Whether I’m out on the beach or hermitting at home watching Netflix’s in bed, bloating sucks. Not only does my belly look like an over-inflated balloon, I feel darn uncomfortable. Now that our sultry summer days are upon us, the beach is definitely more of an appealing go-to spot. And beach missions mean strutting the coast in my new bikini and feeling fabulous. But, I’m sure you’ll agree, it’s a bit of a gamble. Just my luck, I’ll wind up looking like I’m full-on preggers and about to pop. So is there a way to debloat for the bikini season? I had a look into what works to deflate for the bikini weather.
Let’s first get to the basics
What is bloating exactly? Gas and water are big, fat contributors to bloating. Bloating is basically a build up of gas in the tummy, brought on by trapped air or indigestion. The latter occurs when there is a hell of a lot of bacteria doing its thing (fermenting food) in the small intestine, producing excess gas in the process, which gets locked into the belly.
And then there’s water retention. This is when your body swells and you get those (lovely) cankles and can’t take off your rings because of your puffy fingers. Water retention is brought about by a diet high in salt. So say no to processed foods folks, because the salt will hog all the water in your body, making you look like a pool lilo.
What else should we avoid?
- Say no to carbonated drinks. Fizzy drinks send bubbles straight to the stomach, giving the stomach a hard time processing foods, especially diary.
- Stop popping gum. Now I’m a big gum chewer when I’m stressed, but I’ m gonna have to kill this habit as the sugar alcohol (artificial sweetener) in gum tends to blow the tummy into a bubble.
- Well, the digestive system loves fibre — for the most part. Too much of a good thing never turns out to be a great idea, right? An overdose of of fibre can lead to serious bloating. This is because it takes a hell of a lot of work to digest all the roughage in fibre, which generates a byproduct of billowing gas, causing the tummy to puff out.
- Choose your fruit and veggies wisely. Although jam packed with all sorts of nutritional goodness, certain fruits with a high sugar content can cause bloating. So go easy on fruits such as cherries, peaches, grapes and mangoes. Your best bet is fruits with less sugar and a higher water content, such as blueberries, strawberries, spanspek (cantaloupe) and oranges.
- Cut down on the carbs. Yes, carbohydrates are all the yummy food options and are oh so necessary for that extra boost of energy. However, when the body converts carbohydrates into energy (glycogen) to keep your muscles and liver pumping, the carbohydrate molecules bind with water. So this basically means that the more carbs consumed, the more the body retains water and the more your body feels like a blowfish. Now, this doesn’t mean we have to give up pizza, pasta and breads completely. It’s just a question of once in awhile substituting it as the base of your meal with greens and lean meats rather.
- It’s in the way we eat. I think we can all agree that eating is a social thing and going out for a meal with the gang is always fun. The only thing is, when we are babbling away while we are biting into our meal, we also tend to gulp up a ton of air which gets trapped in our digestive system. Biology 101, digestion begins in the mouth. So we gotta take it slow and be mindful of our chewing.
Putting a puncture in the tyre:
It all comes down the consuming the right stuff. Here are some food and drink options to deflate the bloat:
- Down water. Drinking approximately 1.5 litres of water per day allows your body to flush the system. Try to drink consistently throughout the day.
- Drink hot water and lemon in the morning to kick-start your digestive system.
- Snack on celery and fennel. These veggies have a high water content and helps get rid of excess fluid.
- Add asparagus to your dishes. Asparagus contains a component that acts as a probiotic, which will certainly get your digestion going.
- A touch of ginger zing to your culinary creation goes a long way. Ginger not only adds great flavour to your meals, it has anti inflammatory and antispasmodic properties, keeping your tummy happy and healthy.
- Yoghurt it up. While dairy products are known to bring on the bloat, a daily dose of good bacteria aids your digestion.
- Go for papaya and pineapple for some tropical flavours. The enzyme papain in papaya and bromelain in pineapple give power punches when it comes to snapping your digestive system back into action.
- How about an evening tea ritual? Be it peppermint, chamomile or ginger, tea helps food pass through the stomach and relieves gas.
- Yoga is a great way to flex your body into action so that it can do its thing.
Do you have any tips to debloat for the summer holiday? Feel free to share in the comment section below.