By David Saunders, Health Editor | UPDATED: 14:42, 25 November 2019
Many desire a flat stomach so it’s really easy to feel complacent with the appearance of a puffy abdomen too often hid underneath oversized jumpers this time of year. But a flat stomach isn’t only good for wearing high-waisted jeans or tighter shirts; it’s also an indicator of a healthy, well-functioning gut.
Luckily, there are a few ways you could reduce the discomforts of bloating and other gut issues this winter.
When thinking about improving your gut health it’s worth looking at what youre eating and how you’re eating it. You may know that consuming plenty of fibre is beneficial to your bowel because the insoluable strand adds mass to your stool, helping it to pass quickly through your bowls, while the soulable strand improves form and concistency.
Nutritionist Lily Soutter advises to “assess the way you’re eating. Mindful eating can be a great step for helping to improve digestive health, focus on chewing thoroughly, eat slowly, and eat away from distractions such as your laptop, TV and phone” to possibly manage and reduce bloating.
“Chewing takes place to break down our food into small particles. If you don’t chew properly, the rest of the digestive process cannot take place, as it should. This can cause bloating, flatulence and cramping. A great trick is to eat with your left hand – you simply won’t be able to do it quickly!” adds Nutritionist, Cassandra Barns .
Movement boosts a healthy gastrointestinal tract by encouraging food to move along the passage. “Good physical activity may therefore benefit those with constipation in particular. Exercise may also help bloating and other IBS-type symptoms – perhaps mainly by relieving stress. For this reason, gentle and relaxing exercises such as Yoga and Pilates may be the most beneficial” says the UK’s Leading Nutritionist Dr Marilyn Glenville.
Stress has been linked to digestive problems through slowing digestion, causing bloating, pain and constipation in some and diarrhoea in others. “When you feel emotionally stressed, your body goes into Fight or Flight mode, which is driven by the adrenal hormones: adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol. These effects prime you to fight or flee and when this expected physical activity does not occur, the effects are prolonged” says Dr Sarah working in association with CuraLin, the type 2 diabetes supplement. (www.curalife.com).
Stress can therefore worsen digestive conditions so having meals in relaxed environments can work to ease digestive issues that cause bloating.
‘Magnesium is known as ‘natures tranquiliser’ as it helps to relax our muscles and nerves, which can help combat against constipation. Magnesium increases the water in your intestines, helping to initiate a wave like motion to move matter through the intestines, aiding digestion. Try to include dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, fish, whole grains and bananas in your diet, which are all rich in magnesium. Alternatively, take Natures Plus KalmAssure Magnesium Capsules (£11.75,www.naturesplus.co.uk)that are very easy to absorb and easily delivered to the tissues” explains Cassandr.
Boost the good gut bacteria daily
“The gut is the portal to the body that processes an enormous variety of food and where nutrients are absorbed, as well as where a myriad of infectious agents and toxic substances are. Therefore, it’s important to maintain optimal gut health for an overall healthy body,” adds Cassandra.