This article is also available on Nutrition in Motion's blog NIM Dish
Beat the Bloat in Time for the Bikini
Sarah Reid, RHNC
Warmer weather is coming which means time for gardens, golfing, farmers’ markets and... breaking out the bikini. Even after months of eating well and exercising regularly, crunching abs at the gym or running 5 miles a day, most of us still have a little “pooch” around our bellies. It’s a little disconcerting to see in the change room, but the good news is that it’s usually not fat causing your woes. In fact, the culprit is far easier and quicker to eliminate – intestinal bloating.
While you know the stalks will perfume your urine, asparagus is also one of the most potent agents in the battle of the bloat. The vegetable is a prebiotic for the growth and activity of good bacteria in gut – which not only keeps the bowels moving and enhances the immune system, but also cuts down on the accumulation of gas – another common bloater. This powerful food is also a natural diuretic that flushes out the extra water and sodium out of your body. For the best results from this veggie, lightly steam or roast them until just tender – don’t overcook them and never boil, as the vitamins, minerals and any other beneficial nutrients quickly leach away.
Papaya is an extremely powerful digestive agent, filled with an enzyme that helps breaks down proteins, as well as vitamins C, A and K and fibre. The fibre is a huge fighter of constipation while the vitamins tone and protect the colon, bladder and kidneys. Fresh, unsweetened juices or purees are thebest way to concentrate the vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and enzymes, while eating the flesh or un-strained juices gives you a great deal of fibre.
Yogurt is another boon to preventing the bloat. Healthy bacteria help regulate your bowels and help reduce excess gas. The dairy is also a very concentrated source of calcium, which helps to release the extra fluid in and around your cells and eliminates swelling, especially in the legs at night or when you find yourself sitting for a long time. Two to three servings of a low-fat (not fat free), plain yogurt (add some papaya for a double whammy!) helps keep belly bloating at bay more than a simple glass of milk does, as regular milk does not have the same concentration of calcium and no probiotics at all.