How to reduce bloating

Bloating – when the stomach swells after eating – affects us all from time to time.

We might experience pain, discomfort or a ‘stuffed’ feeling, and may even need to unbutton an increasingly tight pair of jeans or change into a more forgiving voluminous dress.

Bloating is common – 30% of us experience it on a regular basis. It’s not often cause for medical concern, but it can be uncomfortable. If your bloating isn’t caused by an underlying condition or intolerance, these top bloat-busting tips will have your tum feeling flat and fancy-free in no time.

How to reduce bloating

Slow your eating

Eating too much is a common and easily avoidable cause of bloating, particularly at Christmas. It’s easy to overload our plates when the table is laden with a feast complete with all the trimmings. To avoid feeling as stuffed as our turkey, skip seconds (or thirds!) and remember that we can enjoy leftovers at a later date.

Eat mindful meals

Swallowing too much air while eating or drinking is a common culprit for bloating. It’s normal to swallow a little air at mealtimes. We leave ourselves vulnerable to excess gas finding its way into our gut if we gulp down our food at a rapid rate or talk with our mouths full.

Making an effort to properly chew every mouthful helps to slow down our spoonfuls. It also lends a helping hand to our digestive system in the process. This has the added benefit of giving our body more time to recognise when it’s full. This reduces the likelihood that we’ll overeat.

Opt for still drinks

Fizzy drinks are one of the biggest bloating offenders. They contain bubbles of carbon dioxide that are quickly released once in the gut. This Christmas, go easy on the bubbly and reach for a delicious white wine or naturally flavoured water if prone to bloating.

Foods to be aware of

Though fibre is a treat for our gut, some high-fibre foods are particularly gassy when broken down, and may irritate sensitive tummies. Major players include:

  • Legumes (beans and lentils)
  • Onions and garlic
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Cabbage
  • Brussels sprouts

If you’re avoiding these nutritious gems, make sure you’re hitting your five-a-day with more Mediterranean varieties (like courgettes and peppers), as well as stomach-friendly spinach and sweet potato.

Swap to sourdough

Try sourdough if you suspect that bread is to blame for your bloat. This ‘live’ loaf is made with beneficial bacteria that works to predigest the gluten, making it kinder on troubled tums.

Try a probiotic supplement

Probiotic supplements containing Lactobacillus strains may help to ward off bothersome bloating by helping to aid normal digestive function as well as regular bowel movements.

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