Q: I’m trying to slim down for summer but I feel so sluggish and bloated I often don’t feel like exercising. What do you recommend?

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Q: I’m trying to slim down for summer but I feel so sluggish and bloated I often don’t feel like exercising. What do you recommend?

A: Jean Blacker from Herbafayre says:

There are a number of reasons why you may be feeling sluggish and bloated – diet, stress and inadequate digestive function can all play a part.

If food isn’t digested properly it can ferment in the gut, resulting in abdominal discomfort, acid indigestion and weight control problems.

Likewise, an imbalance or overgrowth of the organisms that reside in the bowel, the yeast candida for example thrives on sugar and the by-products of partial digestion, can also lead to bloating, wind and flatulence.

Making sure your diet is healthy and balanced is important - faddy diets that cut out an entire food group can hamper weight loss attempts and cause bloating.

A varied, balanced diet should include plenty of fruit and vegetables, plenty of wholegrain foods (bread, pasta and rice), some protein-rich foods such as lean meat, fish, eggs and lentils and some dairy foods.

Your diet should also be low in fat, especially saturated fat, salt and sugar, and high in fibre (18g to 35g a day), but make sure you drink plenty of water (between 1.5 to 2 litres a day) to keep your digestive system healthy.

Insufficient fibre or too much fibre coupled with insufficient fluid intake can lead to constipation and bloating.

In addition to eating healthily, a good prebiotic supplement should help to enhance digestion and improve your metabolism. Taken before a meal it can help to stimulate the secretion of digestive enzymes throughout the whole digestive system, which helps to reduce the rotting of food residues and resulting gases, making it very difficult for unfriendly bacteria to gain a hold. For further advice, ask at your local health shop.