If you want to de-bloat and de-bulge fast, there’s no need to actually fast. Make some simple food swaps, and choose smart snacks that will boost your metabolism, cut cravings and relieve water retention.
Nothing beats a balanced diet and plenty of exercise, so feel free to jog on the spot while you swot up on these belly-busting super-foods. Keep scrolling for the foods that will flatten your stomach.
Meet porridge, your new favourite breakfast. Oats are a great source of fibre and are high in antioxidants. As well as helping to lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels, a morning bowl of porridge has the slow-release energy to keep you feeling full until lunch, meaning you’ll be less likely to snack.
“Oatmeal contains soluble fibre, which is known to reduce belly fat by 3.7 percent over five years,” says Zoe Stirling, nutritionist at Akasha for the Akasha Urban Detox Retreat. “However, avoid oatmeal if it contains more than 5g of sugar.”
Try Bulk Powders Ultra Fine Scottish Oats 2kg (£6); they have just 0.75g of sugar per serving.
How to enjoy them: Isabelle Gnany, nutritionist from NutriCentre.com says: “Jazz up your oats with goji berries, cinnamon, almond milk, and a sprinkle of pumpkin seeds."
“A healthy gut is essential for achieving a flatter tummy, and garlic is packed with a naturally occurring chemical called allicin. When digested, allicin reacts with the blood to create a product capable of killing off many harmful bacteria that can cause bloating and excess gas especially in the digestive tract,” explains Stirling. Not only is garlic great for the gut, but allicin also boosts the immune system helping to ward off illnesses like the common cold.
It is thought that cooking inhibits the medicinal properties of the wonder cloves, but if you’re worried about bad breath after a mouth full of raw garlic, chase it with parsley, which is an excellent breath freshener. Or take Solgar Garlic Parsley tablets (£15).
Apple cider vinegar flushes out toxins and relieves water retention, meaning it’s great for de-bloating. Vinegar lowers blood sugar and insulin levels and has been linked to weight loss.
“Apple cider vinegar contains a compound called acetic, which has been shown to reduce waist and belly fat by drinking 1/2 or 1 ounce of the vinegar daily,” says Akasha’s Stirling.
What’s more, according to Gnany, “Including apple cider vinegar in your diet is a great way to balance acid/alkaline levels and cleanse your digestive system, which in turn can leave you with a flatter tummy.” It’s also pretty delicious thrown over a fresh salad.
Try Bragg Organic Apple Cider Vinegar (£8).
Vitamin-packed asparagus is a de-bloating wonder-stalk, thanks to its high levels of potassium, which assist in removing excess body fluids. High zinc content is also great for clearing skin. Gnany says: “Asparagus is a luxury vegetable packed with fibre, which supports healthy digestion and is particularly low in calories, making it a great snack.”
Fennel is an excellent digestive aid, thanks to its high fibre, vitamin, manganese and potassium content. Stock up on fennel tea (like Clipper Organic Fennel Tea, £2) and have a cup after your meal to aid digestion, or chew on fennel seeds after your meal. Here comes the science, from Nutricentre’s Gnany:
“Fennel’s carminative properties come from the active ingredient, ‘fenchone’ found in its seeds. Fenchone acts by relaxing the digestive’s tract smooth muscle lining and has long been known to provide relief from bloating, flatulence and indigestion.”
Keep a jar of Steenbergs Organic Fennel Seeds (£3) by your desk or in your kitchen.
Ginger contains an enzyme called zingibain, which helps digest proteins, making it an excellent digestive aid.
“Ginger contains two chemicals—gingerols and shgaolsm—they relax and ease inflammation as well as prevent the formation of excess gas along with expelling it from the digestive tract,” says Stirling.
It helps stave off nausea, too, so it’s great if you’re feeling a little peaky. Try a ginger shot in your morning juice and enjoy the wonder root’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Need another stomach-friendly super-food? “Chillies don’t only add flavour and spice to our food but support the body’s metabolism through thermogenesis: our ability to produce heat to burn off fat and therefore excess calories,” says Gnany.
Not only do delicious chillies boost your metabolism, they also promote healthy skin, nails and hair thanks to the high content of beta-carotene. Stomach and beauty-boosting properties? That’s the kind of food maths we like to do…
What foods do you rely on to de-bloat? Share your tips in the comment box below.