If there is one thing that can make you feel ghastly, it is a bloated belly. Not only is it uncomfortable, but a range of abdominal symptoms ranging from gas to pain to distention can be distracting, aesthetically irritating and frustrating. So if you are a regular suffering of bloating, here are the key foods that may help to relieve your symptoms and the key foods to avoid.
Cruciferous vegetables including cauliflower, broccoli and cabbage are extremely nutritious with a number of anti-cancer properties but they can also produce relatively high volumes of gas thanks to a type of carbohydrate, raffinose, which can remain partly undigested in the intestine contributing to gas production. For roughly 5% of the population who are sensitive to the FODMAPS in foods, excessive gas production in the intestine can also cause more extreme symptoms. For these groups, these vegetables are best consumed in small volumes only.
Soda water and soft drinks
The more gas we consume, the more likely it is we will retain gas in the digestive tract. The same can be said for any type of bubbly water or diet soft drink as well as the alcohol sugars mannitol, sorbitol and xylitol which are commonly found in low sugar or low carb snack foods where they may be used as a low calorie sweetener.
Sugar free gums may not only contain alcohol sugars mannitol and sorbitol which can lead to bloating but the chewing action will result in you taking in munch more air which can become trapped in the digestive system and contribute to bloating.
Stir fries; noodles and Asian soups are packed full of sodium with a simple Laksa or Pho containing as much as 2000mg of sodium or our entire upper daily recommended intake in just one meal thanks to the addition of soy, fish and oyster sauce. Even a simple stir fry can contain as much as 1000-1500mg sodium in single serve. The more sodium we consume the more fluid we will retain and hence the bloating feeling we can experience after a big Asian feed.
If you are struggling with dealing with your weight but struggle with a Low FODMAPs or gluten free diet, Shape Me, by Susie Burrell offers both Low FODMAPs & gluten free weight loss plans. See more about Shape Me here.
Foods to beat the bloat
Not only is natural or Greek low sugar yoghurt extremely nutritious, yoghurts that contain added ‘good bacteria’ known as probiotics help to naturally regenerate the good bacteria found in the gut which helps to reduce gas, bloating and digestive discomfort quickly. In addition a daily serve of a probiotic supplement or yoghurt will help to keep the gut in optimal health, eliminating wastes and gases quickly, which can further act to prevent gastric discomfort on a daily basis.
A number of herbal teas including green, licorice and dandelion tea all have powerful diuretic properties which mean they draw fluid from the body, reduce water retention and keep the tummy relatively flat. Peppermint tea in particular is known to help reduce stomach discomfort and aid digestion. Aim for 2-3 cups of herbal tea a day.
Cucumber, celery and radishes
While all salad vegetables are good for us, the high water content salad vegetables contain few calories but are packed with nutrition, including the nutrients which help to eliminate fluid and waste from the body. Snack on vegetables throughout the day and aim for at least one serve of salad a day to maximize the flat belly effect of these foods.
Watermelon and berries
While some fruits have a relatively high sugar content, most melons and berries are relatively low in sugar whilst having an extremely high proportion of water. High water content foods move quickly through the digestive tract, helping to keep bellies empty and flat.
For some additional ways to help dealing with bloat, click here.