Feeling bloated? Healthy gut bacteria is KEY to avoiding a bloated stomach.

How to avoid bloating - Women's Health & Fitness

Fix: Probiotics (lactobacillus acidophilus/bifidobacterium)

Healthy gut bacteria are essential in helping the body to fight viruses and infection as well as absorb nutrients from our foods and prevent allergies.

Regular antibiotic use, alcohol and caffeine consumption, and diets high in processed foods all contribute to bad bacteria. Signs of an imbalanced gut microflora include: bloating, flatulence, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, constipation and candida. The word probiotic means ‘for life’. Naturopaths have always credited the gut as being the centre of immunity, but with solid research putting the case for probiotics, now mainstream health pros are cottoning on.

What You Need: You’re not going to end up in ICU with an acidophilus overdose, but the usage directions are a good guide. If ever you’re going to have a bash at probiotics, make it while you’re on antibiotics, which act like a cockroach bomb, knocking out the good bacteria as well as the bad.

Eat It: Fermented foods and natural yoghurt.

BFFs: Fibre, fish oils and other probiotic strains. Take with food to increase the survival of micro-organisms.

Avoid It: Antibiotics. Make sure if you are taking probiotics, then you take them well away from any antibiotic medication. If you’re on the old antis, leave hours between taking each of them.

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Amanda Ford is a Sydney-based nutritionist and writer.