Stomach bloating usually happens after eating food which the digestive system struggles to digest. Some foods are more problematic for the digestive system than others, while overeating can also cause digestive havoc. Many people will have experienced a bloated stomach after indulging in festive treats over Christmas and new year, lots of whom will now be looking to get into shape as we enter 2019. Julie Lamble, nutritional biochemist and senior nutritionist at Lifeplan recommends the following four foods and drinks to help soothe your digestive woes.
Pineapple contains an enzyme called bromelain, which can help digestion. Bromelain is a proteolytic enzyme, which means it helps to break down protein in the stomach.
“Some people have trouble producing enough protein digesting enzymes, which gives rise to bloating, cramping, gas and diarrhoea. Bromelain can help to stop these symptoms,” said Lamble.
Active honey is a great way to soothe a damaged digestive tract, especially in people with heartburn. It does this by neutralising the acid, which helps to relieve pain.
Peppermint and fennel tea
Peppermint and fennel tea can help relieve trapped wind, bloating and cramps, and can also help settle the stomach.
Gamble advises drinking peppermint or fennel tea at at mealtimes to prevent the food you’re eating from making you bloated.
Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar can help to activate the stomach enzymes which are required for normal digestion.
Low levels of these stomach enzymes can cause indigestion, gastric reflux and gas. Lamble advised diluting apple cider vinegar in water and drinking it.
In terms of foods and drinks to be avoided, Lamble advises cutting out cruciferous vegetables, salty foods, grains high in fructans, alcohol and caffeine.
Cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli, cauliflower, beans and lentils, contain a sugar called raffinose which the body cannot digest.
Salty foods, like crisps, ham, tinned soup and ready meals, cause the body to retain water which leads to bloating.
Grains high in fructans or gluten, like wheat and rye, can be problematic for some people to break down.
Alcohol and caffeine increase stomach acid which can exacerbate reflux and indigestion, and also increase water retention.