It’s the scourge of the 21st Century digestive system, so how do you avoid it? Try these bloat-busting tips, and never have to loosen your belt after lunch again…
UP YOUR INTAKE
A smart water bottle may be a must-have accessory, but do you actually ever use it for the purpose for which it was intended – ie, to supply water to your parched body? Weirdly, most of us still don’t drink enough. To make sure you do, keep a water diary and ensure you down 3 litres throughout the day. The colder you drink it, the better it boosts your metabolism too, and it also fills you up before eating, so down a glass before a meal and you’ll eat less.
The amino acid asparagine in asparagus is a diuretic to help reduce water retention. It also has prebiotic fibre to nourish those vital probiotics in your gut.
Full of Vit C and essential fibre, blueberries are uber kind to your digestion. Be warned, juicing significantly reduces blueberries’ fibre content, so keep them raw.
This versatile cooking oil stimulates the digestive juices, which in turn will help your system to beat the threat of bloating. Its antimicrobial properties can help also fight irritation and infection in the gut.
A wonderful aid to digestion, it is most effective when used as a fresh garnish. A few leaves may also help to ease nausea, so keep a pot growing on your kitchen windowsill.
This health-giving powerhouse contains quercetin, a flavonoid antioxidant that helps reduce swelling.
One of the most popular spices in Indian cooking, it also stimulates the digestive juices, which means it fights bloating.
Fennel banishes excess water through its diuretic properties. For wind and bloat, fennel seeds have antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties to relax intestinal muscle and allow trapped gas to dissipate. Add seeds to tea or hot water and use sliced fennel bulb in salads.
A staple in many cultures, fermented foods are becoming hot news in the UK – be it kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir or miso. They’re natural sources of beneficial bacteria, which promote good digestion, boost immunity and increase your resistance to infection.
We all need fibre, but if you’re prone to bloating, it can be a contributor. If your system is sensitive, opt for gentler soluble fibre found in oats and brown rice and remember, you need to drink lots of fluids to help fibre work more effectively and avoid fibre bloat.
One of the greatest friends you will find for your digestion, there’s a reason why this is a traditional remedy for travel and morning sickness. Lemon is also a fabulous facilitator for digestion, which makes a cup of lemon and ginger tea your go-to drink after meals.
Mint settles indigestion and soothes the stomach, which is why mint tea is a good option after food.
Foods rich in potassium like avocado, banana, kiwis, oranges, cantaloupe melon and pistachios prevent water retention by regulating sodium levels. Bananas also have soluble fibre, which can relieve or prevent constipation.
Delicious and great for your brain health, turmeric is also anti-inflammatory, which means it can help you on those, erm, windy days…
Eating quickly and not chewing properly makes you swallow air that leads to bloating, so slow down. Digestion also begins in the mouth, so chewing your food more can decrease bloating. Don’t talk and eat at the same time and sit upright when eating.
The fizz in carbonated drinks, even diet ones, can lead to trapped wind and bloating. Replace with water flavoured with lemon, lime or cucumber.
Broccoli, cabbage and kale contain raffinose — a sugar that remains undigested until bacteria in your gut ferment it, which produces gas and, in turn, makes you bloat. Beans, lentils and peas contain difficult to absorb sugars and fibres. Combine the above with easily digestible whole grains like rice or quinoa. Apples, meanwhile, contain fructose and sorbitol which lead to bloat.
Eating high-sodium foods can trigger water retention, which can balloon you up. It’s in most processed and packaged foods, including soups and breads.