woman with a flat tummy and not a bloated tummy.
A flatter tummy can be yours with a few simple tweaks to your lifestyle and diet. (Photo: 123RF)

Women in China are showing off paper-thin waists on social media in what’s called the “A4 Waist Challenge”. They are posting photos of themselves hiding their waists behind A4 sheets of paper held vertically, using the hashtag #A4Waist. An A4 sheet of paper is 21 cm by 29.7 cm.

Now, it is unhealthy to strive to be thin enough to fit behind a sheet of A4 size paper, but the truth is, we all do struggle with a bloated tummy now and then, and our diet is one main contributing factor. Try these simple ways to beat the bloat and flatten your tummy the healthy way.

Related: Easy Tips To A Flatter Tummy

Stay Clear of Yeast
This microscopic fungus makes bread rise so it’s easy to see why it’s bad for your belly. “Bacteria and yeast in the gut ferment into sugar into gas,” says Mim Beim, author of Natural Remedies. Avoiding yeast means no blue cheese, soy sauce, mushrooms or foods with MSG like stock cubes. Watch your drinks too – beer, wine and cider all contain yeast. Try vodka or gin, which contain less.

Make A Cuppa After Meals
Make a flat-tummy tea at home using fennel seeds – crush 2 tablespoons with a mortar and pestle, transfer to a teapot, add boiling water, steep for five minutes, drain and drink. Sip your tea slowly after meals to help prevent bloating.

Massage Your Tummy
When your jeans are tight and your tummy tender, it’s time for a bloat-busting DIY abdominal massage. Lie down and use some oil to relieve the pressure. Starting at your right hip, rub lightly in an anti-clockwise direction from your ribcage to your left hip, then up to the belly button. Repeat for three minutes, alternating between small circles and sweeping movements. According to US scientists, this can help relieve symptoms of tightness, pressure, cramping and bloating.

Try an Easy Yoga Move
When you need a quick relief, try the yoga move called apanasana (knees to chest). Lie flat on your back and bring your knees up to your chest as you slowly breathe in. Wrap your arms around your knees as you breathe out then continue breathing slowly as you rock gently from side to side. Stay like this for 10 breaths, then release your knees. As well as relieving bloating, this pose can help ease constipation too.

Eat Your Greens – Cooked
While crisp vegetables help you feel full, all that fibre can cause your stomach to swell. Brussels sprouts, broccoli, onions and cabbage are among the worst offenders for gas. Instead, cook your veggies. It makes them easier for your body to process, especially if you add a squeeze of lemon juice – it’s similar to your natural stomach acids – before eating.

Stop Gas In Its Tracks
Not all gas is caused by what you eat – sometimes it’s a result of how you eat. If you’re prone to having a swollen belly after lunch, try eating slowly. Rest your cutlery between bites and chew each mouthful at least 10 times. This helps kick-start your digestion by breaking your food down and letting it mix more with your saliva – gross but essential. Also keep your mouth closed while chewing and save the chit-chat for after you’ve eaten all that so you don’t accidentally swallow lots of air – it’s not called gasbagging for nothing! While you’re at it, never drink through a straw or chew at the gym – studies show they’re two of the worst culprits for bloating.

Related: How To (Almost) Get An #A4Waist

Text: Women’s Day, Bauer Syndication / Additional Reporting: Zarelda Marie Goh