No matter how many crunches you do, you won't look or feel your best if you're suffering from bloating—you know, that swollen, gassy, acidy feeling that makes skinny jeans an impossibility. Follow these strategies, and eat these flat-belly foods, to keep your digestion system humming along.
Slim Eating Strategies
Generally, the best way to avoid bloat is to stay away from soda, alcohol and greasy, salty, fatty meals, which slow the stomach and the intestines from emptying, according to Timothy S. Harlan (a.k.a. Dr. Gourmet), M.D., medical director of Tulane University's School of Medicine.
However, if you know you're going to be over-indulging – for a weekend celebration or a big holiday meal—you can be proactive by eating certain flat-belly foods before the big event. On the following slides are some of Dr. Harlan's top picks, based on the latest scientific research.
There's some research that says the enzyme in papaya may aid digestion. Mix diced papaya into plain organic yogurt for breakfast, and if you're making a holiday dessert, consider panna cotta with a fresh papaya puree over top.
According to Harlan, in a recent meta-analysis of a number of studies related to digestion, researchers found that oat bran can be particularly beneficial. Harlan recommends having oatmeal for breakfast and, over the holidays, using oatmeal in your pie crust.
The key is to make sure you're choosing a yogurt that has "active cultures," which will increase the number of "good" bacteria in your gut, helping you digest more efficiently and preventing that belly from blowing up. Harlan says to look for organic plain yogurt (which is very likely to contain the active cultures), and to steer clear of anything with "fruit on the bottom." If you need a touch of sweet, stir in some strawberry jam.
There's some really interesting new data about asparagus that indicates that it has some probiotic benefits," says Harlan. So it may ease the build-up of gas and, because of its diuretic properties, also flush waste and excess water from your body.
Quinoa: The potassium in quinoa has been shown to beat bloat -- plus, this South American grain is a great source of the minerals magnesium, phosphorous and especially manganese. It packs both fiber (2.6 grams per 1/2 cup) and protein, a stellar nutrient combo that can keep you satisfied for hours.
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