Are you feeling unfairly enlarged? Is your silhouette bulging more than it really should given the truly reasonable amount of food you’ve eaten? Many people are in the frustrating position of starting the day with a flat stomach but then finding they bloat to spherical shapes as the day progresses, despite meals of moderate proportions. Find out how to banish bloating with these simple rules!
Alison Cullen Nutritional Practitioner, BA (Hons), DN, DNT (Distinction) @AVogelUK Ask Ali
Bread is a well-known inflator of an otherwise blameless abdomen, so instead, try soup with oatcakes or rice cakes, a baked potato, or a dip with crudities.
Another classic error is finishing your lunch with a healthy piece of fruit or fruit yoghurt. If you are prone to bloating then the fruit will ferment in the pool of strong acid your stomach has produced to deal with your lunch. Then you’ll bubble and boil all afternoon. Have fruit on its own for breakfast or as a snack around 3 pm when your lunch has gone down and you aren’t just about to have your tea.
8 ways to ease bloating
There are many other simple rules that you can follow to ease digestive bloating and minimise the amount of internal inflation you experience.
1. Chew each mouthful very thoroughly
Try to give each mouthful at least 20 chews. This may feel tortuous at first but if you bolt your food it is more likely to turn gassy lower down, so it’s worth a little jaw action to reduce the risk. Happily, the more you chew the less likely you are to overeat. There’s plenty of research to show that if you chew your food well and take your time instead of absorbing your food by osmosis on the run, your appetite will be satisfied sooner.
2. Separate drink from food
Don’t drink more than a very small glass of anything with a meal. People guilty of not chewing often swill their food down with drinks instead of taking the time to eat properly. Large quantities of liquid overfill your stomach, making you more prone to reflux.
Tip: After drinking, leave 10-20 minutes before eating. After a meal, wait 20-40 minutes before drinking again.
3. Take your time
Make sure that you are relaxing when eating rather than eating on the run or typing with one hand whilst cramming in a sandwich with the other. If you are stressed whilst eating, the adrenalin you’re producing will switch off your digestive system, so choose your lunch companion with care – if you have a lot of stressful business lunches this may be one reason for your digestive discomfort.
4. Go wheat-free
Cut out wheat for a few days to see how much of a difference this makes. Have a non-wheat based cereal such as porridge, rice pops, millet flakes or cornflakes for breakfast, then soup with oatcakes for lunch, or a baked potato with tuna or egg mayonnaise. If you can’t do without pasta, have spelt or rice pasta instead of the usual type, as this is more digestible.
5. Say no to coffee
If you can, try to keep coffee out of the diet completely, even decaf, and don’t have more than 2 cups of regular tea (decaf or otherwise) per day, as these often blow you up badly. Try herbal teas, such as Golden Rod or Fennel, which reduce fluid retention.
6. Ban the fizz
You may like them, but your tummy doesn’t! Ban fizzy drinks, as their gassy effect is definitely not desirable. Instead, try drinking plain water or water flavoured with lemon, lime, or cucumber.
7. Cooked and warm foods are best
Eat cooked and warm foods in preference to cold and raw food, as these foods are easier to digest. Ignore the advice you often see to eat things as raw as possible – this isn’t good for a sensitive gut. Stew your fruit rather than eating it raw, and add warming spices such as cloves, cinnamon and ginger to make it even more delicious. Have vegetable soup rather than a cold salad.
8. Sit up!
Many people hunch over their food and then experience reflux and burping. Keep your shoulders back and head high, and you’ll find your food has a smoother ride through your digestive tract.
What else can help?
Take herbal bitters such as Dandelion or Artichoke before meals. The bitter taste triggers the proper production of digestive enzymes, which ensures you break your food down efficiently so it doesn’t boil up on its way down! These bitters work very quickly and aren’t contraindicated with any medications. You can find them conveniently captured in Digestisan oral drops, making them easy to take before each meal.
Hello. My name is Alison Cullen and I am an experienced nutritional therapist with a clinic in Ayrshire, Scotland. I currently combine running my clinic with the role of Education Manager for A Vogel. I lecture, train and write extensively on health issues, which I find endlessly fascinating.
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Join experts Eileen Durward and Ali Cullen in the beautiful A.Vogel garden as they talk all about digestion including their tips on how to improve your digestion and how bitter herbs can make a huge difference to helping your digestive problems.