We are pumped to share one of our fave stories from Self here on FitSugar!We're not going to lie: transforming your body from head to toe isn't always the fastest process, because it takes time to burn fat and build muscle. However, there is an exception: With the right diet and workout, you can see a difference in your belly (and maybe even reveal an ab or two!) in just a couple of days. The secret? Beat bloat.
Generally, the best way to avoid bloat is to stay away from soda, alcohol and greasy, salty, fatty meals, which slow the stomach and the intestines from emptying, according to Timothy S. Harlan (a.k.a. Dr. Gourmet), M.D., medical director of Tulane University's School of Medicine.
Here are 5 of our favorite bloat-busting foods, and a few moves to add to your belly-shrinking workout routine.
- Papaya: There's some research that says the enzyme in papaya may aid digestion. Try mixing diced papaya into plain organic yogurt for breakfast.
- Oatmeal: According to Harlan, in a recent meta-analysis of a number of studies related to digestion, researchers found that oat bran can be particularly beneficial. Harlan recommends having oatmeal for breakfast. Warning: Avoid McDonald's new oatmeal, which has more sugar than a Snickers bar, according to this recent New York Times article. Yikes!
More foods to decrease the bloat, so keep reading.
- Yogurt: The key is to make sure you're choosing a yogurt that has "active cultures," which will increase the number of "good" bacteria in your gut, helping you digest more efficiently and preventing that belly from blowing up. Harlan says to look for organic plain yogurt (which is very likely to contain the active cultures), and to steer clear of anything with "fruit on the bottom." If you need a touch of sweet, stir in some strawberry jam.
- Asparagus: "There's some really interesting new data about asparagus that indicates that it has some probiotic benefits," says Harlan. So it may ease gas build-up and, because of its diuretic properties, also flush waste and excess water from your body.
- Quinoa: This South American grain is a great source of the minerals magnesium, phosphorous and especially manganese. As a bonus, the potassium in quinoa has been shown to beat bloat (your jeans will thank you).
- Cardio and Yoga: On top of cardio (the fastest way to burn the fat that's covering those dying-to-make-their-debut abs), take a few yoga classes during the week. Certain postures such as "Seated Spinal Twist" and "Triangle" are known for aiding in digestion by wringing out your system and massaging your organs. Whether you're a yoga rookie or a regular, before class, mention to your instructor that you would like to focus on twisting postures.
Bonus: At the gym, incorporate these tone-up quick moves (especially the killer Plank Rows!). What's your secret for winning the battle against bloat?