Temporary abdominal bloat can be a total bummer when you want to slide into a form fitting dress, tight jeans, or a belly baring bathing suit. Fortunately, this discomfort and embarrassment can be avoided with just a few simple steps.
1. Increase your fiber intake.
Consuming too little fiber can result in constipation and bloating, but on average Americans consume only 15 grams of fiber daily. We should aim to eat a diet higher in fiber, which means about 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men per day. Fiber-rich foods include whole-grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, and legumes.
Dried fruits require no cutting, washing, or refrigeration, making them perfect for keeping your summer cool and effortless. Choose fruits with no added sugar whenever possible.
Trail mix made of raisins, pistachios, and whole grain cinnamon toasty-Os cereal or cinnamon raisin bagel chips is another one of my favorite snacks. The raisins provide a natural source of fiber, potassium, and antioxidants.
And lucky us. My friends at California Raisins are giving one of my lucky readers a gym bag filled with raisin packets, a plush character, water bottle, food journal, gift card, and cookbook*. To enter, simply comment on this post either here or on my Facebook page about your favorite way to enjoy California Raisins.
2. Even super foods can mean super gassy.
While broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and legumes are very nutritious, they contain an indigestible sugar that feeds gas-producing bacteria in the colon. Eliminating these foods one to two days before a special event when you want to have the flattest belly possible can be a wise choice.
Smart swaps: carrots, celery, spinach, and mushrooms
3. Be cautious with carbonated drinks.
The extra air in bubbly beverages can cause gas to get trapped in the abdominal region which may lead to a distended belly. High elevations in the mountains and on airplanes causes this air to expand, leading to even more bloat.
Smart swaps: plain water flavored with lemons and limes or crushed raspberries, flavored brewed tea with a touch of honey
4. Limit salt.
Researchers estimate that about 26% of Americans with normal blood pressure and about 58% of those with hypertension are salt sensitive. Those who are sensitive to sodium may experience swelling from the extra salt. To minimize these effects, limit highly processed foods, such as fast food fare, which tend to contain more sodium. When eating processed foods, read the label and opt for those with less sodium.
Smart swaps: fresh, whole, minimally processed foods
5. Include some healthy bacteria.
Probiotics, known as the “good bacteria,” are similar to the bacteria naturally found in the human gut and are believed to reduce belly bloat. You can find this friendly flora in yogurt, buttermilk, kefir drinks, and dietary supplements. Consuming probiotics during and after antibiotic use is especially important. Antibiotics can wipe out the good bacteria along with the bad, making it essential to rebuild healthy microflora to keep things moving in the digestive tract and keep bloating at bay.
As you can see, a flatter stomach can be achieved with just a couple of days planning and forethought watching what you eat (and what you don’t eat). When adding these new foods to your diet, do so gradually to help your body adjust to the changes more easily. Without the discomfort of bloating, you’ll be free to focus on important things, like packing for your next beach trip or friend’s wedding. Happy summer everybody!
*Exact contents of gift basket subject to change based on availability. All entries must be received by Friday, July 29, 2011.
Disclosure: California Raisins is a client of mine. They are providing the gift basket but did not compensate me to include them in this post.
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