Fit, Toned and... Bloated?

Can’t kick that bloated feeling? Try this….

Water retention, or bloating, can be caused by an unhealthy/unbalanced diet, not drinking enough water (funnily enough), certain medications, or can be caused by some serious illnesses. But if you’re not sick or on medication, here are a few tips that can help get rid of that constantly bloated feeling!!

Get your vitamins and minerals… Potassium (in bananas, apricots, avocados and raisins), Magnesium (in green vegetables, nuts and seeds) and Calcium (in oranges, yogurt and tofu) are nutrients the body needs to help balance fluids and can help to alleviate bloating.

Eat foods that assist with digestion and/or are high in fibre, like yoghurt, wholegrain cereals, brown rice, cabbage or cranberries. Ginger and dandelion have a mild diuretic effect and both come in a tea!

Eat five or six small meals to stay well nourished, instead of three big meals. Eating large and/or infrequent meals can cause a rush of fluid to the tissues.

Too much salt (sodium) causes fluid retention. The RDI of sodium for adults is 200 – 2300mg per day. This means you may have to do more than just throw away the salt shaker… avoid packaged/canned/processed foods like fast food, olives, salted nuts, pickles and many frozen foods, soy sauce, almost anything flavoured, ketchup, and deli meats. Stick to fresh or fresh-frozen foods… If it’s out of a jar/can (eg. Tuna, asparagus) make sure it’s in spring water!

Furthermore, the body’s ability to excrete sodium is decreased when too much sugar is consumed and as a result insulin levels are raised. (So stick to your 2 pieces of fruit per day as recommended by and avoid excess sugary/sweet foods eg. most non-wholegrain cereals, muffins, sweetened yoghurts, fruit juice, sports/soft drinks, etc)

A low calorie diet will help you lose weight, but if eating too little, you could create water retention. Eat more than 1,200 calories per day and include lean protein, an important nutrient in short supply in very low calorie diets that helps rid water retention.

Exercise and movement (at least four times per week!) allows your lymphatic system to drain excess fluid and salt out of tissues through sweating and increased respiration.

Swim, or exercise in water. Water pressure forces fluid out of tissues and ultimately, the bladder (even if only temporarily).

Make it a mocktail not a cocktail! At first, alcohol acts as a diuretic, making you lose excess water and leading to dehydration, causing the body to preserve it’s fluids and retain water. If you do have a drink, make sure you drink plenty of water before, during the night and the next day! I usually have a glass or two of water between every drink, guzzle a 600mL bottle water before bed and keep another beside the bed while I’m asleep!!!! And who knows, you might even feel like exercising the next day 😉

It may seem contradictory, but drink plenty of water – 3L+ a day – to flush salt and fluid out of your system. Your body is actually less likely to retain water if you are well hydrated!

If after (or before) trying all this you are still feeling bloated, it may be a good idea to see your doctor!!!!