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Beat the bloat

If you're bothered by a bloated belly, check out our lifestyle tips

August 30, 2011
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Did you know abdominal bloating is one of the most common digestive complaints? The possible causes include inadequate diet, stress, sedentary lifestyle... And changes in schedules and routines due to summer holidays and travel can simply make things worse. 

Whatever time of year it is, good nutrition and good eating habits are key if you want to tackle bloating. 

  • Meal times: wherever possible, keep to regular meal times and don't eat 'on the hoof'.

  • No rush: Eat slowly and try not to talk too much during meals to avoid swallowing air. Even watching TV while you eat can make things worse – especially if it's the sort of film that makes you laugh, cry, or simply gasp with excitement. Avoid drinking through a straw or straight from the bottle which can increase the amount of air you swallow, as can chewing gum.

  • Nutrition: Remember to include regular helpings of foods that help reduce abdominal bloating, such as whole grains, fresh fruits, vegetables and probiotic yoghurts. Cooked vegetables are more digestible than raw.

  • Cooking method: Simple cooking methods – steaming, grilling, baking or wok cooking – produce meals that are more easily digested than more complex methods; avoid fried food, fats and heavily condimented sauces. Also watch the amount you eat and avoid large meals.
  • Ingredients: When you travel, it's fun to try local cuisine, but be cautious about unusual ingredients, particularly peppers and spices.

  • Water: Keep well hydrated by drinking at least 1.5 litres of water a day. If you are visiting an exotic destination, you may prefer to drink bottled water.

  • Keep fit: Make sure you do some kind of physical activity every day: while you're on holiday this may be walking along the beach, biking, swimming or even just walking around sight-seeing

Make your clothes your allies

As well as watching what you eat and taking exercise, making intelligent choices about what you wear will help by not drawing attention to a bloated belly: 

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Colours: Plain colours and straight lines help stylise the figure, while complex pleats and gathers and loud or busy patterns can emphasise curves in the worst way. Opt for single colours or different colours in the same intensity, and use the darkest colours for the abdominal area.
Accessories: Scarves, necklaces, shoes, earrings, etc. can be really useful at distracting attention towards other parts of the body.

  • Belts: Avoid the very narrow or the very wide: between 2 and 4 cm is ideal. It's best to wear the buckle to one side and opt for smooth, rounded lines which don't attract too much attention by catching the light.
Swimwear: Make sure your cozzie is the right size to avoid excessive pressure on the skin from the stretch fabric. Remember that if it's the only thing you're going to be wearing, it's worth spending a little time and money to find the shape, style and pattern that suits you best.

  • Pareos: Learn to tie a style that you feel comfortable with and that will stay put reasonably well. In general, they are more flattering tied to one side and allowed to fall at an angle to enhance the natural drape of the fabric.

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