After months of preparing, it’s official – the biggest fete of the world begins tomorrow! While it’s too late in the game to lose any more body fat, there are some tricks that you can use to appear leaner on the road. Reducing bloat is a big one.
Bloating is basically the condition where your body feels swollen, especially after eating. You know the feeling: you’ve enjoyed a lovely meal, you’re ready to move on with your day, and then it happens. Your pants feel tight, your tummy area is twice its usual size, you feel ‘gassy’ and even may experience cramps, belching or the dreaded flatulence.
Some underlying health conditions can cause bloating, but for most people, it’s actually a common occurrence that’s easily fixed with a few simple changes. In anticipation of carnival tomorrow,
REDUCE THE CONSUMPTION OF GASSY FOODS:
Note that this is not a one-size-fits-all list, and almost any food containing carbohydrates, proteins and fats can trigger bloat in any individual – but some have more of an effect than others. Try cutting these foods out for the next 24-48 hours to see a difference on the road:
Beans and lentils
Apples, watermelon, pears, peaches, mangos
Dairy: milk, yogurt, cheese
Cruciferous veggies: cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale
Onions and garlic
Rye and wheat products
Sugar alcohols (found in sugar-free products)
AVOID FATTY FOODS:
High-fat foods take a long time for your body to digest – think of that tummy-swelling, pants-unbuttoning feeling after Christmas lunch. It’s best to limit anything that is deep-fried, processed and refined to avoid saturated and trans-fats, which are some of the main culprits for digestive issues. Choose nuts, seeds and avocado over high-fat meats and creamy sauces.
PREVENT WATER RETENTION:
This involves staying fully hydrated and reducing the amount of salt consumed. Too much salt in the long run can cause many health conditions like hypertension, but in the short term, it can cause water retention – which leads to bloating. Flavour foods with herbs and sodium-free spices, reduce the amount of packaged foods consumed and choose high-potassium foods like bananas and tomatoes.
Drinking lots of water paradoxically reduces water retention; it sounds ironic, but keeping your body hydrated aids liver function and prevents your body from holding onto excess fluids.
AVOID SWALLOWING AIR AND GASES:
Sodas and carbonated drinks (even soda water) are some of the leading causes of bloating. Drinking these beverages causes a buildup of carbon dioxide in your stomach and cause bloating, especially if they’re consumed quickly. Reduce intake of colas, sodas and beers. Plain water is the best choice. Add lime wedges, mint and cucumber if you fancy flavour without the bloat. Chewing gum, drinking through a straw and eating while talking also leads to increased amounts of swallowed air.
EAT SLOW & SMALL:
Taking your time while eating not only reduces your overall food intake, but it can prevent you from swallowing air and causing gas retention. Eating too much at one time also tends to cause bloat, and those who experience bloating often have an increased sensitivity to food so eating smaller meals throughout the day can be useful.
TRY SOME PROBIOTICS OR A GAS-BUSTING SUPPLEMENT:
Probiotics especially those containing Lactobacillus strain can regulate the good bacteria in your gut, which can decrease bloat. This is not an instant fix, but more for prolonged use. You can find probiotics in capsule form, or try gas supplements like a-galactosidase which can prevent belching, flatulence and sometimes bloating.
Try including soluble fibre sources like psyllium husk and chia seeds along with lots of water to relieve this and to reduce bloating.
Costume by ROGUE Carnival | Photo by Laura Ferreira Photography