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How to Banish Summer Bloat For Good

etween sugary summer snacks, late-night drinks and excessive heat, it’s easy to feel like your digestive tract is working against you in the summer. But what causes bloating and how can we set our stomachs on the straight and narrow? We talked with licensed registered dietician AMY STEPHENS and registered dietician and certified dietician/nutritionist LISA MOSKOVITZ to find out ways to combat bloating with a healthy diet.

There can be many causes of bloating, from irritable bowel syndrome to premenstrual symptoms, but most of these are easily reversible. If you find yourself bloated but can rule out a bowel disease such as celiac or ulcerative colitis, Stephens recommends reducing your sodium intake.

According to Stephens, the suggested sodium per day is 1,500-2,300mg, but many times, processed foods and restaurants can serve up to 1,100-1,500mg in just one meal alone. To make matters worse, high temperatures and aggressive humidity can cause an electrolyte imbalance in our bodies. The outcome? We crave even more salty snacks and retain more water, which only adds to the uncomfortable feeling.

“Sodium is an inexpensive flavor enhancer and preservative that many food companies and restaurants use, but excess sodium retains water, making you feel more bloated,” Stephens said. Be sure to check the sodium content of a meal before you order it out or keep track of your daily intake on an app. In addition, be wary of excess fats that are often added to high-sodium meals. These can slow your digestions and prolong the bloating from sodium.
Another cause of bloating may be air that becomes trapped in our stomachs. Anything from drinking seltzer to chewing gum can be a culprit of this, according to Moskovitz.

There are foods that reverse this, though. “Foods that naturally contain a lot of water and very little salt help prevent excess bloat,” Moskovitz said. “Potassium and calcium help fight sodium retention and therefore may help reduce some bloating.” She suggests stocking your kitchen with bananas, yogurt, dark leafy greens and avocados.

Diuretic foods — or those that promote more frequent urination — are also helpful in reducing water retention. “In general, a diet of fresh fruits, vegetables, low-fat proteins and eating from home will be the most effective [in reducing bloating],” Stephens shared. Grab some grapefruits, lemons and cabbage to flush your system, then add some probiotic foods such as low-fat yogurt or fermented vegetables to your daily diet. Stephen’s go-to snacks to combat bloating are Siggis’s low-fat yogurt and dairy-free cole slaw or cabbage soup.

Once you add some clean leafy greens and diuretics to your meals, get ready to tap it back with the pack. “Intense exercise and sweating can greatly lessen the bloating because sweating excretes sodium through the skin,” Stephens said. “As long as you don’t take in too much extra sodium after, you should feel much better.”

Finally — while it may seem obvious — eat raw, unprocessed foods as much as possible. “Avoid processed foods, especially those rich in empty calorie carbohydrates and salt, such as chips, baked sweets, white bread products, fried foods and sodas,” Moskovitz said. Be wary of alcohol and caffeine too, which can aggravate your digestive tract.

The best way to start your day off on the right foot is to eat a healthy, balanced breakfast and supplement that with smaller and more frequent meals throughout the day, according to Moskovitz. Eat cooked vegetables around lunchtime, and save salads for dinner to keep your stomach light and digestion running smoothly before you lay down to sleep. If you’re still having trouble, Stephens’s suggests keeping a food diary. Prolonged problems may be indicative of a food allergy or intolerance.

Searching for a quick and easy meal to banish bloat for good? Check out instructor Drew Berezowitz’s favorite green smoothie below and learn why he’s obsessed with it HERE.

1 handful of ice
2 handfuls of baby kale leaves
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/2 banana
1/2 avocado
2 splashes of peach juice
2 spashes of almond milk
1 small spoonful of Matcha powder

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•Smoothie photo by Leslie Kirchhoff, originally posted on
Photography by Leslie Kirchoff
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