The truth is bloating is a very common occurrence that most of us go through after eating. So what should you eat at the beach?
Nutritionist Tanya Zuckerbrot recommends these foods to avoid and foods to enjoy for your day of fun in the sun...
For a flat belly, try increasing your fiber intake.
"A healthy adult wants to aim for 25-30 grams of fiber per day," Zuckerbrot said. "Not only will fiber help you feel full for longer, but it will also increase bowel motility helping to remove waste and avoid any bloating."
Zuckerbrot recommends eating high-fiber foods such as whole-wheat breads, high-fiber cereals, whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
Foods that contain polyphenols and vitamin E protect skin from damaging free radicals. For example, a preliminary finding in the Journal of Nutrition suggest that a regular intake of poleyphenols found in dark chocolate make skin hydrated and lessen the effects of a sunburn, according to Zuckerbrot.
Instead of sipping on ice cold lemonade, which contains 175 calories and 42 grams of sugar, try some iced green tea.
"Not only is this calorie-free and sugar-free, keeping your waistline in tact, it also contains polyphenols to protect your skin," Zuckerbrot said. "And an added bonus, it contains EGCG, which studies have shown can rev up your metabolism and help you burn fat."
Not drinking enough water can cause dehydration, which leads to subsequent bloating.
"This is why it’s so important to drink enough water," Zuckerbrot pointed out. "In the summer months, it’s easy and essential to increase fluids by adding sugar-free drink flavor packets to water bottles or fresh lemons and limes to plain water."
She recommends drinking eight, 8-ounce glasses of water a day.
Sunflower seeds are a great snack for the beach and contain high amounts of vitamin E.
Vitamin B6 acts as a natural diuretic, according to Zuckerbrot, which helps to prevent bloating. It’s important never to consume more than 100 mg per day.
Foods rich in vitamin B6 include yellow fin tuna, roasted chicken breast and avocado.
Craving something salty and sweet?
Try snacking on pistachios with a high-fiber fruit such as dried apricots, which provide vitamin A, promoting good vision.
Not only are pistachios a great source of both fiber and protein, but they also contain antioxidants and vitamin B6.
If you fancy a snack with a little more substance, Zuckerbrot recommends 3-ounces of lean turkey on a whole-wheat pita, with two slices of tomato, romaine lettuce and mustard.
"This remake of the classic deli sandwich provides you with the perfect combination of fiber and protein on the go," she said.
Switching from white bread to whole wheat will bulk up your fiber intake while providing you with essential vitamins and nutrients. In addition, all lean meats such as turkey breast help to speed up the metabolism and burn more fat simply because they require so much energy for complete digestion.
Not in the mood for turkey?
Sometimes the most satisfying snacks are those that resemble a meal. And tuna fish on crackers is a great mini-lunch, perfect for an on-the-go snack packed with 20 grams of fiber and and 20 grams of protein!
Eating potassium-rich foods will also help combat bloating during bikini season.
"Potassium counterbalances sodium, which causes water retention and bloating, and has a diuretic effect on the body," Zuckerbrot said. "So by eating foods that are high in potassium, you can reduce bloating naturally."
When picking from the produce department, choose things like bananas, papayas, kiwis, strawberries, spinach, cooked beets and broccoli.
Now, that you know what to eat, these are foods you want to avoid:
Salty, Highly-Processed Foods: Sodium causes the body to retain water, which in essence causes bloating - this leads to you feeling as big as a balloon. Avoiding any kind of salty snacks such as pretzels and potato chips, is essential to maintaining your bikini body.
Gassy foods: Certain foods create more gas in your GI tract than others. This includes raw vegetables and legumes such as cauliflower, broccoli, peppers, onions and cabbage. However, many times if you cook these vegetables, they will deliver the same nutrients, but take up less room in your GI tract - leaving you feeling skinnier and ready to dress in your mini bikini.
Chewing gum: Many people don’t realize this, but chewing gum can cause bloating because it causes you to swallow air. All that air gets trapped in your GI tract and causes pressure, bloating and belly expansion.
Sugar-free candies: Sugar-free candies and gum often contain sorbitol. Sorbitol is a sugar substitute that acts as a laxative, which draws water into the large intestine. As little as four sticks of sorbitol-containing gum can cause bloating and abdominal pain.
Tanya Zuckerbrot, MS, RD is a nutritionist and founder of www.Skinnyandthecity.com. She is also the creator of The F-Factor Diet™, an innovative nutritional program she has used for more than ten years to provide hundreds of her clients with all the tools they need to achieve easy weight loss and maintenance, improved health and well-being. For more information log onto www.FFactorDiet.com.
BLOATED... it's the last thing you want to feel when you're frolicking around the beach!