Lepicol, containing psyllium husk fibre, could help support healthy bowel movements.
Day 5: Bone up on stocks
Try drinking cups of homemade bone stock or including it in soups and stews. These are rich in the amino acid glutamine, essential to feed the cells lining our gut where final food digestion and absorption takes place.
Day 6: Soak your beans
If you find that legumes (such as beans, lentils and peas) cause you bloating try leaving them to soak well overnight. Soaking helps remove the indigestible complex sugars from the outer coating of the beans and will ease their digestion.
Day 7: Relax!
Stress is known to reduce the levels of beneficial bacteria in the gut and can occur in many ways such as a busy lifestyle or lack of sleep. Including some form of relaxation in your daily routine such as reading a book, yoga, meditation or taking a bath with lavender oil can only be of benefit!
- There's more health advice in every issue of Yours magazine, out every fortnight on a Tuesday.