As a former competitive eater, I’m no stranger to eating more than I should. But trying to stay away from the food you crave around the holidays can be really difficult. So what do you do? We asked Elizabeth Somer, our expert nutritionist and dietitian, how to avoid feeling bloated and, more importantly, how to stay satisfied without being stuffed.
Who hasn’t had one of those days when you can’t get your “fat” jeans to zip up? Your eyes are puffy, your canvas shoes are too tight, your stomach resembles a water balloon, and you feel like you’ve gained 10 pounds since lunch. One in every 10 people report being frequently bothered by bloating. The good news is, all of this is avoidable!
There are two basic causes of bloating. First, if you are puffy all over, that’s water retention. The one-two punch to beat it is to cut back on sodium and consume more water. (That’s right, consume more water!)
Give up the salty junk, like processed and fast foods, and consume more liquids to dilute the sodium in your body so your kidneys can flush out excess fluid. Watermelon is Mother Nature’s natural diuretic. It’s 92% water, low in sodium, and rich in another mineral – potassium – which makes it the perfect combo for flushing out sodium and being bloat-free. Compliment that watermelon snack with enough water throughout the day so your urine is pale yellow.
Second, if it’s only your tummy that’s pooching, that’s probably gas. Typically, too much gas-forming foods, such as legumes, sugary or highly refined grains, and even dairy products and wheat for some people, can cause gas when bacteria that live in your colon dine on leftovers your small intestine didn’t digest. The result is bloating and discomfort. Cut back or cut out these foods, eat frequent small meals, and avoid chewing gum, drinking carbonated beverages, and wolfing down a meal where you swallow air that ends up as gas later on.
As always, if your discomfort or bloating is chronic or painful, you should consult your physician to rule out a serious medical digestive disorder. But if it’s just water retention or gas, following these tips should help you beat the bloat in 2016!
UP NEXT: HAPPY NEW YEAR!