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Bloating is a really common occurrence as the body reacts to certain foods you include in your diet. Common reasons for bloating can include excess wind, constipation, food intolerances or conditions such as IBS. Unfortunately, many of the foods that cause bloating are plant-based such as beans, pulses, lentils and certain veggies such as cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower. Introducing these foods slowly into the diet is a good way to avoid bloating as the body does eventually become accustomed to the increase in fibre.
Make sure you drink plenty of water when you increase your fibre intake with these foods as it’s required to help fibre swell in the gut. If bloating continues then keep a food and symptom diary to help pinpoint the foods that are causing the biggest issue.
Skipping meals can also cause bloating as you go for long periods of time between meals. Fizzy drinks and excessive gum chewing can also exacerbate bloating.
An unhealthy gut can also lead to bloating so try taking a probiotic supplement containing strains of bacteria such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium.
Certain herbs and spices such as fresh mint or fennel and caraway seed can also help with bloating. Brew a tea using these ingredients to drink after eating as they help to relax the gut wall and expel excess gas.
If you suspect IBS to be an issue then seek the advice of a registered dietitian who can help guide you through the FODMAPS diet, which has been shown to help tackle the condition.
Rob: I’m not a fan of counting macros but for those of you that like numbers then the recommendation for fat in the diet is no more than 35% of your daily energy intake. To work this out, fat contains 9 calories per gram so if your daily energy intake is 1500 calories then 35% of this is 525 calories and if you divide this by 9 that equates to 58g of fat.
Life is way too short for number crunching so focus more on including the beneficial types of fat in your diet. Healthy fats include monounsaturated (nuts, seeds, olive oil, avocado) and omega 3’s (oily fish), which have been shown to be hugely beneficial to heath as they help to reduce inflammation and protect the heart as well as helping the body to absorb fat-soluble nutrients such as the vitamins A, D, E and K.
There is some disagreement amongst experts regarding saturated fat, but my advice would be to worry less about whether you eat full fat Greek yoghurt or spread butter on your toast and just try to avoid processed foods that are not only high in saturated fat but also contain large amounts of salt and sugar.
Rob: Soy protein is a great option for those following a plant-based diet, but this is not the only one. There are many vegan protein powders on the market that use a combination of proteins from pea, brown rice, seeds (hemp, sunflower, chia), sacha inchi and alfalfa.
My personal issue with vegan blends is that they can often be a little bit ‘gritty’, so it’s a bit of trial an error to see which one you prefer. A really great company I have used is That Protein (www.thatprotein.com) who do a wide range of powders to suit all tastes and whilst not mega high in protein they all supply around 15g per serving, which is more than enough as a supplementary addition to the diet. My favourite are the Blissful Brown Rice and Raw Cacao Super Protein and the Nutty Nutty Peanut Butter Super Protein.
Other companies that produce great vegan protein powders free of soy include Healthista (www.healthista.com), Form Nutrition (www.formnutrition.com), Motion Nutrition (www.motionnutrition.com) and Pulsin who do a nice unflavoured option (www.pulsin.co.uk).
Rob Hobson is a registered nutritionist (BSc, MSc, AFN), published author and food writer. Rob has 15 years of experience working with some of the UK’s leading food companies, government agencies, NHS and private clients as well as regularly writing in the media for publications including the Daily Mail online.
A report by the National Obesity Forum and the Public Health Collaboration is demanding a major overhaul of official dietary guidelines. They claim the last thirty years of NHS official health advice urging people to adopt low-fat diets is having “disastrous health consequences”, and is based on “flawed science”. So is fat our friend or foe?
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