Fight belly bloat with these flat-belly foods
This article was originally published May 17th, 2017.
Few things induce more anxiety for me than the fear of belly bloat. It's uncomfortable from the inside-out (not to mention outfit saboteur!) and can spoil a day. Not just weddings and beach days, but even business meetings, gym sessions or drinks with the girls can be ruined by the buzzkill that is belly distention. But, there are things we can do to reduce the distention and subsequent anxiety brought on by belly bloat. Here are the best foods to help beat the bloat – just in time for summer.
While some popular "health hacks" are more buzz than actual benefit – drinking lemon water in the morning is not one of them. Adding lemon to your morning glass of H20 is a proven way to help prevent tummy troubles. It helps stimulate production of hydrochloric acid (or HCL) – a naturally occurring digestive enzyme that helps the stomach break down food more efficiently. So wake, sip, and steer clear of stomach issues. If sour isn't your thing HCL also comes in supplement form, that you can pick up from most health foods stores. Of course, consult a health practitioner before you begin any new supplement regimen.
Similar to lemon, apple cider vinegar (ACV) helps balance acidity levels in our tummy (sounds counter intuitive, I know) – encouraging the production of enzymes that help break down food and allow us to digest and absorb nutrients more efficiently. It's also a game changer where heartburn is concerned. In fact, you can actually swap in ACV for your regular over-the-counter antacid. Add a teaspoon to a few ounces of water and swill it back – if you can't stand the taste, add a half-teaspoon of honey to sweeten the deal.
Ginger has widely been considered a digestive VIP for generations. Not only does it contain important enzymes that aid the digestive process, but its powerful anti-inflammatory properties also help to calm the stomach, allowing for easier and more comfortable digestion. If you know you're going to be eating food that doesn't always agree, sip on some steeped ginger root before the meal to maximize its happy belly benefits.
Go go, YOGO
Buyers beware: not all yogurt is created equal. If you're looking for yogurt that can help with digestion make sure that you're choosing plain flavoured options (and not sweetened), that contain active cultures (also known as probiotics). It's those cultures that help to increase the "good bacteria" in the gut, lactobacillus and bifidobacterium, which prevents bloating and discomfort after eating. Lactose intolerant? No problem, skip the dairy aisle, opting instead for a probiotic supplement that you can take before meals.
Anise is nice
Another ancient remedy for digestive ailments is the fennel seed – used in India for thousands of years to combat bloating. Like ginger, the seeds have anti-inflammatory properties that help to calm the intestines and allow the gut to process and absorb food and nutrients. They also contain anti-spasmodic elements that help to relax the muscles and allow for gas to pass more easily. You can literally chew on a small handful of seeds or let it steep in hot water and sip the distention away.
Bye bye bloat; hello two-piece bather!