Bloating is the swelling in the diameter of the tummy area, and it is often accompanied by abdominal pain.
While it could be a sign of serious conditions like ovarian cancer or a gluten intolerance, it is more often caused by a big, indulgent meal – like those likely to be experienced at Christmas.
However, boosting your levels of probiotics – ‘good’ bacteria – in your diet can help.
They can be found in certain foods, such as kefir, some yoghurts, kimchi, sourdough bread and sauerkraut, as well as supplements.
“Probiotics are very important for the health of the digestive tract, and they can help stop issues like bloating,” said Udo Erasmus, an expert in nutrition and founder of Udo’s Choice (udoerasmus.com), to Express.co.uk.
“While fermented foods are great, taking probiotics as a capsule means you don’t have to wait six weeks for a cabbage to turn into sauerkraut.”
However, he warned there is more you should know about supplements than simply popping them with breakfast if you want to enjoy their full potential.
“Probiotics are very sensitive, and if you carry them around in your bag with you lose about one to two per cent of their potency a day,” he explained.
“One of the reasons for this is that the two key types – Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidum – should always be stored in the fridge. Similarly, never leave them on the shelf, otherwise they will die and won’t be effective.
“If you refrigerate them you lose only about 40 per cent potency in a year, if you don’t you lose 100 per cent potency in just a 100 days.”
He added that they should always be kept dry and recommended opening a capsule and brushing your teeth with the contents after each meal to get the most benefit, noting that it’s not possible to overdose on them.
Research has shown that probiotics don’t just help your digestion, and have a multitude of other health benefits too.
These include improved brain function, liver health, immunity, and decreased stress, depression and anxiety.
They can also play a powerful role in getting your body free from bugs if you’ve been prescribed antibiotics – particularly during the festive season.
“Antibiotics can be life-saving, but we’re over-using them,” said Erasmus.
“Bacteria are very smart, and while they may initially be killed, antibiotic-resistant strains develop.
“People should be taking probiotics the entire time they are taking antibiotics – from before the course of antibiotics, for their duration and after.
“In fact, all the time is most beneficial. That is the only way you can prevent a window for re-infection.
“They can also restore your ‘friendly’ bacteria which antibiotics kill off along with ‘bad bacteria’.”