Your Guide to Beating Belly Bloat

As the weather heats up, the clothes come off! With all the beach trips, pool parties, and crop tops on the horizon, it’s helpful to know which foods won’t contribute to stomach bloating.

We’ve all been there before. You head to a barbecue or pizza place with friends and come home feeling like your “food baby” is about to snap your buttons. You may not have even eaten that much but for some reason your waistline looks like it grew 3 sizes overnight. What is it exactly that’s causing that extra stretch of your abdomen? The production of extra air in the intestines is usually the culprit, but water retention can also cause your stomach to feel puffy and look wider.

Here is a list that can help you avoid some of the biggest food-bloat triggers and what to eat instead!

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RED LIGHT FOODS

These are the foods that are particularly noxious when it comes to belly bloat. Avoid these foods for a happier, slimmer, digestive system.

 

1. Carbonated beverages and chewing gum

the easiest way to avoid filling your stomach with air is to avoid swallowing it! The bubbles in carbonated drinks build up in your belly to make you feel distended and uncomfortable. Chewing gum also leads to air being swallowed so

 

2. “Sugar-free” products

Fake sugars such as xylitol, sorbitol and mannitol to name a few wreak havoc on your digestive system. They are commonly found in diet soda, candy, and gum. They aren’t digested by enzymes in your digestive tract and reach the lower intestine unchanged where gut-bacteria feed on them and create excess gas.

 

3. Alcohol, especially beer

They don’t call it a beer belly for nothing. Carbonated alcoholic drinks are not only full of air, but contain another offender, fermentable carbohydrates.  Since beer is carbohydrates made from grains such as wheat, barley, or rice, they feed bacteria in your gut causing excessive air to be produced in the intestines.

 

4. Processed meats, snacks, and frozen dinners

What do all of these foods have in common? Salt. The salt content of chips, crackers, sausage, bacon, pretzels, and ready-made meals like mac ‘n’ cheese are astronomical. Excess salt causes your body to retain water to help dilute sodium residing in your tissues. Apart from the “plump” the extra water causes, processed foods provide many calories with little nutrition.

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YELLOW LIGHT FOODS

These are items that cause bloat in some individuals but are still healthy to consume in moderation. This foods are helpful to avoid in large quantities if you’re going to spend a day in tight jeans or a bathing suit.

 

1. Cruciferous vegetables

We’re talking about broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower to name a few. These veggies can cause a buildup of gas, but are better tolerated when cooked. They are rich in many vitamins, minerals, and healthy fibers so they should not be removed completely from the diet. If you’re going out for a night on the town and don’t want to experience bloating, choose zucchini, cucumbers, spinach or another vegetable instead.

 

2. Dairy

Even people who don’t realize they are lactose intolerant benefit from cutting back on dairy. Lactose, the sugar found in milk products, can be hard for many people to digest and cause cramping, bloating, and digestive upset. Try dairy-free alternatives that still contain vitamin D and calcium, or cut back to a few servings a day.

 

3. Legumes

These healthy foods such as beans, lentils and peas, are notorious for the production of extra gas. Soaking or sprouting beans and lentils before consuming them makes them much easier on the digestive system. It has also been found that the more you consume these foods, the better they are tolerated. Many people consume legumes daily without any digestive woes.

 

4. High FODMAP foods

These are foods that are high in fermentable sugars such as barley, apples, onions, garlic, apricots, and pears. People who have delicate digestive systems (and sometimes people who are undergoing a lot of stress in their lives) tend to have adverse effects when they eat large amounts of these foods. If FODMAP foods are causing digestive issues in your, working with a dietitian can help you meet your nutrient needs while avoiding many foods.

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GREEN LIGHT FOODS

These are the foods you can consume in high amounts without any fear of feeling bloated afterwards.

1. Watermelon

Fruits that have a high water content like watermelon or honeydew help flush out extra salt in the tissues and are easy to digest. Additionally, watermelon is high in potassium which will further reduce water retention. Hydrating vegetables such as cucumbers and zucchini also have this effect.

 

2. Kiwis

The fibrous seeds of this fruit helps to keep things going in the digestive tract. There are studies showing that phytonutrients in kiwis can stimulate a sluggish digestive tract to improve gut health and reduce the amount of lingering food particles that promote gas and bloating.

 

3. Papaya and pineapple

These fruits are not only hydrating, but also contain plant enzymes such as bromelain and papain that ease digestion. They help your body break down food particles so that you get maximum absorption of nutrients without indigestion.

 

4. Potassium-rich foods

Potassium helps counteract the effects of the “salt-bloat” so you aren’t retaining as much water. Some potassium stars include avocado, spinach (and other leafy greens), squash, tomatoes and potatoes.

 

Bottom line

Don’t let the discomfort and puffy appearance of bloating keep you from enjoying the fun activities of summer! Make the most of bikini season with these 12 helpful food hacks. Aside from consuming these foods by themselves, here are some ideas of how to make them into something delicious!

 

KEEP READING:

    Hayley is a Registered Dietician Nutritionist, a part-time yoga teacher, and full-time mother. She is passionate about health, nature, and empowering others to reach their full health potential. She works as a health coach, nutrition writer, recipe developer and group fitness instructor. She is energetic and passionate about delicious food and promoting health of the body, mind, and spirit. She hopes to inspire others to eat closely to the way that nature intended, capitalizing on the amazing benefits of whole, unprocessed foods. Follow her posts for nutrition advice and delicious recipes!

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