Lifestyle / Health
10 flat-belly tricks
04 Sep 2012 at 14:00hrs | Views
Most women have experienced the feeling of being bloated at some point in their lives. However, for some it can be a recurring problem, leading to frequent discomfort and embarrassment. To help beat bloating and get the flat stomach you've dreamed of, check out these 10 de-bloating tips.
Consult your GP
Bloating can be caused by numerous factors including water retention and poor digestion. However, if you frequently suffer from chronic bloating you should visit your GP to discuss your symptoms and try to pinpoint a cause. As bloating can be a symptom of manageable conditions such as IBS or coeliac disease, as well as a reaction to certain medications, it is important to get an expert opinion.
Keep a food diary
If you tend to get bloated following meals, it could be that you are suffering from a food intolerance. It may be worth getting tested for food intolerances; however, experts are unsure of the effectiveness of these tests. The best thing is to keep a food diary, noting everything you eat as well as any signs of bloating, to help identify a link.
Take a probiotic
A healthy gut is packed with good bacteria which help to break down food and prevent yeast overgrowth. However, due to factors such as stress and medication (particularly antibiotics) levels of good bacteria can get low. When this happens, digestion and levels of yeast in the gut are affected, both of which can lead to bloating. To rectify this, try taking a probiotic supplement. Probiotics can also be found in some yoghurts, although dairy can be a cause of bloating for some.
Ironic as it may sound, staying well hydrated is one of the best ways to reduce the water retention which can lead to bloating. Furthermore, getting enough fluids can help you to improve your digestion and avoid constipation. Try to drink regularly throughout the day, opting for uncarbonated drinks such as water, peppermint or fennel tea.
Avoid gas-inducing foods
The leading cause of bloating is excess gas, so try to limit your intake of gas-inducing foods such as cabbage, sprouts, beans and grains. Also, avoid the sweeteners sorbitol and maltitol, try not to overdo your intake of fibre, and avoid chewing gum, which can exacerbate bloating. Try to also cut down on refined sugars, fermented products such as alcohol and cheese, and foods containing yeast, as these can cause yeast in the gut to thrive, which can lead to excess gas and bloating.
Many of us eat our meals on the go or while chatting with family and friends; however, taking more time over your meals and not talking while you eat could help reduce post-meal bloating. Eating too quickly and talking while eating can cause you to swallow air, leading to excess gas. Also, as digestion begins in the mouth, not chewing your food enough times can affect how well it is digested. It is also beneficial to eat little and often, as large meals can overload the digestive system.
Give your digestive system a helping hand
If you regularly feel bloated after meals, it may be that you have low levels of certain enzymes, meaning that foods are not being digested properly. To rectify this, try supplementing your meals with natural enzymes such as papain, bromelain or lactase which can help the digestive system to break down certain foods.
Try natural bloating remedies
Sadly, bloating will affect most of us from time to time, regardless of our best efforts. Luckily, there are some natural remedies you can turn to in times of tummy distress. A good natural remedy for bloating is charcoal capsules, which help to absorb excess gas. Peppermint capsules and aloe vera juice are also good for supporting the digestive system and preventing bloating when taken regularly.
To help gas pass through the digestive system more quickly when bloated, try heading out for a brisk walk or jog. Also, try to establish a regular exercise routine as regular workouts help to keep the digestive system working efficiently and strengthen core abdominal muscles, which will help to reduce the extent that abdominal muscles relax when gas builds up in the gut.
One of the biggest precursors to digestive problems and bloating is stress. The digestive tract can be extremely sensitive to stress hormones, which is why many people experience abdominal pain or bloating during turbulent times in their lives. To help reduce bloating, try to manage your stress by experimenting with different relaxation techniques, such as yoga and meditation, to find one that works for you.
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