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BLOATING: every girl's worst nightmare - especially during the summer when all you want to do is hit the beach or the pool. I have spent YEARS figuring out which foods make me bloated, how to reduce bloating after I eat fibrous veggies, and how to avoid water retention.
I like to eat A LOT of food. I try to fill up on loads of fibrous veggies, healthy fats and lean protein to keep myself full and satisfied after a meal, but a lot of times fibrous veggies can make me feel bloated if I eat too much in one sitting. I still eat them, don't get me wrong - the benefits my body gets from these superfoods WAY outweigh the slight bloating afterwards. But there are definitely ways you can REDUCE the bloating you may get after filling up on a plateful of broccoli or salad.
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Aside from fibrous veggies, I know a lot of people struggle with gluten or lactose intolerances. If you are gluten or lactose intolerant, eating foods that contain the two can cause MAJOR bloat. I am neither lactose nor gluten intolerant, but I do find that sometimes I can experience a slight digestive discomfort (cramps, bloating, ugh) from eating foods that are super rich in dairy. If you are experiencing unexplained bloating or stomach upset, I definitely recommend taking about two weeks and cutting out all gluten and seeing if your revamped diet makes a difference. If nothing changes, take another two weeks and cut out all dairy. When you cleanse your body of these two bloat culprits, you'll be able to tell if you could have an intolerance to one of them.
Anyways, since I am basically a veggie eating machine and LOVE eating giant portions of salad and broccoli (they are SO filling!), I have searched for ways to reduce bloating when it strikes. No one wants to feel puffy at the pool or the beach! Here are 7 of my top tips I have gathered that have helped me beat the bloat.
1. MOVE after you eat!
Even if you just go for a short walk after dinner, or you get up and put all the dishes away after you finish your meal, moving around after eating can help reduce any bloating and that "extra full" feeling.
2. Drink LOTS of water
But not TOO much. Confusing, right? Well, when your body is dehydrated it will actually hold on to extra water weight, causing you to look and feel bloated. When you drink plenty of water, your body feels satisfied and can release the excess water weight. Think of it as flushing out the toxins that cause bloating. Water has a whole LOAD of health benefits, one of which being that it helps jump start digestion. I like to drink a tall glass of water right when I wake up in the morning before I do anything else to kick start my metabolism for the day.
3. Fiber is your new BFF
Just like water, fiber helps move everything through your digestive system more smoothly. If you aren't used to eating enough fiber, slowly start incorporating more fibrous foods into your diet. Avoid going on a "fiber kick" and stuffing loads of fiber into your diet all at once - because that can actually CAUSE bloating if your system isn't adjusted yet. Fresh berries and whole grains are some of my favorite sources of fiber.
4. Cut the artificial sweeteners
These are a HUGE CULPRIT. I am a big gum chewer - which is sweetened with aspartame most of the time. Chewing gum and consuming other foods that are sweetened with artificial junk can wreak havoc on your digestive tract. If you are looking to add a little extra kick of sweetness to your snack, aim to use stevia - a natural, plant based sweetener that comes from the stevia leaf.
5. Take your time
Eat SLOW! One reason you may feel extra bloated after a meal is because you scarfed down your food so fast you ended up swallowing a bunch of air! I am guilty of this - sometimes I have to pause and remind myself to enjoy my food instead of devouring it too quickly.
6. Drink tea or coffee
Both tea and coffee are a natural diuretic - meaning they cause your body to release water. I always drink my cup of coffee in the morning and I like to sip on Teami Blends tea during the early AM hours and after lunch. Try making some warm tea with lemon (also a diuretic) and honey to help reduce bloating after a meal.
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7. SWEAT IT OUT!
This is my favorite tip. Any kind of physical activity will do wonders to reduce bloating, but lately I have been loving high intensity interval training workouts. HIIT workouts are an effective way to light up your metabolism and drench you in sweat in a shorter amount of time than a traditional distance run would take. I love doing bodyweight exercises with dumbbells and resistance bands for an added challenge. You do NOT need a gym membership to live an active, healthy lifestyle!
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So these are MY top 7 tips... But what are YOURS? Leave a comment below. I want to hear from you!