Beat the Belly Bloat

- Nothing's worse than trying on your swimsuit before a vacation and realizing there's a little belly bloat happening.  There are a few things you can do to make that bloat go away; Suzi McKee, owner of Live Well Fit has some advice.

The occasional puff up can be reduced through some wise food choices and lifestyle changes. To ward off the inflation, try these bloat-blocking foods to feel like yourself again.

Water: Start the day with WATER first thing. Keep a bottle by your bed and get your digestive system moving BEFORE it becomes a problem

Eat Breakfast:  Increase your metabolism and kick start with added fiber rich ingredients like oatmeal, with flax seeds and sliced bananas.

Rice (fully digested carbohydrates): Some foods, especially certain carbohydrates, are either indigestible or only partially digested in the gut. These foods can cause gas buildup and therefore bloating. According to American College of Gastroenterology, rice and rice flour make a good substitute for starches such as wheat, oats, corn and potatoes. Rice is fully digested in the small intestines, giving it the least potential to form gases in the gut.

Banana (potassium): Bloating is not always gas-related. High sodium intake could be the culprit. Hiding in most of today's processed foods and restaurant items, sodium attracts and retains water in the body. Potassium on the other hand, can help counter sodium's role. Maintaining your overall potassium-sodium level is important for water balance. If your bloat is a result of yesterdays salty dinner, try adding sliced banana to your morning oatmeal for some balance.

Yogurt (probiotics): The basics of beating the bloat with yogurt is to first make sure you're choosing a yogurt that has active cultures. Regularly consuming yogurt with active cultures increases lactobacillus and bifidobacterium - the "good" bacteria - in the digestive tract, which facilitate efficient digestion and prevention of belly bloat. The best source is plain, non-fat or low-fat yogurt. If you need a bit of sweetness, mix in fresh fruit at home rather than grabbing flavored yogurts. If you cant have dairy, try kambucha, a bubbly drink with active cultures

Herbal tea (antispasmodic): Peppermint activates an "anti-pain" channel in the gut that soothes inflammation. For quick relief, sip a peppermint tea to help relax the digestive tract and return to normal peristalsis, aka muscle contractions.

Cucumber (natural diuretic): If you're already bloated, cucumbers can make a great tummy-flattening snack. The high water and low fiber content of these tasty vegetables can cause increased urination, which in turn, makes you feel slimmer.

                           Reduce:                                                              Choose This Instead

Processed Carbohydrates (potato chips, pretzels)                              Protein (Edamame)

Uncooked Raw veggies -Brussels sprouts, cabbage)                          ½ cup Cooked Veggies
                                                                                Have the same nutrition & take up less room in your GI tract (less gassy symptoms)

Sugars /alcohols                                                               Monosaturated fats- salmon, avocados

Stress increases cortisol (belly fat)                                      Walks, Yoga, strength training, Quiet Time

These exercises can help:
- Cat/Cow
- Knees to Chest
- Rotational Twists

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