By Sam Davis, BHS, CPT, FNS
The occasional pool party or cocktail-attire event leads to the inevitable questions: “Am I pool party-ready? How am I going to flatten my tummy in 3 days?” Well, we can’t help you get fully in shape in those 3 days, but we can help you flatten your midsection in as little as 3 days with these bloat reducing foods and habits.
When you eat these foods consistently, it will help you debloat and stay debloated on the regular. In fact, most of the foods listed below are highly effective at burning fat and helping your body get what it needs in order to function properly.
Pinpointing where your bloat comes from can sometimes be pretty difficult. Your gut is quite complex, which makes it hard to distinguish what’s actually causing your bloat.
Keep in mind: if none of these things below are what you think is causing your bloat, it may be a good idea to go to a doctor. Make sure you don’t have something more serious like celiac disease or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Before you think you have something more serious, make sure your diet is on point with everything your gut needs to work efficiently and not bloat up with gas.
If fiber causes you to bloat, it’s simply because you don’t get enough of it on the daily. The gas occurs because of bacteria in the colon that produces gas after digesting fiber. If you aren’t regularly taking in fiber and enough fluids, that gas will not move through you, and will basically stick in your colon. Natural sources of fiber include vegetables, some fruits, and whole grains like wheat. Regular intake of natural fiber may be uncomfortable briefly, but after a few days, you’ll be getting enough—and your body will process it efficiently and relieve your bloat.
This is one of the most common causes of bloating—and in order to make sure we don’t become constipated, you have to eat enough fiber and get enough fluids. It can also be improved by exercising consistently.
Many people who are lactose intolerant don’t even know it. So make sure to pay attention to how your body reacts after the consumption of dairy. If your stomach starts to feel pretty gurgly, and bloat sets in shortly after consuming dairy, it may be a good idea to check with your doctor.
Symptoms of Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) include diarrhea, constipation, cramping, bloating, and abdominal pain. The best way to figure out what foods trigger these symptoms is by logging your food and then recording how you feel afterward. Most doctors will have you do this anyway, so having this ready before you seek help is incredibly helpful.
Celiac disease causes gluten to inflame the digestive tract to the point of medical complications and malabsorption. The classic symptom is diarrhea. Other symptoms include bloating, gas, fatigue, low blood count (anemia), and osteoporosis. Many people have no symptoms. The mainstay of treatment is a strict gluten-free diet that can help manage symptoms and promote intestinal healing.
Overeating occurs when an individual eats more than he or she is planning to use up. Usually, this individual is overweight because of the constant influx of calories. Compulsive overeaters usually use food as a crutch when they are stressed, depressed, or if they need to be comforted. Most of the time, the individual does need to seek some sort of therapy to help with the root of their problems.
Bloating before and during your period is usually caused by the changes of your female sex hormones, specifically estrogen and progesterone. When progesterone levels start to fall about a week before mother nature arrives, the body’s cells intake much more water, which causes bloat.
Luckily, there are a few things we can do to help slim down and debloat the midsection.
Avoid salty foods to make sure that your body doesn’t hold onto more water than it should. Water follows salt in and out of the cells, so the more salt you consume, the more water enters the cells. Eat potassium-rich foods like bananas, avocados, and spinach. Drink more water. Drinking more water kicks your kidneys into high gear to process the water out of your system, so the more water you drink, the more your kidneys work to drain your body of the extra water. And last but not least, avoid refined carbohydrates. For every gram of carbohydrate you consume, your body holds onto 2.4-2.7g of water. Sticking to good fats, lean proteins, and complex carbs will be the key to reducing bloat during these times.
What you consume is the most important way to reduce bloat. While exercising and taking an Epsom salt bath can help, consuming enough water and getting the right bloat reducing foods in your system is key to debloating in three days or less.