10 Super Foods to Help Fight Belly Bloat
This is my busy, travel season for work and I would be lying if I said that I didn't indulge in some airport Auntie Annes pretzels here and there. The smell taunts me and sometimes I cannot resist. I decided a long time ago that I wouldn't let myself feel guilty about enjoying things like the occasional airport pretzel or an indulgent meal because I deserve it and because I adore food. I love to eat good food and sometimes it's healthy and sometimes it's not. Instead of feeling guilty or denying myself foods that I love, I just try to make sure that I keep things balanced. I live by the 80/20 or sometimes 70/30 rule of eating and it doesn't feel like a chore at all. In fact, usually after indulging during a weekend of travel my body actually craves healthy and nutrient rich foods so it doesn't feel like I'm "sacrificing" or "dieting" during the week. In fact, I despise the word diet. I eat what I want and what I need in balance because life is too short to not eat that donut, but life is also too short to not take care for the body I have so that I can live longer and eat more donuts. You see how I did that there? Say the magic word with me...."Balance." It's the key to being able to maintain a healthy lifestyle that is sustainable for LIFE.
Here are 10 foods that have belly busting super powers and that I use to me stay balanced.
1. Peanut Butter
Peanuts contain L-arginine, an amino acid that works to improve blood flow throughout your body by helping blood vessels "relax" — all of which can help to mitigate fluid retention.
A cup of peas packs 8 grams of protein and tons of key bloat-reducing nutrients. It's got nearly all of what you need daily for vitamin C, plus magnesium, potassium, and iron — all of which aid in counterbalancing sodium and bringing oxygen to blood cells.
I love tuna for a quick snack or meal and it doesn't get any better than fish when it comes to healthy protein, especially tuna, salmon, and sardines. They're filled with important omega-3s and lean protein, helping you fill up and curb cravings.
4. Greek Yogurt (Unsweetened)
Greek Yogurt contains probiotics, a.k.a. friendly bacteria that help boost immunity, regulate gut function, and banish bloat.
Berries are packed with fiber (up to 9 grams a cup!) and antioxidants but contain less sugar than most fruits. That combo makes them a satisfying and healthy choice. Mix with some Unsweetened Greek Yogurt and you've got a delicious and nutritious breakfast or snack (also toddler approved).
Grains get a bad rap when it comes to weight loss, but that's because refined grains (processed foods) are linked to wider waists. However, 100% whole grains are bloat-busting superstars because they're packed with minerals and de-puff by counter-balancing salt. Stick to brown rice, quinoa, wheat, barley, millet, farro and amaranth for the biggest benefits.
7. Leafy Greens
Plant-based omega-3s belong in any healthy eating plan, but leafy greens and cauliflower are especially helpful for reducing waist lines and getting things back on track when you'e splurged because they're loaded with minerals like potassium, which can help offset the bloat-inducing effects of sodium, commonly found in those airport Auntie Annes pretzels.
Good news for all of you lovers of this fruit: A 2013 study linked eating avocado regularly to lower waist circumference and BMI. What's more, the monounsaturated fats are heart-healthy and filling, reducing the urge to graze on processed foods later on. Avocado toast anyone?
Filled with potassium and magnesium, they offset the bloat caused salty processed foods and pack in plant-based prebiotics which feed your good bacteria.
The potassium in citrus helps combat bloat while the antioxidants fight inflammation, which is associated with belly-fat storage. Add some citrus to your water or check out my favorite juicing recipes to add some citrus to your day.
So don't be afraid to indulge in some of your favorite "naughty" foods and certainly don't beat yourself up about it. Just remember to balance things and find the joy in also rewarding yourself with healthy foods that make you feel amazing! One of my favorite quotes about nutrition is from Dr. Jade Teta and she says, "There's one actual rule-the only rule in nutrition- and that is: Do what works for you!"