Your flat tum plan – Bring comfort and joy to your tummy this winter!

With the season of indulgence almost here, don’t let your digestion suffer. Here’s how to bring comfort and joy to your tummy this winter.

Annually, around 40 per cent of the UK adult population experiences indigestion. Many of us go overboard during the party season and it’s no wonder our guts start to gripe at the thought of this annual onslaught of over-eating and drinking.

‘If your digestion is working well, the chances of you feeling good and looking well are far greater than if you’re struggling with bloating and other digestive problems. Fortunately, many issues are relatively simple to fix,’ says nutritional therapist Alison Cullen (

Follow Alison’s suggestions for preparing your gut health to keep your stomach merry over the festive season…

Your flat tum plan

Chew, chew, chew

The result: Fewer cravings and hunger pangs

Chewing activates the production of digestive enzymes in your stomach, meaning your food is broken down more effectively and satiety signals are triggered. It also makes it more likely that you will absorb nutrients effectively, thus reducing cravings for commonly lacking nutrients such as iron and magnesium – both found in chocolate!

‘Of all the things I do in my clinic, getting people to chew has some of the most dramatic effects on reducing cravings and overeating,’ says Alison. ‘I always try to chew a piece of food for as long as possible, maybe 30 times, but I realise this isn’t always realistic – we lead busy lives. Aim for 20 chews per mouthful!’

Eat and drink separately

The result: No need for antacids

Putting a pint of fluid, even simple water, into your stomach along with food dilutes digestive enzymes, making digestion less efficient. It also swells the volume in your stomach, increasing pressure on the oesophageal sphincter. Leave at least half an hour between a drink and then eating, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much more comfortable your stomach feels.

Skip the raw foods

The result: Less bloating

‘Raw food is harder for some people to break down than others, even though it’s often touted as being super healthy,’ says Alison. ‘Try swapping that salad for warm, cooked food such as thick veggie soup and see if your silhouette flattens out.’

The Chinese believe the catalyst for digestive success is heat and warmth so they advocate warm, cooked foods, as opposed to raw salads etc. You don’t have to give up salad for good, but substitute some of your raw ingredients for cooked if it makes you feel better.

Read more tips in the December issue of Top Santè – on sale now!