Looking to feel your best before a beach getaway? How you choose to fuel your body can make a huge difference. While there are no last-minute fixes for long-term weight loss, it is possible to beat pesky bloat and feel more confident by making a few changes to your diet when you're short on time.
First and foremost, registered dietitian Shira Lenchewski says it's essential to be hydrated. Since water helps expel waste from the body, Shira recommends "drinking two to three liters a day." Got that covered? Read up on the foods she suggests adding and removing from your diet to beat bloat and have more fun in the sun.
Probiotics: Adding natural probiotic sources into the diet can improve your digestive health and regulate bowel movements — two essential aspects of feeling your best before donning a bikini! Sure, you can take probiotic supplements, but eating foods such as plain Greek yogurt, kefir, kimchi, and kombucha tea can bring this good bacteria to your belly naturally.
Fiber: In the battle of the bulge, some of Shira's best defense is to include 25 to 30 grams of fiber into your diet, since it can mediate your blood glucose levels, improve digestion, and keep you satisfied for longer than low-fiber foods. These high-fiber foods will help get your creative juices flowing in the kitchen.
Potassium: Potassium-rich foods like avocados, bananas, kiwis, and dates balance your body fluids and prevent pesky bloat. The combination of these four ingredients sounds like an awesome Summer smoothie!
High-carb foods: When eating high-carb foods like cereal, pasta, and bagels, excess fuel is stored in the muscles as glycogen, says Shira. You might be surprised to learn that each gram of glycogen in the muscles is met with around "three grams of water, contributing to extra fluid retention." When you reduce your carb intake, it tells the body to burn this surplus fuel and, in turn, eliminates this excess fluid.
Artificial sweeteners: Artificial sweeteners like Splenda contain sucralose, a chemical that is 600 times sweeter than natural sugar. Because sucralose is so much sweeter, it overstimulates the taste buds and causes people to crave intensely sweet foods throughout the day. Many artificial sweeteners also come with an unfavorable laxative effect that brings on bloating, fast. Opt for natural sugars (sparingly) in order to beat bloat, curb cravings, and support your long-term health.
Gum: You might opt to chew gum instead of snacking, but this so-called weight-loss tool is "kind of a bikini beachgoer's worst nightmare," says Shira. Chewing gum causes swallowed air to be trapped in the GI tract and your belly to expand and feel bloated; steer clear of gum and sip on water instead.