Posted on June 04 2018
In the quest for a flat stomach, it’s crucial that you get to grips with the right foods to eat – and those to avoid – to prevent the dreaded bloat.
A little dietary knowledge goes a long way here, so read on to get our top tips for bypassing bloating!
Watch Out for Gluten
Of all the top tips on bloating, the suggestion of gluten avoidance has to be the most common. Many people have a sensitivity to gluten, which is a protein found in wheat and other grain sources, and it can cause an instant bloat reaction and a temporary end to your flat stomach.
Avoid the dreaded bloat and get a flat stomach by focusing on protein-rich foods that support muscle growth (and maintenance) and help the body to rebuild after training. Meat, fish and eggs tend not to cause bloating. The same applies to cheese, if you don’t have an intolerance to dairy.
A flat stomach requires a healthy gut, which means avoiding stress, minimising aggravators such as refined sugar (including alcohol) or a low-nutrition diet and incorporating lots of gut-loving foods into your diet. Add kimchi and sauerkraut to your meals in small doses for an incredible anti-bloat probiotic boost. Try drinking kefir or kombucha tea, which are both fermented and filled with good bacteria. Choose bio yoghurt for a similar gut-loving effect. Fruits and vegetables also help to create the right environment for healthy bacteria to thrive and foods such as artichoke, asparagus and bananas are filled with prebiotics. You can also take a supplement which has prebiotics and probiotics in it – look for a live strain for the best results. Ideally, avoid highly sugared ‘bio-active’ drinks though, as the sugar content may well negate the probiotic benefit and see your flat stomach experience the dreaded bloat anyway.
Avoid Trigger Foods
Many people will find that they naturally experience some degree of bloating when they eat foods such as wheat, refined sugar and milk. If you don’t have a known allergy, just watch how you feel after eating a potential aggravator food and notice whether it causes you to bloat. A food diary can help you to identify any problem foods.
Avoid Fruit for Dessert
Fruit is digested before it even reaches the stomach, so if you follow up a heavy meal with a bowl of the fresh stuff, it will often cause bloating and discomfort. Fruit is best eaten on its own and before any other food so that it has a chance to be digested beforehand.
Many people don’t know this, but chewing gum can cause you to bloat by encouraging your stomach to release digestive acids when there is no food present. Similarly, gulping your food and drinks will cause you to swallow air, which can lead to digestive discomfort and stomach bloating. Drink your cold drinks with a straw and use a bottle with a sports cap to reduce this. When you do eat, avoid noise, stress and distraction, focusing instead on the meal in front of you. Turn off that screen andreally enjoy the experience of the meal. Chew everything thoroughly because pre-digestion begins in the mouth and greatly increases your chance of a healthy overall digestion.
Look to Herbs
Many herbs have a natural anti-spasmodic effect, which stops the stomach from feeling cranky and swelling up with that horrible feeling of bloating. Herbs are an ancient remedy here and you can drink them in a tea, take them as a supplement or add them to your food. Try spearmint or peppermint tea after a meal (green tea also helps with digestion), add plenty of fresh herbs of all kinds to your dishes to encourage good digestion and remember beneficial spices too, such as garlic and turmeric, which help to create healthy gut conditions and encourage good food digestion.
Go for a Walk
Enjoy a relaxing walk after dinner and your digestion will thank you for it. Gentle walking encourages your digestive system to work as it should and can help to avoid any discomfort around the waistband area! Don’t attempt vigorous sport or activity for another couple of hours though or you’ll undo your good work.
Try the Occasional Fast
Intermittent fasting is gaining a lot of attention in the health and fitness world and studies suggest that it offers profound benefits to the body in terms of regeneration, cell repair and disease resistance. Try to allow 12–16 hours overnight between dinner and breakfast occasionally and see if you feel any benefits. Many people report feeling brighter, better and leaner as a result.
Try these top tips for bloating and you’ll be feeling better, looking leaner, seeing your training results and rocking that beach body in no time!
For even more tips, read more of our articles on health, fitness and food.