The jeans you wore last week suddenly seem a tad too tight in the waist. You can blame the dryer, but it’s probably your eating habits. When your belly inflates at a rapid pace it’s often caused by bloating from too much sodium, carbonated drinks or excessive gum chewing – yes, taking in all that air can lead to a puffy middle. An easy way to return to your natural stomach state is with a smoothie made from ingredients that reduce bloat. Use these recipes for inspiration.
Cucumber Anti-Bloat Smoothie
“Excess salt leads to bloating but potassium relieves that puffy feeling by balancing and circulating body fluids,” says Dr. Luiza Petre, MD, director of the Medi-Weightloss Clinics. The potassium-rich ingredients in this smoothie are coconut water, bananas and cucumbers. Cukes have also been shown to inhibit the activity of pro-inflammatory enzymes. Blend a half of a cup of coconut water with one banana and ne cucumber along with a small piece of fresh ginger root and ice. The ginger will soothe your digestive track and alleviate bloat.
Ginger Beet Smoothie
Beets are gorgeous! The striking deep red pigment comes from the betalains in this root veggie. And just like other richly hued fruits and veggies, the beet is loaded with antioxidants that reduce inflammation and stave off diseases. Beets join fiber-filled strawberries in this smoothie from The Roasted Root, along with a top anti-inflammatory supplement: ginger. This sweet and spicy food aids digestion and helps metabolize excess adipose tissue (that’s a fancy word for fat). Ginger also decreases hunger and bloating. And don’t leave out the flax seeds. They have a high concentration of plant-based omega-3s that have been shown to increase good cholesterol and decease the bad. It also reduces inflammation and in turn reduces storage of fat. Flax doesn’t have a potent taste so you won’t compromise the flavor of your smoothie.
Almond Pineapple Smoothie
Eating low-calorie, anti-inflammatory snacks like almonds help people achieve weight loss goals. Why? They have fiber and protein, a combo that keeps you full for the longest period of time and on the fewest calories. Adding them to a smoothie is a nice alternative when you need more to eat than just a handful of nuts. We love the tropical taste of pineapple in this smoothie from Atkins Nutritionals. It has potassium – the number one enemy of belly bloat– plus lots of enzymes to ease digestion. Word of warning: always use fresh pineapple. Avoid the canned cubes because they’re loaded with excess sugar and that’s exactly what you’re trying to void when chasing away those last 5 pounds.
Watermelon Mint Detox Juice
“Water is a natural diuretic which means drinking it can help your body eliminate the extra water it's holding on to,” says Dr. Petre. Watermelon is 93 percent water plus it has potassium to reverse the bloating effects of salt. Combine fresh watermelon with mint leaves and lime juice for a refreshing and body-friendly drink. Dr. Petre says that mint leaves dissolve excess gas in your middle that could cause bloating. And lime has potassium plus vitamin C to shoo toxins and free radicals out of your body.
Avocado Blueberry Creamy Dream
A 2013 study in the Nutrition Journal was way ahead of the avocado toast trend. Researchers found that people who ate avocados on the regular had smaller waistlines than those who didn’t. Avocados have fiber and monounsaturated fat to keep the belly feeling full, aid digestion and increase the absorption of nutrients. Avocados are naturally high in unsaturated fatty acids, fiber, vitamins A, C, E, K, and many B vitamins as well as potassium and magnesium. Plus much of it is composed of water and fiber, and both help keep you feeling full. Blend half of an avocado with fiber-filled blueberries, half a banana and a touch of honey.