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10 Tips to beat the bloat

Battling the bloat is a common problem for millions of people.

It occurs when the abdomen fills with air or gas. This may cause the area to appear larger or swollen and may cause discomfort and abdominal pain. The tummy may feel hard or tight to the touch. It can also trigger excess wind and lead to constipation which leaves stools remaining in the intestines, causing pain, excess wind and making the stomach feel full.

Causes include:

  • swallowing air

  • constipation (less than three stools per week)

  • poor diet choices

  • Coeliac disease

  • food intolerance

  • irritable bowel syndrome

  • medications

  • PMS

  • acid reflux

There are some easy and simple ways you can improve your symptoms by nutrition.

1. Drink more water

When you're not drinking enough fluids, your body retains water to prevent dehydration. Aim for 1-2 litres per day - more if you are exercising or in the heat.

2. Reduce sodium (salt) levels

Too much salt – often contained in highly processed foods and ready meals – adds extra sodium to body fluids, causing the stomach to feel full.

Opt for low–sodium foods like yogurt, fresh fruit, vegetables, and unsalted nuts and seeds.

3. Eat regularly and mindfully

Take your time when you eat, and really chew your food. Also eating regularly allows your body time to digest food properly, so by the time you get into bed, it’s not still digesting. Eat small meals and regularly which will enable your body to make the most of burning its fuel and not storing fat.

4. Increase fibre intake

Guidelines are 25 grams per day for women and 38 for men - from whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds. But if you currently aren't consuming much then increase slowly and ensure you also drink plenty of fluids. This will also help prevent constipation.

5. Get active

Daily physical activity is not only good for the soul and waistline but it can also prevent constipation - aim for 30 minutes a day.

6. Consider food intolerances

When we are intolerant to a certain food, our bodies produce antibodies to that specific food, when we consume it again the antibodies will produce symptoms such as bloating and stomach cramps. Keep a note of what foods seem to create an adverse reaction in your body. Main offenders are dairy and wheat.

If uncertain opt for testing to be sure.

8. Increase positive bacteria into you diet

Probiotics are often referred to as your body's 'good bacteria'.

9. Reduce stress

If symptoms occur or become painful, then consult your medical practitioner to ensure there isn't an underlying condition.

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