Who finds their tummy bloats more during the autumn and winter months? With a change of season usually comes a change in diet choices, which may be contributing to this.
For the autumn and winter, we usually wave goodbye to light salads and stir fries, and welcome in more comforting and heavier carbohydrate-based foods. Some foods such as dumplings, mash and chunks of bread may leave you feeling bloated and bleurgh which can really bring you down, especially when the swelling can make you balloon up a dress size or you struggle to do up your jean buttons.
Often bloating comes with other annoying, uncomfortable symptoms such as constipation (feeling of incomplete evacuation) and sometimes embarrassing wind.
Here are my top five tips for beating a bloated belly this autumn to help you feel less heavy.
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#1 Remove obvious bloating foods
Avoid stodgy foods such as mashed potatoes, bread and dumplings which some people struggle to digest. If you know you’re sensitive to gluten, it’s best to avoid heavy pastry-laden pies and pastries. Switch out mashed potato for tiny waxy potatoes, sweet potatoes or cauliflower mash and fill up on delicious seasonal veggies such as cabbage, swede, broccoli, carrots and squash instead. These are not only seasonal and delicious, but they will be full of fibre, vitamins and nutrients.
#2 Chew your food properly
To further ease the bloat, ensure that you eat slowly and chew your food properly. Remember that our digestive tract isn’t very good at breaking up unchewed food! So, support your digestion by chewing the food thoroughly before swallowing it. Eating slowly and mindfully generally helps to prepare your digestive tract for optimal digestion.
#3 Choose fresh, seasonal foods
According to Ayurvedic medicine, during the winter, or vata season, from October to February, we should eat more soups, stews, nuts and seeds. It also suggests we consume higher protein and higher fat foods that are more nutritionally dense and insulating for the body. We’re supposed to gain a pound or two in winter as part of our insulation.
#4 Be bean aware!
Although beans are a fantastic source of fibre, protein, vitamins, minerals and carbohydrate they also contain starch called alpha-galactosides, which can be problematic for some people with bloating. During fermentation (digestion) they form a gas which can upset tummies resulting in bloating, flatulence, cramping and diarrhoea.
Soaking beans in bicarbonate of soda and plenty of water for a few hours can help to reduce these starches. There is also another solution to this! If you really struggle with digesting beans, you might like to try a digestive enzyme supplement containing alpha-galactosidase at that mealtime which helps break down the bloaty parts of the beans and pulses – they really can make all the difference!
#5 Sip on ginger tea
Ginger has been used for centuries to aid digestion and help manage bloating. It works by stimulating your body’s digestive enzymes, whilst also protecting the stomach lining. It is super easy to make. Simply grate or slice one teaspoon of fresh ginger into a cup and steep in boiling water and consume once it is cool enough to sip. You could add a little lemon or honey to make it more palatable if the ginger spice it too much on its own. Ginger is a very warming spice, so makes a perfect after-dinner drink on chilly evenings. Tip: ginger root can be stored in the freezer and simply grate what you need into a cup.
Other herbal teas, tonics and syrups which are usually found in combination, which can soothe a sore bloated tummy include: Peppermint, Meadowsweet, Fennel, Chamomile, Turmeric, Dandelion and Artichoke Leaf.
If all of these tips are not enough and you still feel bloated quite a lot of the time, then do be in touch to book in an appointment with one of our clinical team who can investigate Bacterial Overgrowth Of The Small Intestine (SIBO) or dysbiosis, both of which can contribute to excess intestinal gas and bloating.
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- Pathophysiology, Evaluation, and Treatment of Bloating
- Relations between food intake, psychological distress, and gastrointestinal symptoms: A diary study
- Management Strategies for Abdominal Bloating and Distension
- The effect of oral alpha-galactosidase on intestinal gas production and gas-related symptoms
- Efficacy and tolerability of α-galactosidase in treating gas-related symptoms in children: a randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled trial
- Herbs and Spices in the Treatment of Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders: A Review of Clinical Trials
- Prevention and Treatment of Flatulence From a Traditional Persian Medicine Perspective
- A review of the gastroprotective effects of ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe)
- Ginger in gastrointestinal disorders: A systematic review of clinical trials
- Efficacy of turmeric in the treatment of digestive disorders: a systematic review and meta-analysis protocol
- Beneficial Effects on Abdominal Bloating with an Innovative Food-Grade Formulation of Curcuma longa and Boswellia serrata Extracts in Subjects with Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Small Bowel Dysbiosis