Bloating is a bummer in the summer…
The summer is upon us.
It’s time to pack away the winter coats and boots and break out the short-shorts, flip-flops, and teeny bikinis!
Months of lying by a pool with a good magazine and a drink in your hand, just taking in the sun to get your tan on (and your vitamin D of course).
But you don’t just want to look tan, you wanna feel fit and sexy too. Let’s not let bloating get in the way of you feeling super confident in your bathing suit.
What should you eat (or avoid) to prevent that awful bloated feeling and keep yourself looking flat-bellied and sexy?
Not all foods are created equal when it comes to bloating, so we’ll see how they stack up in a minute…
But first, I want to give you some insight into how bloating works.
What causes bloating?
There are a few things that cause bloating:
- Overeating – which happens to be the most common cause of belly bloat, unsurprisingly… Luckily, this is an easy one to fix if you are mindful about how much you are putting in your body. Keeping your portion sizes reasonable and eating smaller meals more often will prevent this cause of bloating. If you keep yourself from becoming hungry like an angry beast, you will most likely not binge and leave yourself feeling bloated (or in a food coma). Food babies and bikinis don’t mix.
- Too much fat – you need fat in your diet, this statement is not meant to suggest to eat a low-fat diet. It’s more about how much fat you have in one single sitting. Certain foods make your stomach empty faster or slower, and fat is one of those foods that makes your stomach slowwwwww down. This means food sits in your stomach longer when it is a more fat-laden meal than those meals made up of protein or carbohydrates. To avoid bloating from fat, keep an eye on the fat content in your meals directly leading up to and during your bathing suit debut!
- Eating really fast – Your stomach sends a signal to your brain when you become full (or when you are hungry), but unfortunately it takes a little time for the message to be delivered, about 20 minutes or so to be more specific. If you want to maintain a flat, un-bloated stomach, make a conscious effort to slow down while you are eating. Also, keep yourself satiated throughout the day instead of starving yourself. When you don’t eat for long periods of time, your glucose levels drop and you may experience hypoglycemia, which basically means you have low blood sugar. This can cause you to experience shakes and ravenous hunger, which in turn put you at risk for eating too much, too fast. You don’t want to go on a food free-for-all the second someone pops open a bag of chips or starts the poolside grilling…
- Dehydration – When you are dehydrated, your body goes into starvation mode, trying to conserve water and energy resources, like fat. When this happens, your water clings to your fat cells and makes you bloated. It’s weird to think that not getting enough water can make you look chubbier, seeing as your body is made up of 60% water…Anyway, making sure that you stay hydrated will help you look your best in and out of the pool.
- Foods that lead to gas – high fiber in your diet is a really good thing, but a lot of the awesome foods packing all that fiber can actually make you bloat like a mofo. If you’re heading to the pool or beach, consider starting your day with a meal that doesn’t pack that gassy punch. Certain veggies like Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, asparagus, and cauliflower are known to cause excess gas. These vegetables contain a complex sugar called raffinose, which is the same flatulence-causing culprit that give beans their “musical” claim to fame. These foods are very healthy though, so don’t eliminate them from your diet completely. Just try not to eat them when you plan to show some skin!
- Intolerances – If you have a dairy intolerance or sensitivity to wheat, consuming foods that you are sensitive to can make you feel bloated, and generally not so perky. And you definitely want to be “perky” when you are running around in your bikini and frolicking with friends 🙂
Foods that help prevent bloating
So, now that you know some of the causes for feeling bloated, we can dive into the foods that will help you battle the bloat and make you look bomb in your bikini:
Watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew are really high in water and potassium. The water in the fruit acts as a natural diuretic, causing you to pee more. Potassium is like the yang to a yin that is sodium in this situation. They balance each other! Keeping the balance of these to nutrients really help to prevent the bloat, so if you hear a juicy watermelon slice calling your name, go ahead and eat up!
Celery and cucumber are awesome when it comes to preventing bloating. They both contain chemicals that have detoxifying properties and work to prevent water retention. In the realm of vegetables, cooked is better than raw because the cooking process has broken up the fibrous parts of the vegetable that can cause bloating.
Eating yogurt with active cultures (healthy bacteria) on a regular basis will help to keep your gastrointestinal tract working smoothly and regular, which is something you want. Just make sure to skip the yogurts really high in sugar because they can make you gassy.
I’m not saying you should start puckering your lips to lemon slices, but a cold water with lemon is an awesome way to rid yourself of the bloat. You need more hydration to help feel less puff, despite how counterintuitive that sounds. Lemon has a natural diuretic property that helps to flush out the salt causing you to bloat. You can drink a large glass of lemon water every morning to restart your system after a long sleep and get yourself off to a good bloat-free start.
Foods that make you bloated: What NOT to eat.
Pizza is most definitely one of America’s favorite foods, but it is one of the worst foods when it comes to bloating. It’s hard to avoid all that fat and salt no matter which pizza you make or order (even if you are choosing a healthier pizza option). And, if you have an issue with dairy intolerance, you can eat yourself into even more of a bloated tummy. In other words, don’t beat the heat with a slice of pizza if you want your sizzlin’ beach bod to look hot in the sun.
I don’t imagine many people decide the perfect pre-beach meal is soup… But, I have a good gazpacho from time to time, so it’s worth mentioning… It should be no shock to hear that soup is a salt bomb on your system. The average serving of canned soup has about 750 – 1100 mg of sodium! Your daily intake according to FDA you should keep it under 2300 mg per day, so adding soup to your day can really add to your sodium count and up your bloat factor substantially. Skip the soup.
High Fiber Fruits
Just because a food is healthy for you doesn’t mean it can’t end up on the bloating “naughty list.” Apples, pears, peaches, oranges, strawberries, mangoes, and raspberries are all very high in fiber, and while this is great normally, they do contribute to a more bloated belly. Just keep the binging at bay right before the beach.
While burritos, chili, or nachos are all delicious and awesome, the beans are great for the fiber … and bad for the gas. I alluded to this earlier, but there’s a reason people say that beans are the musical fruit… And it’s not just beans. Beans, lentils, and peas, while good for you, are not that forgiving when you need to slip your fine derriere into a 2-piece, you know what I’m saying?
I know. You are not trying to give up that marg at the pool, but just so you know, alcohol makes you bloated. We have all felt this when we are hungover… enough said.
Currently battling the bloat?
Feeling bloated or worried about getting a case of “feeling the pudge?”
Consider keeping some lemon or cucumber infused water on hand, or maybe have some yogurt with your morning coffee. These are just some easy additions that you can include in your diet routine to keep you feeling your best.
And, don’t think you can’t have the foods known to bloat you. It’s just important to keep balance and consistency (when you can manage to make good decisions), especially if you want to look (and feel) your best.
I’m SO ready for this summer. Are you?