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Beat the Bloat

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Eat smart and get bikini-ready in no time

The weather is getting warmer and the days are getting longer, all telltale signs that nutritionsummer is on the horizon. Right about now, a lot of us are feeling angst about getting into a bikini with a not-quite-bikini-ready body. Many of us overindulged through the holidays, then set our New Year’s resolutions to shed those extra pounds, only to fall off the wagon at Mardi Gras and Super Bowl parties. Before you google the latest fad diet, there are a few simple ways to provide some quick, easy solutions to look leaner.

Belly bloating can be a weighty culprit adding unwanted inches to our waistlines. Bloating is caused by excess liquids or gas in the abdominal region that can create a swollen look to the stomach. While a healthy daily diet is the best long-term solution to true weight loss, there are some foods we can eliminate as well as add to our diets so that we may appear slimmer.

If you’re headed to the beach for the weekend and need help fast, there’s no better way to look trim than by sporting a flat stomach! So go ahead, get that bikini out and get ready!

Things That Contribute to Belly Bloat

Overeating—Practice portion control because eating too much can cause gastric distention.
Excess carbohydrates—For every serving of starchy carbohydrates, such as breads, cereals, pastas, rice, etc., our bodies draw in additional water. Excess carbs that we do not immediately burn with activity are converted into glycogen to be stored as future fuel sources. Glycogen stores are surrounded by water, making our bellies, and other areas, appear heavier.
Salt—Control your salt intake because like excess starches, salt attracts water into tissues. Avoid salty snacks like chips and crackers, processed packaged foods, processed luncheon meats and cheeses, frozen dinners, canned and instant foods and soups. Try not to exceed 2,400 mg of sodium per day.
Foods that cause gas—A day or two before having to put on that swimsuit, avoid gassy foods such as broccoli, cauliflower, garlic, onions, brussels sprouts, cabbage, legumes, beans, milk and soymilk.
Carbonated beverages—Limit them, especially ones that contain artificial sweeteners, particularly sorbitol.
Chewing gum—Trade chewing gum for mints. When we chew gum, we unintentionally swallow air, which may cause gas.
Foods that make you feel bloated—Food intolerances, such as lactose intolerance, can create a puffy belly. A person may have undiagnosed food intolerances, so it’s best to avoid foods that leave you feeling bloated, even if it may not be one of the typical foods.

Foods and Drinks That May Reduce Belly Bloat

Water—Try adding natural diuretics to water such as lemons and cucumbers.
Fiber—Constipation can cause belly bloat. Eat plenty of whole grains, fruits and non-gas-forming vegetables.
Tea—Tea aids in digestion and will reduce bloating.
Exercise—Nothing beats exercise for giving you a flat tummy!

Irritable bowel syndrome, food allergies and menstruation may also cause belly bloat, but we have limited control over some health issues. Be extra mindful to limit foods that may cause stomach upset. And if you notice prolonged swelling of the abdomen, there could be an underlying health problem, so see your doctor. Healthy lifestyle changes are the key to long-term weight management, so jump-start that plan with these few tips.