Male or female. Dieter or competitive athlete. At one time or another we have all experienced bloating or water retention. Whatever your fitness goals bloating is a huge demotivator. It can effect your perception of your progress and can deter you from your goals. Here is some information to help you avoid the dreaded bloat. There are many reasons the body may experience bouts of bloating; medical (crohns, allergies, diabetes, hypertension, etc), hormonal (PMS and stress), and dietary. To manage medical causes you should speak with your physician. However, diet plays a leading role in the development and prevention of bloating and water retention. There are things we can all do to reduce our retention of fluids. Salt and sugar are the main causes resulting in retention of fluids. Avoiding these is critical.
Avoid High Sodium Foods
No surprise here. Sodium attracts water into the cells of the body. This is the most common cause of abdominal bloating, but also leads to puffiness in other parts of the body as well (face, fingers, legs, etc.). Reducing the amount of sodium in your diet will go a huge way. Sodium lurks everywhere; even in places you wouldn’t expect it. Read food labels. The recommended daily intake of sodium for people ages 9 – 50 is no more than 1500 mg per day. That recommended intake drops by 200 mg, to 1300 mg per day, for ages 51 – 70. It adds up quickly. Do not add salt to the foods you are cooking, even if it calls for it (baked goods might be the exception). Salt is one of those things companies add to foods to increase their taste, especially in low fat and reduced sugar foods. Pre packaged foods, frozen foods, and processed foods tend to have high sodium counts. Be mindful it’s more than just table salt you have to watch.
Eat foods rich in Potassium and B6
Unlike sodium, potassium flushes water from the cells and B6 acts as a natural diuretic. These two can reduce the effects that sodium has on your body. Bananas and root vegetables are a good source of potassium. Chia seeds have double the potassium of a banana. Bananas, poultry and fish are also good sources of B6.
Increase your Water
Drinking 8 to 10 glasses of water per day helps to flush the body of excess water. I heard recently that scientists came out disputing the age old advice of drinking this quantity of water, stating that the adult body doesn’t actually need that quantity of water. But if you want to combat bloating then you do in fact need that minimum amount of water. Increasing your water intake and decreasing your intake of soda, fruit juices, coffee, etc. is a huge benefit to your body.
Add these foods
Certain fruits and vegetables act as natural diuretics. Increasing these in your diet may also help you. Foods like asparagus, oats, carrots, cabbage, cucumbers, watermelon, parsley, and celery hydrate the body well and help flush the body of waste and fat deposits.
Green Tea and Apple Cider Vinegar
are also natural diuretics. Adding a tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar to your salad as dressing is a great way to include this in your diet. (It’s also reported to increase the metabolic rate!) Other Stuff Reducing your stress level, increasing your exercise, and getting enough sleep are also vital components to decreasing bloating.