In a recent post, I talked about a few quick diet tricks to get a flat tummy fast, and although I did talk about the foods you should avoid, I didn’t review the foods you need to start including more of! One of the key factors to getting and keeping your tummy flat is to load up on the foods that are most efficiently used by the digestive system. Food that sits or that doesn’t get digested properly can be fermented causing excess gas and bloating.
Yes, consuming foods that digest slowly are important because of their fiber content and the positive impact they can have on blood glucose levels and gut flora. However, if you are planning on sporting a bikini or a tight dress soon, consider using these foods and food swaps to help keep that tummy flat:
Switch Up Your Greens
As good as cruciferous vegetables like kale, cauliflower and broccoli are for you, they are also high in fiber and an indigestible sugar called raffinose, which can cause gas and bloating. Switch up your cruciferous greens for easier digesting greens like leaf lettuce and baby spinach. They still pack lots of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, but include less hard roughage that can cause bloating and gas.
Eat Good For You Fats
When it comes to reducing bloating, one of the keys is to reduce inflammation in the gut and the surrounding fat tissue. When we eat foods that we are sensitive to, it can lead to inflammation. What’s worse is that fat isn’t an innate object just hanging around the belly, it produces enzymes that can stop fat burning pathways, cause the release of leptin to induce hunger, increase hormones like cortisol and reduce insulin’s effectiveness in the body.
If you want to reduce inflammation and stop the hunger hormone, start eating foods that are a rich source of antioxidants and good for you fats. One study showed that a diet rich in monounsaturated fat, similar to the Mediterranean diet, prevented fat distribution in the belly area, lowered leptin levels and improved insulin sensitivity. Eat a diet rich in good for you fats from sources such as chia seeds, flax seed oil, natural nuts and fish like salmon and tuna.
Add Probiotic Foods
Imbalances in gut flora can cause digestive issues by slowing down digestion and resulting in belly bloating. Including probiotic foods or a probiotic supplement can help improve intestinal mobility and relieve stomach distension. Probiotics are live bacterial microorganisms that are considered “good for you” bacteria. Imbalances in gut bacteria can lead to more of the bad gut bacteria proliferating. What you eat, antibiotics and even stress can bring on this imbalance in gut flora. Eating nonfat yogurt with live cultures can help. However, if you are sensitive to dairy, consider using a supplement that provides Lactobacillus acidophilus and increasing your dietary fiber intake, which can act as a pre-biotic. Prebiotics can help encourage friendly gut bacteria.
Stock Up On Potassium Rich Foods
If you are holding onto extra water weight, your sodium levels are more than likely too high. High sodium levels can be brought back into balance by drinking plenty of water and adding in potassium rich foods. Deficiencies in potassium not only causing bloating but also fatigue, irritability and increased blood pressure! Potassium rich foods that are also bloat-free foods include squash (899 mg per 1 cup), spinach (839 mg per 1 cup cooked), salmon (534 mg per 3 oz) and avocados (558 mg in ½ cup of pureed avocado).
Paniagua JA, et al. Monounsaturated fat-rich diet prevents central fat distribution and decreases postprandial adiponectin expression induced by a carbohydrate rich diet in insulin-resistant subjects. Diabetes Care. 2007. 30(7): 1717-23.