Diet & Nutrition

Best diets to debloat, curb cravings and boost mood

Feeling bloated, sluggish or a bit flat? Dietitian Melissa Meier shares the perfect diet for every health goal – helping you to boost your mood and curb those cravings.

In the world of wellness, there’s no shortage of fad diets. And while most of them focus on shedding unwanted kilos, there’s a host of alternative eating plans that tackle other health goals, too.

Want to beat the bloat? Improve your mood? Or boost your energy? There’s a diet for that!

To give you a helping hand wading through the nutrition nonsense, here’s a handful of eating patterns I’d recommend to help you hit your target.

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To reduce bloating:

There’s nothing worse than feeling like you’ve swallowed a balloon – and if you find yourself in this predicament on the reg, I’d suggest you speak to your doctor, stat. If you end up being diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), the low FODMAP diet could help to ease the pain.

Put simply, FODMAPs are types of carbohydrates that are poorly digested – and in people with IBS, they can wreak havoc. The idea with the low FODMAP diet is that you minimise FODMAPs for a set period of time, and if your symptoms improve, you then gradually test each different type of FODMAP (under the guidance of a dietitian) to pinpoint the root of your pain. The endgame is that you know your unique threshold to certain problematic high FODMAP foods, so you can liberalise your diet and stay as symptom-free as possible.

To improve your mood:

It’s easier to eat well when you’re feeling good. On the flip side, you might’ve noticed a tendency to reach for not-so-healthy foods when you’re feeling down. These cycles feed into each other and, overtime, can impact your mental wellbeing.

The Mediterranean diet is my pick to ensure your body and brain are getting all of the nutrients they need to work properly and support mental health. In contrast to the mountains of pizza and pasta you think the Mediterranean diet entails, it’s actually a plant-rich diet packed with vegetables, legumes, wholegrains, nuts and seeds. It also heavily features healthy fats to support not only a healthy heart, but a healthy brain, too, thanks to extra virgin olive oil and seafood.

To stop cravings:

Do you crave sugar every afternoon at three o’clock? Perhaps you can’t resist that biccie with your morning cuppa, or a sneaky ice cream or row of chocolate after dinner. If that sounds like you, your diet could be lacking in the right type of carbs… or carbs altogether.

In contrast to what you’ve probably heard, carbs are a very important part of a healthy diet. They provide your body and brain with the energy it prefers and is wired to use most efficiently. When you’re not eating enough, your blood sugars drop, which signals your brain to search for a quick energy hit. Hello sugar cravings!

A low-GI diet is a good option to combat this craving cycle. Essentially, it involves choosing a sensible portion of low-GI carbs (like wholegrain bread, sweetcorn or yoghurt) at each main meal, so that your blood sugars gently rise and fall over time. This provides sustained energy so you feel full and satisfied, and less likely to crave that sugar rush. #Winning.

Melissa Meier is a Sydney-based accredited practising dietitian. You can connect with her on Instagram.