A bloated stomach usually happens after eating foods which are difficult for the digestive system to digest. Cutting out bloat-inducing foods, such as fatty foods, gassy vegetables and processed carbohydrates, can help relieve this, but consuming other foods that are beneficial to gut health can also help. Maintaining a healthy gut will not only make you feel less bloated, but will help promote a healthy digestive system and body. Dietician Juliette Kellow and Dr Sarah Brewer, in their book ‘Eat Better Live Longer: Understand What Your Body Needs to Stay Healthy’, recommend these five foods for ensuring a healthy gut.
Bananas are an “excellent” source of prebiotics – which are non-digestible carbohydrates that feed good bacteria in the large intestine.
One study of overweight women found eating two bananas a day increased levels of good bacteria in the gut after 30 days.
Wholegrains are full of fibre, which is essential for healthy digestion and preventing constipation.
Studies have also shown fibre and wholegrain offer the greatest protection against bowel cancer, with one study finding three daily servings of wholegrains reduced the risk by 17 per cent.
Ginger has been shown to fight nausea, stimulate bile production, relieve stomach discomfort and speed transit through the digestive tract.
It also helps to break up and dispel intestinal gas, counteracting bloating.
Yoghurt is packed with probiotic bacteria, which may protect against constipation and ulcerative colitis.
Eating yoghurt has also been linked to having lower body weight, less body fat and smaller waists.
Beans, lentils and chickpeas are high in fibre and protein, helping you stay fuller for longer.
The soluble fibre found in pulses aids blood sugar control, while the insoluble fibre helps keep waste moving, helping prevent constipation.
“The digestive tract is designed to extract all the goodness from our diet. Each part of the gut is functionally different and responds better to certain foods. Fibre-rich foods and probiotics promote gut health, while refined foods are linked to disease,” said Kellow and Brewer.