THERE’S nothing like bloating to really ruin your day.
And the worst thing is that could be eating healthily, moving regularly and drinking lots of water and still balloon with gas.
2 Loads of us suffer from bloating but a few simple food swaps might helpCredit: Getty – Contributor
If you struggle with IBS, you’ve probably heard of the low-FODMAP diet, which is a pretty restrictive eating plan that bans any potentially-inflammatory food.
It’s not just things like milk and biscuits that are off the menu, but also everyday healthy foods like apples, garlic and cashews.
Following that kind of eating really won’t work for many people.
But there are a few simple swaps you can make to beat the bloat without having to totally change your life.1. Swap dairy milk for dark chocolate
Think of this less as a diet and more of a lifestyle shift.
That means you don’t have to get rid of your daily treats – you just have to find alternatives.
While dairy can be a good source of protein and calcium, it can also cause issues if you have a lactose sensitivity.
As well as lactose, milk chocolate is also packed with sugar and sugar can cause bloating.
Your gut is lined with trillions of bacteria that usually help with health.
When some of these bacteria consume sugar, however, they can create gas production and bloating.
Sugar may not be to blame for all bloating but it’s worth trying to cut down on added sugars (that’s the stuff in chocolates and cakes) to see if your bloat goes down.
Go for chocolate that has 85 per cent cocoa or more, because it has less fat and sugar and more belly-friendly minerals like magnesium.
2 Dark chocolate can help with belly cramps – and you’re best off going for bars with the highest cocoa levelCredit: Green & Blacks
Try Green and Blacks Organic Dark 85%, £1.50 from Tesco.
2. Swap fizzy drinks for kombucha
In February, scientists revealed that drinking two or more artificially-sweetened drinks a day ‘increases the risk of dying young from stroke and heart attack’.
But when it comes to bloating, all fizzy drinks can add to gas.
The sucralose sweetener found in diet drinks is what makes its fizz even more potent.
Kombucha, on the other hand, is a gut-loving fermented tea, which is both sparkling and refreshing.
Full of lots of good bacteria, it’ll be a lot better for your belly.
Try Equinox Kombucha, £1.80 from Waitrose
3. Swap garlic for herbs
Garlic is delicious and really healthy, but if you are struggling with bloat, it might be worth giving it a break to see if it’s causing your symptoms.
Garlic contains fructans – soluble fibres which can cause bloating.
It might sound bonkers but quite a few people are intolerant to compounds found in garlic – causing them bloating, belching and gas.
Rather than always cooking with garlic, try using other herbs and spices like basil and thyme.
4. Swap broccoli for spinach
Again, broccoli is really, really good for you.
It’s packed with fibre, vitamins and minerals – and, scientists believe, may be the “secret weapon” in the fight against cancer.
But if you’re always bloating, cruciferous veg like broccoli and cauliflower may not be your best bets.
Again, they’re full of those fructans which make some people gassy.
If you want to eat broccoli and Brussels sprouts, cook them a little longer to make them easier to digest.
Or you could opt for spinach. It’s packed with iron, calcium, and magnesium, and it’s a lot more gentle on the gut.
5. Swap artificial sweeteners for stevia
Last year, scientists from universities in Israel and Singapore found that six common artificial sweeteners were toxic to gut bacteria.
More and more studies are realising the importance of gut bacteria to a person’s overall health – with bad bacteria linked to a range of diseases from obesity to bowel diseases, even Alzheimer’s.
It found that the bacteria in the digestive system became toxic when exposed to tiny concentrations of the sweeteners.
And that can lead to chronic bloating.
If you do want to make your morning latte sweeter, choose stevia – a totally natural, plant-based source of sweetness which is just as flavoursome but has none of the nasty side-effects.
6. Swap pastries for oatcakes and nut butter
For some people, gluten can make bloating flare up.
While no one is saying go gluten-free, giving yourself a break from foods like biscuits and pastries – processed carbs that are also high in fat and sugar – may help.
Opt for high-fibre oat cakes instead, and smother them in nut butter.
That way, you’ll get that satisfying of fats and sugar but without the gassy consquences.
We love Nairn’s gluten-free wholegrain crackers, £1.99, Holland & Barrett.
And if you’re still bloated…
London’s Leading Nutritionist, Lily Soutter told The Sun that the most common cause of bloating is down to swallowing too much while eating – but also from fermentation when certain types of carbohydrate reach the gut.
“It’s important to remember that eating will always cause some sort of stomach distention which is a normal part of life.
“Whilst bloating can be one of those frustrating side effects that can really occur in anyone, if you regularly end up with an extreme distention of the stomach such as a ‘food baby’, there could be something more at play and it would be advised to get advice from your healthcare provider.”
Everyone struggles with bloating from time to time but if you’re getting it every day, then it could be a symptom of a more serious underlying medical condition like IBD.
Desk jobs and being sedentary can also make us bloat up by hindering our digestion.
The best way for getting rid of bloating once it sets in?
Lily says that “movement is a key factor for stimulating peristalsis (muscle contractions) within the gut which can help to move everything along.
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“If you regularly suffer from bloating, try getting up off your desk and walking around the block or try regular stretching throughout the day.
“Prevention is key when it comes to bloating because there are limited options to alleviate symptoms.
“While movement may help, some people also swear by fennel tea or even peppermint for their soothing effects on the stomach.”
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