Summer is a time for indulgences. Whether it’s a family reunion or a trip to your favorite beach, chances are you’re treating yourself to food and drink that you avoid the rest of the year. Add the heat of summer to the mix, and you’ve got a recipe for bloating and swelling that leaves you feeling uncomfortable.
The good news is there are several things you can do — including indulging in tasty, summery foods — instead that will help fight the bloat.
What causes bloating?
There are a number of reasons why you might feel bloated. You may have a condition like irritable bowel syndrome. If you find your symptoms persist, even when you’re taking care of yourself, be sure to see your doctor to rule out a larger medical issue.
Often though, the reasons for bloating and swelling are related to what you eat. Eating salt, gluten, dairy or fried food, or not drinking enough water throughout the day, are sure ways to cause the uncomfortable swelling that strikes during summer.
Want to know how to avoid that swelling? Avoid these foods.
Champagne and sparkling wine
Summertime is prime time for weddings, so you might find yourself with a glass of bubbly in hand to toast the newlyweds. As Dr. Robynne Chutkan, author of The Bloat Cure states, champagne and sparkling wine can cause bloating for two big reasons: sugar and carbonation. Too much sugar can cause an overgrowth of bad bacteria in the gut and cause you to get gassy, while the fizzy bubbles from sparkling wine can get trapped in your digestive tract, giving you more gas.
Fried food is tempting, but it’s among the worst foods for your gut. Not only does it feed the harmful bacteria in your gut, but fried food can cause you to retain water, from the high salt content, or bloat up from the gluten.
Avoid eating too much cheese in summer months, especially if you suspect you’re lactose intolerant. Dairy products can cause bloating and swelling, as well as gas. Plus, dairy products are known triggers for constipation. Add to that the fact that dairy can spoil easily in the heat (picnics, the beach, outdoor wedding receptions, family reunions and more) and it might be best to avoid cheese altogether.
Bread and pastries
As mentioned above, sugar can wreak havoc on your digestive system. But even unsweet bread products, like burger and hot dog buns, can inflame the gut and leave you feeling bloated and gassy. If you’re sensitive to gluten —or its quiet partner-in-crime, fructan — indulging in bread and pastries, including wedding cake, can leave you feeling unwell.
Grabbing a pack of salted nuts at the gas station while on a road trip might sound like a good idea, but the salt can cause you to retain water and swell. Instead, pack some fresh veggie sticks or opt for raw, unsalted nuts on the road to make sure you’re getting enough protein.
Anything you’re allergic to
You should always avoid foods that you’re allergic to, even when it might hurt your Great Aunt Jane’s feelings when you skip her cherry pie for dessert. Even small amounts of food you’re allergic to can make you feel unwell. It’s best just to avoid them in all instances.
Do this instead
Now that we’ve covered what not to eat, here are some ideas for fighting bloat this summer.
1. Drink plenty of water
It’s easy to skimp on your water intake while on vacation. It’s equally easy to miscalculate how much water you need when you’re in the hot sun for a long time. Drinking ample fluids can help you fight the heat while you fight bloat.
2. Pay attention to how much you’re eating
Long events like family reunions can encourage eating for hours. Instead, put your food on a plate when you eat and keep track of how much you consume to ensure you’re not overeating.
3. Keep moving
Don’t let the summer vibe kill your exercise routine. As we women approach our cycles, bloating is more common, but exercise can improve the swelling no matter who you are and where you’re at in your cycle. You might even find that you retain less water when you regularly work up a sweat.
4. Eat water-full foods
Cucumbers, watermelon, tomatoes and kiwi are healthy, water-full foods that also pack nutrients and compounds that fight bloating. Just be sure to avoid using too much salt on your melon or tomatoes.
5. Drink herbal tea
Ginger and peppermint tea, in particular, are anti-inflammatory. Both are renowned for their ability to soothe the stomach too, so they’re good options when something doesn’t agree with you. Try drinking your tea on ice for a refreshing summer beverage.
6. Eat breakfast
Eat a healthy breakfast, especially when you know you’ll be out and about for the rest of the day. It gets your metabolism going early and can help keep things moving as they should.
With a little bit of attention and forward thinking, avoiding bloat and swelling over the summer is pretty simple. What’s your favorite way to make sure you don’t feel bloated in summer? Tell us below!