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3 Summer Foods That Relieve Belly Bloat—and 6 You Should Steer Clear Of


By Maria Azua, Reader's Digest

You're at a pool party: Which snacks will blow your belly up? Which choices will keep your tummy trim? Navigate the buffet with confidence using these health expert-approved tips.

Avoid: salty foods

Summer is officially here and the last thing anyone wants to think about during swimsuit season is deflating a bloated belly. So what exactly is bloat? And how do you navigate through upcoming wedding dinners, barbecues, and garden parties without bulging in the middle? While it's true that salty foods can lead to water retention around the mid-section, the key isn't avoiding fluids but rather skipping the salt-laden snacks like chips and pretzels. 
 
[post_ads]"In most healthy adults, bloating is actually caused by excess gas building up in the abdomen—it is typically not caused by fluid retention. If there is fluid retention, we begin to worry about health issues, such as liver failure," explains Neal Malik, DrPH, MPH, RDN, lead of Master of Science in Nutrition for Wellness program at Bastyr University "Bloating can make us feel downright miserable since abdominal pain and cramping are a common symptom. A distended belly can make it seem as though you have added extra pounds around the waistline, but this usually is not true, and again, it is likely due to the buildup of gas." Luckily, there are plenty of foods that actually help prevent or relieve symptoms of bloating.



Enjoy: yogurt

In addition to using fresh yogurt to create a relaxing DIY face mask and ease a sunburn, you'll want to stock up your fridge with this healthy snack. "Because of its high probiotic content, yogurt is helpful for easing belly bloat," says Dr. Malik. "It is also lower in lactose, so it may be consumed by those with mild lactose intolerance (but not those with a milk allergy)." Worried you might be lactose intolerant? Check yourself for these seven common symptoms.



Enjoy: enzyme-rich foods

You don't have to decline every invite to a party or barbecue this summer—even though those events offer plenty of bloat-promoting foods. Instead of worrying about all the grease- and salt-laden bloat promoters (ribs, dogs, burgers), look for foods with seasonings that ease digestion, says Paula Simpson, holistic beauty and nutrition expert and co-founder of Zea Skin Solutions: "Choose naturally digestive enzyme rich foods, herbs, spices such as papaya, ginger, fennel, turmeric, peppermint, parsley and pineapple."



Go easy: certain greens

Some of your favorite green foods could contribute to bloating. "Kale, broccoli, and cabbage are cruciferous vegetables, which contain fiber and sugars that our bodies cannot absorb and eventually ferment which causes bloating," says Simpson. "But don't shun those healthful foods just yet. 
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Steaming these types of vegetables can also help to soften the fiber making them easier to digest or combining legumes with easily digestible whole grains, like rice or quinoa. (Looking for quinoa inspiration? Try one of these yummy Quiona-packed dinners tonight.) "Your body will eventually get used to them and its best to increase your intake gradually," she says.



Enjoy: tea

As the days get longer and warmer, you're bound to find yourself meeting up with friends for outdoor coffee dates. Although coffee dates are fun, many people find themselves feeling bloating when ingesting milk or sugar. Meg Furstoss, MS, NSCA-CSCS co founder Precision Sports Performance suggests opting for an iced mint tea instead of a sugar-laden coffee.



Avoid: processed food

According to Neal Malik, processed foods are often a bloat culprit. "Highly processed foods are often low in dietary fiber." He says, "Dietary fiber is very important in the maintenance of our gut microflora (i.e., the good bacteria in our intestines)." Even if you're strapped for time, avoid heating up a frozen meal at the office and instead pack some of these foods that are good for your gut.

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Health & Fitness: 3 Summer Foods That Relieve Belly Bloat—and 6 You Should Steer Clear Of
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