We’re often told to trust our gut, and in fact the phrase ‘gut instinct’ springs to mind when associated with this. Do you suffer with constipation, bloating, straining and abdominal pain? Maybe you are feeling sluggish and uncomfortable, and your clothes feel tighter around the middle than usual. If these symptoms persist, it goes without saying that you should see a doctor, but it could just be something that you have eaten or perhaps your diet is lacking in fibre, making you constipated. Whatever the reason, it’s not an exaggeration to say that bloating can ruin your life.
The first thing to do is to understand what foods are making you feel bloated. These can include:
Beans – a great source of protein, fibre and carbohydrates, but they could cause bloating in some people.
Onions are another food that may cause bloating for some people. This is because onions contain fructans which are harder for the body to break down.
Broccoli – while broccoli is a great addition to your diet, unfortunately, it could cause bloating because of raffinose, a type of sugar that stays undigested in the stomach until the gut bacteria ferments it. However this doesn’t mean that it should be cut out completely, as consistently eating veg like this supports a healthier digestive system that is less prone to bloating. Cabbage, cauliflower, lentils and sprouts contain raffinose so eating them could also lead to bloating.
Apples – although one of our most popular fruits, apples can cause bloating due largely to sorbitol, a type of sugar alcohol that contributes to gastrointestinal activity that can lead to bloating.
Grains – some of the most popular culprits for bloating are grains – especially wheat, rye and barley which contain gluten and can be difficult for people with coeliac disease or gluten sensitivity to digest.
There are a host of different drinks that may cause you to bloat, including fizzy drinks, carbonated beverages, coffee and apple juice. Heavy or occasional alcohol drinking can lead to irritation and inflammation in the abdominal area. Instead try drinking ginger tea. Ginger has been used for stomach problems throughout history and is said to speed up the emptying of the stomach, help digestive issues, and to reduce intestinal cramps and bloating. Take a cup of Pukka Ginger Joy Latte from Holland & Barrett with organic ginger, turmeric and spices to set you on your caffeine-free way. With nutmeg, clove and cinnamon it’s the ultimate herbal latte boost to your day. Alternatively, have a cup of Holland & Barrett Organic Pure Green Tea. The polyphenolic compounds in green tea hold antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, making green tea the ideal choice for beating the bloat.
There are some drinks and foods that can help you to reduce bloating quickly, and these include:
Cucumber – since cucumbers are 95% water this makes them a great food for reducing bloating. Likewise with celery, another vegetable containing lots of water.
Avocado – packed with vitamin C, vitamin K and folate. As well as this, avocados are a great source of potassium, which is a key mineral in balancing body fluids and sodium levels and this therefore reduces water retention.
Berries are one of the healthiest snacks to add to your diet, but they can also help with your bloating!
Yoghurt – whether for breakfast or a mid-afternoon snack, yoghurts have been a staple part of the western diet for many years now, but the probiotics in them can also have a positive impact on bloating and abdominal distension.
Another useful remedy is to start taking ‘gut friendly’ bacteria. Lactobacillus is one of those bacteria that is often used in fermented foods like yoghurts and can also be found as lactobacillus supplements such as Pro-Ven Womens Lactobacillus & Bifdus Wi capsules from Holland & Barrett.
Support your immune system and boost your digestive health with Holland & Barrett Forever Young Probio 7 capsules which give optimal levels of good bacteria and fibre. Each capsule of Probio 7 contains a simple and highly effective formula of over 4 billion active friendly bacteria from seven different strains, plus two types of fibre.
Collagen can improve gut health by healing the gut lining and Vitamin C contributes to normal collagen formation. Collagen is a protein that supports the key areas of your body, including skin, bones, teeth gums, blood vessels and joints. Holland & Barrett’s Marine Collagen with Vitamin C tablets will help to keep your skin healthy and to support your immune system. Bioglan Beauty Collagen powder available at Holland & Barrett, is a high strength Collagen supplement specially formulated with readily absorbed hydrolysed Marine Collagen and Hyaluronic Acid to help support the maintenance of healthy looking hair, skin & nails.
Food supplements must not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle. If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, taking any medications or are under medical supervision, please consult a doctor or healthcare professional and always read the label before use.