How to reduce a bloated Winter stomach
Now Spring is officially here (even if the weather hasn’t realised it yet), I’m sure like me your thoughts are turning to summer holidays and the inevitable reduction in clothing! If you are worried your stomach is looking a little bloated after a Winter of warming comfort foods, then I would recommended giving your insides a Spring boost.
As you are probably already aware, your gut and your overall health, relies heavily on your gut microbiome. To give these friendly bugs a boost you need to get lots of probiotic and prebiotic foods into your diet. Probiotic bacteria reside in your gut in millions. However, these friendly bugs can be wiped out by antibiotics, steroids, the contraceptive pill, HRT, stress, high sugar consumption and alcohol. So, it’s important to keep adding probiotic bacteria back into your system. You also need to feed these bugs. This is where prebiotic foods come in. These are foods that have non-digestible parts (fibre) that help to grow your friendly gut bugs.
Here’s some of my top tips to boost your gut:-
1. Greek Natural Yogurt
Natural yogurt is a great source of protein, natural complex carbs and probiotic bacteria. Don’t go for supermarket flavoured yogurts as these are usually full of added sugar. I have two tablespoons of Greek yogurt with fresh fruit and pumpkin seeds most mornings.
You can also use Greek yogurt for making marinades, salad dressings and for adding to sauces like stroganoff instead of cream.
If you prefer a smoothie in the morning, then you could add some kefir. This is a fermented milk product but it has a very low lactose content so is more suitable for those who are dairy intolerant or for the elderly or young as it’s easier to digest. Chuckling Goat (http://www.chucklinggoat.co.uk) make their kefir from goats milk which is a good alternative. I found kefir OK but I prefer my yogurt and fruit choice.
This is a light, refreshing, slightly sparkling drink made from fermented tea. I really enjoyed this brand from Holland and Barratt but I’m sure there are lots of alternatives available. It’s a great alternative to sugary, fizzy drinks and will ease bloating instead of increasing it.
If, like me, you love a bit of toast and marmalade or some mashed avocado and poached egg on toast then sourdough makes a really gut friendly choice. The fermented cultures used to make sourdough aid your gut microbiome, so you can eat bread without feeling guilty. Try to find a local bakery who make it fresh, rather than supermarket varieties which may have additives.
5. Dark Chocolate
Yum! – yes, you can have chocolate and help your gut at the same time. Dark chocolate contains lots of antioxidants and fibres that feed your gut bacteria. Some chocolate brands even add probiotics into the chocolate for a gut super boost.
6. Prebiotic foods
Most vegetables contain fibre which helps to feed your gut microbiome but the veg that work particularly well are garlic, asparagus, leeks and onions. Try to add these beauties to as many of your meals as possible.
So, start nurturing those friendly gut bacteria to ease any Winter bloating and get ready for Summer!.
This week’s meal plan:-
- Mushroom Wellington and salad
- Grilled tuna with spicy sweetcorn salsa and new potatoes
- Crumbed chicken and Caesar salad
- Pasta Bolognese
- Lamb kofta meatballs in tomato sauce with rice
- Enchiladas and salad
- Chicken pie, mashed potatoes and vegetables
I hope you all have a wonderful week and we get some Spring weather soon!
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