Want to lose that bloated feeling? We asked one of London’s best nutritional therapists, Henrietta Norton Co-founder of food-grown supplements Wild Nutrition , for her top nutrition tips for eating your way to a flatter tummy and more energy from breakfast to bedtime.
From the foods that cause bloating to her recommended bloating remedies, the dreaded day-end bloat will soon become a thing of the past with her nutrition know-how to hand.
1. Start the day with grated fresh ginger, turmeric and the juice of half a lemon or apple cider vinegar
“This can help with the digestive juices needed for breaking down protein (undigested proteins can become a feeding ground for pathogenic microbes). Turmeric provides anti-inflammatory properties that can soothe distention.”
2. Soak your grains the night before
“Phytic acid found in most grains can be irritating on the mucosal lining of your digestive tract. Soaking grains overnight and rinsing them before eating can reduce the phytic acid in them and reduce that ‘scratchy’ cramping feeling.”
3. Don't overload on too much fruit
“This applies to whole fruit and fruit used in smoothies or juices. Large vats of juice or smoothies can mean a very gassy start to the day. Apply an ‘everything in moderation’ mantra, even if it looks or sounds healthy.”
4. Soothe digestion with avocado
“Avocados are rich in soothing fats, amino acids and vitamin E to support an irritated tummy.”
5. Drink fennel or cardamom tea
“Simply add a teaspoon of fennel seeds and 1 cardamon pod into a teapot of hot water, leave to steep for 5 minutes and drink. This can be enjoyed as a refreshing cold drink on a hot day too. Once steeped, pour into a jug and keep in the fridge.”
6. Don't snack on your emotions
“It’s easy to graze on food at your desk or to cull emotions such as boredom, but eating ‘mindlessly’ in front of a computer doing work or on the phone, means that you are not able to give full attention to eating. This can lead to less nourishing food choices as well as affecting how efficiently your body produces enzymes and digestive juices to break down the food, increasing the risk of poor digestion and more bloating.”
7. Chew well
“The process of digestion begins in the mouth where enzymes are secreted in saliva to break down food. If we do not properly chew and make our food morsels smaller, we may be subject to indigestion and other digestive problems. The act of eating allows us to be mindful, and in the moment of our exchange of energy with foods.”
8. Move around and get some fresh air
“Sitting for too long can contribute to sluggish digestion. Move around as often as you can. Even if you bring lunch into work, go out and walk around the block. Fresh air supports the metabolism and within that, peristaltic movement (the wave like motion of the gut wall).”
9. Drink in-between meals
“Gulping liquid during meals can dilute the digestive enzymes needed to breakdown the food and can lead to digestive problems.”
10. Keep it light and simple
“According to traditional Chinese medicine, digestion is slower later on in the day so eating less in the evening is a good practice 3-4 nights a week.”
11. Drink a glass of flaxseed juice
“Bloating can be the result of sluggish bowel movements, so if things have been a bit slow (i.e. less than once a day), soak 1 tablespoon of flaxseeds in half a tumbler of water and leave to soak for 30 minutes, then drink the juice and seeds. This usually results in a more enthusiastic trip to the loo the following morning.”
12. Eat according to the climate
“I advise clients to follow traditional practices and eat cold foods during hot weather and warm foods in the colder weather to improve digestion and reduce bloating.”
13. Take a probiotic that doesn’t contain FOS
“Low levels of good gut bacteria can contribute to digestive issues such as bloating, but choose your probiotic supplement carefully. FOS, also known as a prebiotic, feeds bacteria and is often added in beneficial bacteria supplements but this can often leave you feeling more bloated and distended.
“Choose a product without FOS and slowly build in more FOS-rich foods into your diet instead - artichokes, sauerkraut and chicory are good choices. Always look for quality over price and a product that contains multiple strains of bacteria (I use the Wild Nutrition Multi Strain Biotic , £35 in-clinic). Powders can be added into juices and yoghurts which can make them really practical for children too.”
14. Increase your magnesium supply
“Magnesium is a mineral used by the muscles to contract and relax. A large muscle in the body is the digestive tract and if magnesium stores are low (from stress, medication use or low intake from food) this can affect how well the muscle works and can mean that food ‘lingers’ longer in the gut than it should.
“This creates the perfect feeding ground for unwanted bacteria, causing it to become gassier. Get plenty of magnesium from your food in the shape of green leafy vegetables and seeds. You may also want to consider supplementing with a highly bioavailable Magnesium supplement , £16.50.”