"There are many possible causes for uncomfortable bloating, which are different for all of us," says Natalie, a Nutritional Therapist from Bio-Kult. "It may be what works for your friend doesn't make a difference to you. However, in combination over the course of a week these tips may prove more effective than a single solution. So why not try and complete this simple seven day program and see how you feel?"
Begin your week by finding a multi-strain probiotic to take each day. Bloating often results from an imbalnce of gut microflora, when bacteria and yeasts ferment undigested food causing excess gas. Probiotics are designed to rebalance your gut flora, improve your digestion and keep you regular. Beneficial bacteria, bifidobacteria (such as those in Bio-Kult, 30 capsules/£8.99) in particular, do not produce much gas. You may find that it takes a week or more to show results.
Support your digestive function by sipping some apple cider vinegar before each meal, chewing your food well and eating in a quiet, relaxed environment. Try to prepare fresh food - the thought and smell of food can help you produce 30 per cent more stomach acid and 25 per cent more digestive enzymes. Undigested food can lead to bloating so these natural techniques could make all the difference. For a little extra help, why not pop a D’Mix (100g/£19.99) sachet in your handbag? It's a fushion of seeds and herbs designed to break down food and eliminate bloating.
Simple sugars and refined carbohydrates can cause gas because they encourage the bacteria in your gut to ferment and they encourage the growth of fungi such as Candida, which could lead to thrush and other yeast infections. Consider switching from white to brown pasta and bread, and cutting down your intake of cakes, biscuits and pastries - your waistline will thank you too!
Fibre is your new best friend. Aim for seven different portions of vegetables and salads each day to get your bowels moving and reduce the build-up of waste material in your colon which will making bloating worse. It may seem like an awful lot, but get creative with a lunchtime salad and you'll be surprised by how much you can manage in one meal. Soluble fibre from rolled oats, linseeds, ripe fruits and non-starchy vegetables (carrots, celery, bok choy, lettuce) may be the easier for you to digest if vegetables usually make you bloated. You could also try the supplement psyllium husk fibre. It's great for keeping your bowel movements regular. Try a supplement such as Lepicol (180g/£11.18).
Try using homemade bone stock in soups and stews. This is rich in the amino acid glutamine, essential to feed the cells lining your gut where final food digestion and absorption takes place. You can also buy glutamine supplements (100 tablets/£14.99) if you prefer. The gut lining takes between three and five days to replenish so hopefully new cell growth will be nice and healthy towards the end of your week.
Don't want to give up your chickpeas, lentils or kidney beans? You don't have to! Soaking legumes overnight can make them easier to digest the next day.
Stress is known to reduce the levels of good bacteria in your gut. Lack of sleep, a busy lifestyle and big life events could all affect your digestion and trigger bloating. Try to do something relaxing every day, whether that's reading, painting, having a stroll or taking a long hot bath.