The Plan to Beat Bloat

Use this plan to beat bloat from hidden sodium and slim down.

Posted on | By Ramani Durvasula, PhD | Comments ()
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How Mary Kicked Her Salt Addiction (3:33)

Step 1: Watch the Hidden Sodium

Sodium lurks everywhere. And there are a few key ways it comes into our diet beyond the usual suspects, like in processed foods and fast food (even when we think we are being careful):

  • Eating out (you can’t control how much salt they use)

  • Eating at someone else’s house (again, you can’t control how much they use!)

  • Hidden sodium in places you don’t suspect

Here are some places where sodium sits in larger quantities than you expect:

  • Breads

  • Cottage cheese

  • Nut butters

  • Packaged cheeses

  • Low-calorie products like salad dressing

  • Condiments

  • Alcohol

  • Cereals

  • Diet soda

And even the low-sodium variants of foods (e.g. low-sodium soy sauce) can add up quick. These hidden sources, though they may not have as much sodium as other foods–can add up over the course of a day and leave us feeling bloated.

Step 2: Eat a Potassium-and-Probiotics Combo

This is an easy and rather yummy fix! Potassium serves to regulate fluid balance in our bodies, and more potassium can help ensure that more sodium gets excreted from the body via urination. Potassium-rich foods such as bananas, cantaloupe and mangoes make for wonderful breakfasts and snacks. Pair that with probiotic-rich foods such as Greek yogurt or kefir. Probiotics keep the digestive system moving and help manage the sense of bloat. Bonus: These probiotic-rich foods often contain calcium, which is also essential to overall good health.

Step 3: Bring in the Natural Diuretics

This is another great habit, as natural diuretics encourage urine production and can serve to offset the hidden sodium (and beat the bloat). There are lots of ways to do this all day:

  • Asparagus in your breakfast omelet

  • Beets in your lunchtime salad

  • Pineapple with your steak at dinner (it’s a great natural meat tenderizer too)

  • Watermelon, grapes and green beans for snacks

Step 4: Watch Those Weekend Carbs

Weekends can wreak havoc on healthy lifestyles. We may have wonderful routines during the week because we have schedules, but on the weekend all bets are off–parties, friends, movies and long, late breakfasts often mean that simple carbs (e.g. cookies, chips, snack foods, many foods consumed dining out, desserts) come into our lives more on the weekends. Remember that carbs promote water retention and if we consume more on the weekends, then bloat is likely to follow. More mindfulness is often a great tool on the weekends, so slow down and wait a beat before you grab those cookies. Make sure you keep healthy snacks within easy reach to avoid the weekend backslide into bloat.

Remember, making one small change at a time makes a difference over time. Master that change and then add a new one. This way, big changes come from small steps.

This plan was originally created for Dr. Oz's Truth Tube. Catch up on all the Truth Tube plans here. Plus, follow Mary's journey on breaking her salt addiction here.

Article written by Ramani Durvasula, PhD
Dr. Ramani Durvasula has over 15 years of teaching, clinical and research experience. After receiving her doctorate in clinical...