Tips for improving digestion and avoiding the bloat
Movement and nutrition are keys in a flat tummy. When working with clients you can boost your results by educating them with the tips below. Start to incorporate these tips into your own life and you will be able to speak with more confidence and conviction when you are sharing with others. It is important we walk in integrity and practice what we preach!
Are you at your thinnest when you wake up in the morning and your roundest at night? You might just be bloated! For years, I thought that was just the natural rhythm of life. My theory was that when you wake up, your stomach has emptied out overnight and is therefore flat, and then over the course of the day you are filling up your belly and the result is a rounded abdomen, and perhaps some pain and gas.
The truth of the matter is that it isn’t necessarily that you are eating copious amounts of food throughout the day, it is more about the type of food and how it is ingested that matters. These 14 Flat Belly Foods and Tips can help you reduce swelling, inflammation and the need to undo that top button on your pants!
There are several reasons why bloating occurs in our bodies. The first thing that comes to mind is air — not necessarily flatulence. Air can be incorporated in many ways. Fizzy drinks, chewing gum and gulping down food all introduce air into the digestive tract.
The next big problem is slow digestion. Food that sticks around longer than 24 hours in the digestive tract will definitely cause bloating, discomfort, and possibly constipation. It can be caused by large meals, not enough fiber, or foods that are high in fat and animal protein.
We also have to deal with food intolerances. Our body, especially as it ages, makes fewer enzymes, bile and stomach acid. Our bodies to become intolerant to foods that require these helpers, making them harder to digest and increasing the bloat.
Did you know that there are foods that cause systemic inflammation by damaging the lining of our intestines? This creates problems for the delicate ecosystem that resides there, causing an imbalance of “good” to “bad” bacteria. It is the wastes (gases) from the “bad” bacteria that causes bloating from inflammation.
4 Tips for improving digestion and avoiding the bloat:
- Avoid drinking large amounts of ice cold water with meals. Too much water will dilute your stomach acid, reduce the effectiveness of enzymes, and decrease the output of bile. As a result, your digestion will suffer.
- Go for a walk after big meals. This will help get things moving both on a physical level and on a digestive level.
- Eat smaller meals more often. This will help control blood sugar and manage your hunger, causing fewer cravings for “inflammatory foods” like fries and burgers.
- Take your time to thoroughly chew. Chewing is an essential step in breaking down food, activating enzymes and reducing the burden on the stomach and intestines. Large particles of food that make it to the gut feed the “bad” bacteria!
Top 5 foods to avoid for a flat belly:
- Fried foods. Because fats are harder to break down, they overwhelm the stomach, linger in the digestive tract, and cause oxidative stress.
- Eating fruit at the end of a meal. Fruits, especially melon, are difficult for the body to digest when they are piled on top of a large meal. Instead, they get fermented by bacteria and cause gas and bloating.
- Dairy foods. Humans are the only mammals that consume milk after weaning – so it shouldn’t be a surprise that for some of us, our ability to break down milk ended when we weaned.
- Red meat. This super-dense animal protein doesn’t need to be completely removed from the plate, the plate just needs to be reimagined. Meat should make up one quarter of the plate, with vegetables and grains making up the other three quarters.
- Wheat. By now, everyone has heard of a gluten free diet, but you might not know that part of its popularity comes from reducing inflammation by cutting out wheat, especially white flour.
Top 5 foods to consume for a flat belly:
- Cod. A staple cold water fish from the North Atlantic, cod is bursting with omega-3 essential fatty acids. Omega-3 reduces inflammation and promotes a healthy balance of intestinal bacteria.
- TIP: Small cold water fish can be eaten up to 5 times a week.
- Pineapple. The wonderful thing about pineapple is that it actually boosts the amount of enzymes that are available to aid in breaking down protein. Bromelain, the enzyme that is most dense in the pineapple core, can help reduce indigestion, cutting down on gas and bloating.
- TIP: Because the core of the pineapple is too tough to chew, it can be chopped up and blended into smoothies.
- Chia. Chia is very high in fiber and omega-3, making it awesome for digestion. This little wonder seed actually balances blood sugar, which means that you will feel fuller longer and end up eating less on a daily basis. Balanced blood sugar is excellent for fighting insulin resistance, which has been linked to an increase in abdominal fat.
- TIP: Chia needs to be hydrated before you eat them or they will actually slow digestion by removing water from the digestive tract.
- Quinoa. Even though quinoa is versatile enough to act as a grain, it is actually a seed — this means that it is gluten-free, which reduces the risk of irritating the intestines. The high amount of fiber in quinoa also helps regulate bowel movements, and quick transit time reduces bloating and keeps the belly nice and flat.
- TIP: To make fluffy quinoa: for every 1 cup of the seed, use 1 ¾ cups of water.
- Spinach. It is high in antioxidants, fiber, anti-inflammatory carotenoids, and vitamins E and K. Spinach is a dark leafy greens like kale and chard, but is a lot easier to digest.
- TIP: Spinach is especially easy to digest when it is lightly sautéed in olive oil.
By consuming foods that are anti-inflammatory, enzyme-rich, high in fiber and omega-3, you will:
- Look and feel thinner
- Feel less bloated
- Appear younger
- Improve your mood
- Reduce your risk of heart disease and bowel cancer
- Lessen the chances of getting an auto-immune disorder
Kristen Owens (RHN, RBIE, MNLP), a Pilates/Yoga teacher, Holistic Nutritionist, speaker and coach works with women globally to help them end the struggle with weight and confidence. In her signature program “Lose Weight & Keep it Off” she addresses the unconscious sabotage habits that keep us stuck, suffering and overweight, and helps us break free to lasting weight loss with ease and grace. To receive your FREE ‘21 Days to Weight Loss’ E-Course, visit her website and enter your email.
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