Banish the Bloat

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With summer here, hemlines getting shorter and more than one occasion for a belly-baring swimsuit, no one has time for a bloated belly after a meal. Have you ever considered that having to loosen your belt after a meal could be a sign of bloating, not that you over-ate? Now’s a great time to think about the foods you are eating and how they may contribute—or help fight—belly bloat. Here are 5 quick tips to help digestion, reduce bloating, and make this your most comfortable summer yet!

Foods to Avoid:

Sugar Alcohols
Sugar alcohols are lower calorie forms of simple table sugar. Because they are digested in a different way than sugar, many people find that they cause bloating. Sugar alcohols are most often found in chewing gum, soda and as filler in many processed foods. Look for the “-ol” at the end of the word to recognize a sugar alcohol. Examples: Sorbitol, and xylitol.

Chewing Gum and Carbonated Water
While bubbles are fun when you’re chewing gum or sipping on seltzer water, they’re not so fun when you have to squeeze into that swimsuit afterwards. Ditch the bubbles to reduce bloat.

Foods You’re Allergic or Sensitive To
While this may seem like a no-brainer, food allergies, sensitivities and intolerances can cause bloating, gas and stomach discomfort. If you think you have a food allergy, sensitivity, or intolerance, treatment is simple. Talk with your health professional about allergy testing and how you can avoid allergy and sensitivity-aggravating foods.

Foods for Thought:

When it’s down the wire—such as several days before a big event—you may consider avoiding certain foods that are otherwise healthy for you. Beans and cruciferous vegetables can cause more gas than other foods, so stick to other vegetables and plant-based sources of protein when you need to cut bloating down even further.

Foods to Add:

Probiotics
Probiotics help to nourish the healthy bacteria in your intestines and keep things running smoothly. You can find probiotics in fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, and cultured dairy-free yogurt. You can also take probiotics in a supplement form. Vega One contains a maintenance dose of probiotics.

Kombu Seaweed
If protein-rich beans leave you feeling gassy, consider cooking them with kombu seaweed. Traditionally, kombu is used to break down the starch bonds in beans, make them easier to digest. Certain brands sell organic beans that have been pre-cooked in kombu.

Here’s to a bloat-free summer!

July 11, 2013