While most of us are celebrating warming temperatures and budding flowers, as the days warm up, there are those filled with dread because bikini season is right around the corner. If putting on that bikini before hitting the beach for the summer is more traumatic than joyous, you’re probably already frantically increasing your cardio workouts and doing your crunches. But here are a few tips for dealing with the dreaded belly bloat that doesn’t respond to extra exercise.
Put Down That Salt Shaker
This is one of the most basic and most important approaches to reducing belly bloat. Sure, salt tastes good, but it makes you retain fluid and creates that puffy appearance all over your body, not just in your belly. High salt intake can also contribute to other health conditions such as high blood pressure, so it’s best to just go ahead and get in the habit of reducing your salt intake all year round. Try some of those sodium-free seasoning mixes that are meant to add flavor without using salt, and make sure to read the labels on your food as many processed foods and drinks have hidden sodium. Yes, that includes soda, which also contributes to bloating with all that carbonation. WebMD recommends avoiding any food that has more than 500 mg of sodium.
Pump Up The Potassium
Just as sodium helps you retain fluid, potassium helps the body release it and can help counteract too high of a sodium intake. Now, that’s not an excuse to go out and load up your food with salt, but adding certain foods into your diet that are rich in potassium can be beneficial in reducing belly bloat. Bananas are one of the first foods most people think of that are rich in potassium, but you could also try avocado, spinach, parsley, and apricots, according to Slism. For really healthy pairing, combine bananas with yogurt, which contains another key element to fighting bloating.
Probiotics For A Healthy Belly
One of the best remedies for belly bloat at any time of year is making sure you get a healthy dose of probiotics. You can either take probiotics as a supplement, or add fermented foods to your diet such as kefir milk or the much more popular yogurt. Note, you want to choose yogurt the has active cultures to get any probiotic effects, but this is a great and tasty way to fight belly bloat with some healthy bacteria to help with digestion and shrink that puffy belly.
Increase Your Fiber, But Slowly
Increasing fiber in your diet is one of the biggest recommendations for any kind of healthier lifestyle, and also plays an important role in reducing belly bloat. But, having said that, if you’ve been eating a very low fiber diet, make sure you increase fiber gradually. If you suddenly go from living on potatoes and pasta to living on raw fruits and vegetables, you can have some very uncomfortable side effects, to put it mildly. And you’re going to have a huge amount of belly bloat while your body adjusts to a new diet if you try to increase your fiber intake too quickly.
Speaking of which, any changes you make to your eating habits should be things you can live with on a permanent basis, not temporary fixes, so making such a drastic change overnight is not a good idea anyway.
Fitness Magazine recommends trying to get the bulk of your fiber from natural foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains, rather than packaged products. Those high-fiber granola bars and cereals sometimes contain a form of fiber called inulin, made from chicory root. Researchers at the University of Minnesota in Saint Paul found that inulin as a source of fiber tends to create a lot more bloating than natural fiber sources.
When added to a regular exercise program, these tips can help get your belly ready for bikini season in no time, and can give you a healthy nutritional boost all year round.
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