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Bloating Tips from nutritionist Alison Cullen

Posted 6 years ago by Guest Author

Are you feeling unfairly enlarged? Your silhouette bulging more than it really should given the truly reasonable amount of food you’ve taken? Many people are in the frustrating position of starting the day with a flat stomach but then finding they bloat to spherical shapes during the course of the day, despite meals of moderate proportions.

There are certain foods that are more likely to blow you up than others, so it’s worth avoiding them initially to give yourself a head start in beating the bloat. A disastrous lunch that is the downfall of many a svelte stomach is a sandwich with a fizzy drink and coffee. Bread is a well-known inflator of otherwise blameless abdomens, so try soup with oatcakes or ricecakes instead, or 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 pm when your lunch has gone down and you aren’t about to have tea.

There are many other simple rules that you can follow to minimise the amount of internal inflation you experience.

10 Tips for Bloating

  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 chewing your food well and taking 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 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. After drinking, leave 10-20 minutes before eating. After a meal, wait 20-40 minutes before drinking again.
  3. 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. 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 pasta instead of the usual type, as this is more digestible.
  5. 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 herb teas such as Golden Rod or Fennel, which reduce fluid retention.
  6. Ban the fizzy drinks completely, as their gassy effect is definitely not desirable.
  7. Eat cooked and warm foods in preference to cold and raw foods, as these as 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. Finally, sit up! Many people hunch over their food and then experience reflux and burping. Shoulders back and head high, and you’ll find your food has a smoother ride through your digestive tract. 

  9. Take herbal bitters such as Centaurium, Yarrow, 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.

  10. Papaya and pineapple are excellent for deflating wind, as are spices such as cardamom, pepper and nutmeg.

About Alison Cullen

Glasgow-based Alison Cullen specialises in digestive issues such as IBS and hormonal issues such as PMS and the menopause. She has worked in the health industry since 1987 and currently combines her practice with the role of education manager for A. Vogel.

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