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Avoid the bloat
A bloated stomach is a regular occurrence for most of us. Most of the time it’s because you have too much gas in your stomach. But you don’t have to put up with it. You can ease the symptoms.

Easing the symptoms

1. Ease off the salt
Salt attracts fluid. So if you eat too much you are more likely to bloat. The maximum amount you should be eating is 6g a day. But many experts believe it should be more like 3g.

Experts view
‘Reducing salt intakes helps our bodies to release excess water it stores’ says nutritionist Amanda Ursell, who helped Lorraine Kelly in the ‘Slim with LK’ challenge.

Beat it:
•    Replace salt with other seasonings
•    Avoid heavily salted pre-packaged foods.

2. The dreaded PMS
During this time women feel bloated, sluggish and emotionally ragged. To avoid it take vitamin B6 as it acts as a natural diuretic.

Beat it:
For more tips, go to 

3. Fizzle out
Carbonated drinks, such as sparkling water, fizzy drinks and spritzers, cause bloating. 
Stick to still fluids instead.

Beat it:
•    Stick to soft drinks
•    Drink lots of water – eight glasses plus is the recommended amount.

4. Slow it down
Swallowing lots of air when eating causes bloating. But it’s all too easy to swallow air without realising so eat more slowly. Belching during and after meals is a sign of this.

Beat it:
Chew food slowly – you’ll feel full quicker and eat less.

5. Drink up
Drink lots of water. ‘You need about eight glasses a day – more if you’re active. It wards off fatigue, and maintains your body’s fluid balance,’ says Liz Vaccariello, author of the Flat Belly Diet (£12.99, Pan Macmillan).

Beat it:
•    Fill up a big bottle of water in the morning and pour out a glass every time you go to the fridge.
•    Keep a bottle of water on your desk at work and drink a glug every 30 minutes.

6. Stress bust
Stress slows down your digestive system. This means that your last meal will hang around in your intestine and cause bloating. So take time out to sit down and enjoy a meal. It will reduce bloating and you will also enjoy your food more.

Beat it:
Take regular exercise to reduce stress levels and bloating.

7. Avoid eating gum
Chewing gum lets air into your gut making you more likely to bloat. Go for sugar free mints.

Beat it:
To freshen your breath clean your teeth or use mouthwash.

8. Put them away
Cut out beans, as these are a big culprit of bloating. They contain large amounts of raffinose, a type of sugar that’s fermented into gas. Take care with cabbage, Brussels sprouts and spicy foods, too.

Beat it:
Introduce nuts, green vegetables and whole grains into your diet.

9. Moving on
Constipation is a big cause of bloating. So to get your bowels working properly eat a variety of fibre sources such as wholemeal bread. Soluble fibre can also be found in fruit, and veg. If constipation is a big issue see your GP.

Beat it:
Have a high-fibre cereal for breakfast so you’re having it regularly.

10. Milk it
Milk is an essential part of your diet. To boost your calcium intake have two to three servings of low-fat milk or yogurt daily. Not only is it good for your bones it also reduces fluid retention.

Beat it:
Mix milk with fresh or frozen fruit to make a smoothie. It will boost your dairy and fruit intake. 

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