is the season to be jolly! The Holiday season wouldn’t be the same without all of the delicious food and snacks that follow, but it all has to go somewhere! Holiday belly bloat is inevitable (unless you have the self-restraint of an angel) and when it strikes it can make us look slightly pregnant (cue awkward questions). Even if you haven’t actually gained physical weight and the number on the scales remain the same, the belly bloat will tell a different story. So how do we beat the bloat in time for the weekend?
Tip 1 – Ease up on the Sodium
Sodium is a necessary part of our diet and is essential for body functioning but much like anything too much of it is not a good thing and is one of the main things that will cause your belly to swell up like a water-logged sponge! The average American consumes 1,200 milligrams over the recommended 2,3000 milligrams (or less) a day! Sodium is found in high quantities in all of those processed foods and even cereals. If you want reduce water retention and effectively beat the bloat you need to slash your sodium intake.
Try this trick to de-bloat fast:
Munch on diuretic veggies like cucumber, asparagus and zucchini to help flush that salt out of your system. You could also increase your Potassium intake and have a similar effect – bananas are your friend!
Tip 2- Avoid Swallowing Extra Air
Don’t worry we’re not asking you to Facetite breathing, breathing directs air flow to the lungs, swallowing air however, will direct the air to your intestines pumping them up like a balloon. But how are we swallowing air exactly? Gum and straws seem to be culprits. To prevent the bloat, give up the gum and drink directly from the cup. Another way is through gulping down your meal like it was your last. “When you eat in a hurry, you swallow a lot of gas-producing air” according to Dr. Roshini Raj, MD and board certified gastroenterologist.
Tip 3- Step Away from the Soda
If air causes our intestines to bloat then similarly carbonated drinks will do just the same. Swap your bubbly drinks for flat water – not only will you prevent bloating from the gaseous drinks but water itself is one of the best ways to get rid of bloating fast. Repeat after us: Water, water, water!
Your soda diet isn’t only bad due to the gaseous bubbles but also because of the high levels of artificial sweeteners. These mess with your digestive system as they cannot be absorbed by the intestines. Dr. Roshini Raj explains that they end up travelling to the colon where bacteria ferments them leading to more gas and subsequent bloating. As if the gas within the soda wasn’t bad enough on its own, the sweeteners eventually end up as gas as well!! If this double whammy isn’t enough to kick your soda habit we aren’t sure what is.
Tip 4- Avoid Carbs and Dairy
We aren’t telling you to avoid carbs and dairy forever – that would be cruel, but if you have an event on the weekend or a certain day of the week and want to feel and look your best, then we advise avoiding carbs and dairy the day before. It doesn’t matter how low-cal the dairy is, the multi-grains will expand in your intestines causing extra bloat, the carbs are also difficult to digest – not a good look in that LBD!
If you simply cannot survive a day or so without carbs, choose natural carbs (sweet potatoes for example) over processed carbs. Processed carbs contain more sodium (see tip 1 above).
Tip 5- Stay Away from These Veggies
This is an odd one. Mom has always told us to eat our veggies, but certain veggies – cruciferous ones particularly, should be avoided the day before a big event if you want to deflate that belly. Vegetables such as cauliflower, sprouts, cabbage, kale and broccoli can balloon the stomach. A sugar called raffinose is to blame, making it hard for the body to digest. Gas is then produced as a by-product (in a similar way to the sugar in soda) making you bloat. Probably not what you had in mind when you ate those veggies for lunch!