We'd all love to have washboard abs; but it’s highly likely that our choices in the kitchen can directly affect our midsections. Here are 10 kitchen rules that might yet have you reaching to tighten up your belt further down the road.
1. When it’s Weight
Extra weight's quick to affect the flatness of our bellies. If you're lugging extra belly fat around, making a few changes to your food choices in the kitchen will shed extra pounds. Instead of eating that bagel for breakfast next time around, try whole grain cereal instead. Rather than cook up white spaghetti for dinner, cook whole grain or vegetable-based pasta instead. Your plate should radiate color, so eat plenty of vegetables and fruits. Clean eating is one sure way to cut down your waist size.
2. When it’s Bloating
Certain foods cause abdominal bloating, and if your diet contains one or more of these foods there’s a good chance your belly is suffering from intestinal gasses. The most effective solution's to avoid eating these foods in the first place. Another solution however, is to take over-the-counter supplements to combat extra gas; but the best thing is to know which foods bother you this way, and simply cut them from your diet.
3. Lack of Fiber
A diet rich in fiber keeps us regular, and helps to avoid constipation, which is another cause for enlarged tummies. One smart kitchen choice is eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, or you can add a powdered fiber supplement to your daily diet to aid in regularity. Keeping things moving in your intestines will help you feel much more comfortable and support a smaller waistline.
Not drinking enough water will also cause constipation and a gassy, bloated abdomen. The recommended amount of water per day for the average adult is 8-10 eight-ounce glasses of water. Drinking liquids such as soda or alcoholic beverages will only encourage dehydration and bloating. If your diet is rich in fiber, drink plenty of water so that the fiber can successfully keep your intestines healthy. Keep your kitchen stocked with plenty of bottled water or invest in a water filter for your tap or refrigerator.
5. Sedentary Lifestyle
The best food choices still won’t help you if you aren’t active enough. If your diet is clean you should have plenty of energy and stamina to be active for 30 minutes or more, five days a week. Remember, when you exercise your body will need plenty of hydration to replace water lost in sweating. An active lifestyle will help you avoid holding extra water weight and keep your stomach much flatter.
6. Food Allergies
You don’t have to break out in a rash to know if you have a food allergy. Sometimes the effects of an allergic reaction present themselves as gas and bloating. If you experience tummy troubles after eating a certain food, avoid it in the future and you'll avoid unnecessary belly bloat.
7. Lactose Intolerance
People who are lactose intolerant must be very careful about what they eat to make sure nothing contains dairy-based ingredients. This includes cheese, yogurt, ice cream, sour cream, milk, even butter. If you notice intestinal discomfort after eating dairy based foods, then you may indeed have a lactose intolerance. Try switching to non-dairy ingredients and see if that helps. It is also possible to detect a food allergy or intolerance with a blood test, so a doctor’s visit may be in order.
8. Gluten Allergy
You don’t actually have to be allergic to gluten to feel its negative effects on your body. But some people have a true intolerance and eating anything with gluten results in a very painful stomach reaction with severe consequences, including but not limited to pain and bloating. Many nutritionists are now saying that gluten isn’t good as previously made out for any of us, even if we “tolerate” it. The less gluten we eat, the better.
9. Slow Your Roll
Another cause of a bloated tummy is eating too quickly. It takes about 15 minutes for our brains to tell us we’re full, so eating slower can actively encourage us to eat less. If we eat slower to avoid overeating, our stomachs are less likely to bulge and groan at the end of a meal.
10. Limiting Sodium
Eating foods or drinking soda high in sodium will cause uncomfortable and unsightly belly bloating. Read labels and keep track of how much sodium you ingest in a day. Nutritionists recommend limiting your salt/sodium intake to no more than 2,300 mg per day, or no more than 1,500 mg per day if you have high blood pressure, diabetes, or other chronic diseases.
For a flatter tummy, start with the choices you make in the kitchen and go from there. Staying active and hydrated, limiting artificial sweeteners and sodium can make all the difference!