The menopause has a way of making a mockery of even the most dignified women.
So, I feel no shame in just saying it: I have been very windy of late. I apologise to my team and to anyone else who has been in my vicinity lately because I suspect it may not have been the most pleasant experience. I would especially like to apologise to my trainer at the gym because he may now need counselling given what I unleashed during my last round of sit ups. If they tell Chicago to hand over its ‘Windy City’ nickname, I will fervently deny that it had anything to do with me.
It’s quite strange really and I don’t know if other women get this too, but my feeling of bloating and gas can vary from week to week. One week, my stomach is completely flat and the next I have a little paunch to rival most men’s beer bellies. I was a bit baffled at first to be honest because I don’t eat sugar and for all intents and purposes, I have a very clean diet (except maybe for last week when I ate a whole tub of Ben and Jerry’s but it doesn’t count because England won).
Over time, I’ve tried to identify what helps me and what makes it worse. Here are my top tips:
My Top Tips
Drink digestive teas.
Too much water and liquids won’t help a bloated stomach, but a good cup of tea can! Many herbal teas have digestive properties, which can help keep your body moving and your stomach feeling a lot better. Look out for teas named “Stomach Ease” or “Digestion”.
Slow poses that stretch out your stomach are great for bloated bellies. In just 10 minutes, you can feel a lot lighter and leaner – perfect if you’re in the need for a quick fix. Just be sure to avoid poses like Downward Dog, which put a downward pressure on your stomach and can make you blow off like a rocket at Cape Canaveral. Trust me, I KNOW.
Eat your fibre, carefully.
A regular amount of fibre, found in fruits such as forest berries, plums, and apricots, and foods such as whole wheat, beans, and lentils, can help regulate your digestion. The better running your digestion, the less bloated you’ll feel! That said… if you’re used to a low-fibre diet, take it slow. Increasing your fibre too much and all of a sudden will make you more bloated because your stomach doesn’t have enough bacteria to deal with it. So, gradually start increasing your fibre intake.
Check your supplements.
Supplements are GREAT if you’re missing some major nutrients, but a lot of them contain additives and fillers – such as lactose, wheat, and sugar alcohols (xylitol or mannitol) – which are very slow to digest, causing bloating. Make sure that you check the ingredients in your supplements!
When potassium is low in our bodies, our bodies retain extra sodium and water, bloating us up. So, a potassium-rich diet will help get rid of that extra sodium and water! That means bananas, sweet potato, and avocado are on the menu.
Get in your probiotics.
Probiotics help the healthy bacteria in your gut stay at a good level and help digest your food. Specifically, bifidobacterial can help reduce bloating. This bacteria can be found in Activia and Fage yoghurt (but you can also take a probiotic supplement if you’re lactose intolerant).