Are you feeling sluggish, tired and not your usual self? Bloating can be tricky and often you’re left feeling like a balloon that’s about to pop with no real idea of what could have caused you to suddenly swell up like a puffer fish. That’s why today I’m going to take a look at a few common foods that might be the real culprits behind your sudden symptoms and 6 simple swaps can help you to beat the bloat!
1 – Fruit
Fruit can cause bloating? But isn’t fruit meant to be good for us? Aren’t we always being told that we need to up our fruit intake? Well yes, fruit is indeed extremely good for you and is loaded with a whole plethora of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that can contribute to your general health and well-being, helping to fuel everything from your muscles and joints to your hair and skin.
However, certain fruits (not all fruit!) can sometimes cause bloating, particularly if you’re a creature of habit that opts for the same choice every day. Apples, pears, grapes, pineapple and most forms of dried fruit are great in moderation, but if you decide to eat them right before a big meal, your waistline may feel the consequences.
Our simple swap: As I’ve mentioned, there’s nothing wrong with these fruits in moderation but it’s important to keep things varied – variety is the spice of life after all! And, while some fruits may cause bloating, there are plenty of fruits that won’t have this effect (unless you’re going to eat a whole punnet all at once!).
Bananas, for example are a great source of fibre and potassium, helping to fuel your body throughout the day! Melons and most berries are also a good choice if you’re worried about bloating. Try to avoid eating fruit too close to your main meals – unless you want to incorporate them into the actual meal. Having a banana with your breakfast is fine with us!
2 – Sweeteners
At this point, it isn’t exactly a shocking revelation that sugary, processed foods can cause bloating. However, what most people aren’t aware of is that even supposedly healthy foods are absolutely brimming with artificial colourings, flavourings, preservatives and sweeteners – all of which may be contributing to your bloat! That’s why it really pays to be label savvy – the fewer ingredients, the better and if you can’t pronounce it, don’t bother buying it!
Our simple swap: Here at Jan de Vries, we’re extremely proud of our range of fantastic health foods where you can satisfy all your snacking needs without having to worry about any nasty additives or unwanted sweeteners! We’ve got something for everyone – craving some chocolate? Why not check out Ombar’s luxurious dark cacao chocolate bars, infused with a variety of flavours as well as natural probiotic qualities! Looking to re-energise your body? We’ve got you covered with Rude Health’s Pumpkin Snack Bar! Or, if you’re up for the challenge, why not make your own snack bars using our simple recipe for Super Healthy Lemon Balls!
3 – Gluten
Going gluten-free is definitely on trend at the moment and while here at Jan de Vries, we’re not massive fans of fad diets, if you are suffering from bloating it may well be worth looking at your intake of this particular food product. Gluten can be found in wheat, barley and rye so it’s definitely in some of your favourite foods, including bread, pasta and most cereals and oats, unless otherwise specified.
Our simple swap: If you are sensitive to gluten it may be worth choosing more gluten-free options. Fortunately, nowadays there’s a wide range of gluten-free alternatives lining the supermarket shelves so there’s plenty of choice. Nevertheless, many of these products do contain extra additives so do be careful! If you’re looking for some sensible gluten-free options, Nairn’s offer a range of gluten-free oats, biscuits and oatcakes while Rude Health can provide gluten-free flours for all your baking needs!
4 - Raw vegetables
There’s so much out there at the moment about the benefits of a raw food diet and, while there’s definitely some merits to this way of thinking, eating all your food raw definitely isn’t for everyone, particularly if you regularly suffer from bloating. Raw vegetables are a bit trickier for your digestive system to breakdown as they are so high in fibre. Cruciferous vegetables (cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli and kale) in particular are especially difficult in this regard as they contain raffinose, a sugar molecule which can make these types of veg difficult to breakdown.
Our simple swap: Similarto certain types of fruit, cruciferous vegetables are really good for your health and have a lot to offer in terms of nutrients so completely cutting them from your diet isn’t ideal. Instead, you perhaps need to consider how you’re eating these vegetables – munching on raw broccoli might sound healthy but it isn’t doing wonders for your gut. Instead, try to cook these vegetables before eating them – this is where soups can come into the picture! Or, if you want to keep things really simple, you could try gently heating up one of Biotta’s nutrient-packed vegetable juices!
5 - Dairy
Did you know that it’s estimated that as much as 70% of the world’s population is lactose intolerant? Of course, it often goes undiagnosed and can vary depending on where you live (Europe, for example, doesn’t have the high levels of intolerance found in East Asia), but if you find yourself swelling up after an encounter with ice cream, it’s possible you may have a sensitivity to this particular food product.
Our simple swaps: Dairy may seem unavoidable, being present in many of your favourite treats, from chocolate to ice cream, however, gradually, society is waking up to dairy-
6 - Legumes
Beans, lentils and peas – good strong staples for a plant-based diet but also infamous for causing digestive problems such as bloating and flatulence, in part due to their high quantity of fibre. Nevertheless, this is a great food group that’s bursting with nutritional value so is it really worth cutting them from your diet completely?
Our simple swap: Legumes are a key source of protein for many so I wouldn’t jettison them from your diet just yet. Instead, keep these foods in moderation and consider other vegan-friendly forms of protein such as tofu or nuts and seeds. It’s also worth noting that canned lentils and legumes may be easier on your digestive system so why not incorporate more of these into your diet?
What else can you do to support your gut?
Okay, so you’re trying to make a few changes to your diet to help prevent bloating but what else can you do? Are there any supplements or natural remedies that can help? Well, the good news is yes, there are plenty of natural treatments to help ease a bout of bloating!
Let’s start with short-term relief first. A.Vogel’s Digestisan Oral Drops take centre stage here. A combination of organically cultivated herbs traditionally associated with relieving digestive upsets, such as artichoke, peppermint and dandelion, this remedy helps to ease any unpleasant bloating as well as other symptoms of indigestion such as abdominal discomfort and flatulence. Vegan-friendly, simply take the recommended dose in a couple of tablespoons of water and hey presto, goodbye bloating!
If you’re looking to improve your symptoms in the long term, you’re going to need to think a bit more about your gut health. Strengthening your gut can go a long way towards preventing bloating from occurring in the first place and the best way to support your gut is by enhancing the population of friendly bacteria that live there.
A good prebiotic and probiotic combination should help here. Once again A.Vogel rise to the occasion with their Molkosan Prebiotic. Rich in L+ lactic acid, this formula helps to create an ideal environment for your friendly bacteria to thrive in. This then prepares you for a probiotic and in this case, Optibac remain our brand of choice. Not only do they have the research to back up their claims, their range is extensive with probiotics specifically engineered for children, women and even those on antibiotics!