Love your tum

123 woman holding stomach, white top

Don't just sit there

You’re less likely to suffer with indigestion if you exercise regularly. Movements that stretch the chest can improve breathing, which stimulates healthy intestinal contractions, says fitness expert Angie Newson. ‘Stretching the pelvic and abdominal area can reduce inflammation, helping to ease uncomfortable symptoms.’

Make a meal of it

Research by Imodium found that 44 per cent of people wolf down their main meal in 15 minutes or less – yet it takes 20 minutes for the stomach to register that it’s full, so fast eaters inevitably eat more than they need and are more likely to suffer indigestion as a result. Gulping your food will also lead to swallowing air – causing painful trapped wind.

Chew, chew, chew

In fact, chew each mouthful at least 20 times and you’ll be amazed at how soon you feel satisfied, says nutritional therapist Ali Cullen. ‘It’s also important to focus on your food – don’t try to eat a sandwich with one hand while typing with the other. You won’t feel fed and are more likely to head for extra snacks afterwards.’

Eat smart

Don’t eat fruit with other food if you’re prone to bloating and wind. ‘Fruit doesn’t need much digesting, so if you eat it with foods that require heavy-duty treatment with stomach acid, it will ferment and cause gassy symptoms. So least 20 minutes between eating fruit and other foods,’ says Ali. ‘Another thing few people realise is that you shouldn’t drink more than half a glass of liquid within 20 minutes of meals. Avoiding fluids makes your stomach far more comfortable, and also avoids diluting digestive enzymes, so that you can break your food down more effectively.’

Clever food swaps

Eat cooked and warm foods in preference to cold and raw foods. ‘Ignore the advice you often see to eat things as raw as possible,’ says Ali. ‘If your digestion isn’t good, this will not do you any favours. Have warm, cooked food and feel the difference. Stew your fruit, for example, rather than eating it raw, and add warming spices, such as cloves, cinnamon and ginger to make it even more appealing.’

Use herbs

‘Bitter herbs are excellent for improving digestion, stimulating the body to produce the right quantity of digestive enzymes. Herbs such as cynara (artichoke) and dandelion are particularly supportive for the liver, which has prime responsibility for metabolising fats,’ says Ali. Try A Vogel Digestisan (£3.95 for 15ml from health-food stores), made from fresh extract of cynara, dandelion, peppermint and boldo to relieve indigestion, fullness and flatulence.

Pop a peppermint

Sucking an after-dinner mint is a great way to acknowledge that we have come to the end of the meal, helping avoid second helpings, says nutritionist Amanda Hamilton. ‘And peppermint oil is also traditionally used to ease discomfort by calming the muscles of the stomach.’ Try Setlers Mintees (£1.29 for 25g from supermarkets).

 

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