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by Ankita Jain

Look sexy at the wedding parties this season with some cool tips on how to beat the bloat

Bloated bellies and parties are not the best match. And looking great is an absolute must this wedding season with so many new fashions looks crying for attention.  We try to navigate the bloated belly for a healthier, sexier you with Fitness Coach, Saprina Shrestha.

Saprina has been working with The Pump since 2016. She started as an operational staff and soon developed an interest in gyming. Saprina certified as a para powerlifting coach and started to train people. She says for a healthy body, one has to work 70% on the diet and 30% on the workout.

She says the most common reason for a bloated tummy is eating foods that aren’t digested properly. “They then travel to the large bowel and are fermented by the bacteria in our gut causing bloating (and large amounts of gas), and the other reason is constipation,” she says matter of factly.

It’s important to first find the reason for excessive bloating. She says you need to start by eliminating any possible medical cause first by seeing your doctor for some tests including celiac disease and food allergy tests. “If they return normal, then see a dietitian who can guide you through an elimination style diet to identify problem foods,” she suggests.

She points out that it is not common to get a food allergy as an adult but not impossible either. A blood test or simple skin prick test can determine whether your immune system is reacting to certain proteins in food. Common food allergens for adults are egg, wheat, dairy, seafood and tree nuts. A gluten allergy is known as celiac disease and can also be tested with a blood test, she informs. “Lactose however is milk sugar and we can be intolerant to it but not allergic,” she says.

How to get things moving if you think you have sluggish digestion. She says you should start by looking at the “golden trio” which are fibre, fluids and movement.

Ask yourself: Are you getting 30 grams of fibre, having at least 1.5 litres of fluid and moving enough every day?

So how much fibre is enough? Women should aim for at least 25 grams of fibre per day and at least 30 grams per day for men. Saprina says great high fibre foods include wholegrains like brown rice and oats, some fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds. “Make sure to increase your fibre intake slowly because going from a low to high fibre diet straight away can cause a lot of bowel discomfort,” she says.

“Exercise every day speeds up the time it takes for food to move through our intestines. This limits the amount of fluids reabsorbed back into the body and can help prevent stools from getting dry,” says Saprina. “Getting your heart rate up also stimulates blood flow and muscle movement which can also help move food through the intestines more efficiently,” she informs.

Can too much fruit cause fermentation or bloating? “Fruit contains a natural sugar called fructose and some of us can mal-absorb fructose, which means we don’t digest and break down those sugars properly,” she says. “These sugars then move to the large bowel and are fuel and food for the bacteria there who ferment those sugars releasing an excessive amount of gas which causes bloating. We all have different tolerance level to fructose; some people are very sensitive and can’t eat any fruit at all, others can eat a couple of servings of fruit per day but any more than that and it causes bloating. Some can eat fruit freely and have no reaction whatsoever,” she shares.

About water. Saprina says, “Drinking water can help if you are dehydrated as it can help to keep stools healthy and moving through your system quickly. Aim to drink water mostly away from your meals so as to not dilute down stomach acids which help to break down your food. Also, avoid bubbly water like soda or mineral water which will only add to the gas in your intestines.” Avoid alcohol and carbonated drinks for a flat tummy, suggests Saprina.

Further she recommends, “Peppermint and ginger tea may help by making your fluid intake more interesting but we also have some research to show that they can help with digestion.”

When asked about helpful foods to beat belly bloat, she says, “Some research shows foods such as pineapple which contains a natural digestive enzyme, probiotic-rich plain yoghurt and some fermented foods such as pickles and kefir, along with parsley may help with digestion, reducing bloating and creating healthy bowel motions.

The power of probiotics may be helpful with bloat but Saprina says it really depends on what’s causing the bloat. “Begin by eliminating other causes of bloating and constipation,” she says. “You can use natural food sources of probiotics like fermented foods and plain yoghurt in your diet. A probiotic supplement may help but it is best to speak with a health professional first to make sure you are taking the right strains of bacteria.”

She adds, “By slowing down eating, you also tend not to overeat as it gives your brain enough time to register that you are satisfied which can also help reduce the bloat. Eat small and regular meals through the day also helps to support our digestive system because it is better equipped to deal with smaller portions of food at a time”.

What foods to avoid? Saprina says, “Foods that may be a problem include protein bars and protein drinks, diet drinks and diet foods, and sugar-free chewing gum and sweets using sweeteners such as sucrolose, erythritol, mannitol, sorbitol, isomalt and xylitol.”

Her favourite recommendation is to take a walk after your meal.

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