A dietitian's tips to prevent belly bloat this holiday

‘Tis the season of holiday parties, cookie exchanges, champagne and eggnog! Having a cornucopia of food around at all times during the month of December may leave you feeling bloated, which isn’t pleasant. Especially when you have a tight New Year’s Eve dress to fit into. Try my RD-approved tips to ensure a healthy, happy holiday season with a bloat-free middle!

Incorporate Natural Diuretics

Say goodbye to morning puffiness! Dandelion root tea, green or black tea, asparagus, spinach, cucumbers, celery, parsley, pineapple, blueberries, cherries and grapes are all natural diuretics that help rid the body of excess fluid. I recommend incorporating at least three choices from this list everyday to reduce puffiness and make you feel lighter in no time.

Use Peppermint

Peppermint can be used as an antispasmodic to calm the muscles of the stomach and improve the flow of bile; a fluid the body uses to properly digest fats in the small intestine. As a result, food passes through the stomach more quickly, thus improving symptoms of indigestion, flatulence, and bloat. If you are someone with IBS, I recommend taking one or two peppermint enteric capsules about two or three times per day. For less severe intestinal discomfort, drink peppermint tea one-two times per day between meals.  Not a fan of peppermint? Chamomile is another soothing herbal tea.

Stay Hydrated

A lot of people put off drinking water when they feel bloated, as they believe it will add to the problem. However, drinking more water actually reduces symptoms of constipation and bloat. That’s why it is so important to consume organic hydration from fresh fruits and vegetables daily if you want to keep toxins flushing through you. I recommend drinking at least 80 ounces of water per day to my female clients.

Skip The Cruciferous Vegetables

Veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprouts, kale and collard greens have been found to cause bloating. These foods contain sugars that are difficult to digest for certain individuals, causing unwanted gas and bloat. Although cooking these vegetables may make them easier to digest, play it safe and choose non- gas triggering vegetables like spinach, zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes or asparagus.

Avoid Excess Sodium

Bloating doesn’t always have to be gas-related. A high sodium intake can often be the cause so hands off the shaker, ladies! When you eat something salty, any excess sodium is deposited just beneath the skin, where it attracts water, which is retained by your cells. Excess sodium intake not only leaves you feeling puffy and bloated, but it also hampers your ability to lose weight. Your body needs a steady flow of water in and out to effectively metabolize fat. Just be aware of how you can reduce your intake i.e. read labels (steer clear of foods with more than 20% of the DV), ask for no added salt at restaurants, use herbs and spices while cooking and avoid packaged foods three days prior to a big event.  

Choose the Fish Option

Wild salmon, tuna, halibut and cod are loaded with Omega 3 fatty acids, which are known to reduce inflammation in your stomach. Pair your favorite fish with a double side of asparagus (a natural diuretic), a glass of red wine and you have yourself a perfect holiday party meal minus the bloat.

Avoid Carbonation

I hate this rule! I mean, who doesn’t enjoy a refreshing Pellegrino or a bubbly mimosas over Christmas brunch? Regardless of our preferences, this simple recommendation really does work. These delightful beverages contain air, which can get trapped in your body and leave you feeling like a balloon! Now is the best time to return to good old water. Feeling boozy? I suggest choosing vodka water with a splash of pineapple or wine.  

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