The New Year is here, and it's likely that you're planning those all important resolutions.
Whether you want to break old habits or make new ones, your resolution is a great way to encourage a healthier lifestyle – especially after all of those winter indulgences!
After Christmas, lots of people struggle to shift that ‘festive bloat’ caused by numerous parties, not exercising as much and probably eating one too many mince pies.
Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to help get rid of that bloated feeling. Here are just some of them…
What is bloating?
Many of us will have of us have experienced the feeling of being bloated – especially over the festive season.
It can feel like your stomach is stretched, puffy and uncomfortable and can be caused by a number of things including:
- Swallowing air (talking while eating etc.)
- Excess wind
- Coeliac disease
- Food intolerance
- Irritable bowel syndrome
Often it’s simply due to eating or drinking too much or doing it too quickly – something most of us can relate to! However, if you are concerned that the bloating is more than that or causing you issues, then speak to your doctor who will be able to offer expert advice tailored to you.
Healthy Performance Enhancing Foods
While getting rid of the bloated feeling in the New Year can often boil down to cutting down the amount of food you eat, it’s still vital to feed your body fuel if you want a productive day or workout – there are certain foods that can enhance your energy levels without being packed full of artificial sugars or bloating you.
You can start a new exercise routine without feeling uncomfortably full by eating these foods:
Bananas are great for sustaining energy naturally, providing the body with glucose, fructose and sucrose for a productive workout.
They also increase potassium levels that drop significantly when you sweat, aiding heart function and regulating your digestion.
The potassium also prevents water retention induced by a salt heavy diet, which helps stop that bloated feeling – perfect after a festive season of indulgences!
Eaten around 30 minutes before a workout, oats are the perfect slow-burning carbohydrate for a fitness session due to their low glycaemic index – and they don’t have so much fibre that they leave you feeling bloated.
They’re a great way to start the day with so many recipe variations out there to try! Oats are easy to introduce into your routine for the New Year.
Eating Greek yoghurt before a workout is another option as it’s easily digestible, which is handy when you’re pushed for time.Try Greek yoghurt with berries and nuts to provide your body with healthy fats and protein that’s unlikely to cause bloat you or slow down your exercise as a result.
Foods to Aid Recovery from Exercise
It can be difficult to know the best foods to eat when your body is recovering from exercise. With so much contradictory advice around it can be a challenge to find the right nourishment for your body.
Some people find that protein-heavy foods cause them to bloat, however, protein is brilliant for repairing muscles after high intensity workouts. Finding this balance is essential but it’s also personal, so try a few things out and see what does and doesn’t work for you.
Post-Christmas there is often a huge effort to get fitter and healthier with many of us wanting to shed a few pounds put on in the December excitement.
Eggs are a popular go-to food after a workout. Packed with protein, eggs are great for muscle soreness and repair, which is essential for seeing results from the gym!
You can use eggs to make omelettes and pancakes or just have them with some veg and wholemeal toast. As long as you aren’t intolerant, eggs shouldn’t bloat you.
Quinoa is a great source of natural protein and contains fibre that can help to relieve bloating. It’s also filled with amino acids and nutrients that support regular body functions and help the body to recover after exercise.
Quinoa is considered a grain and is a good alternative to other more starchy foods like white pasta or rice.
Assisting digestion, papaya contains an enzyme that breaks down proteins required for muscle repair post workout. Eating papaya with a high protein food, for example natural yoghurt, can make the protein work more efficiently in the body.
The fibre and anti-inflammatory properties of papaya may also lead to a strong digestive tract and reduce the chances of bloating after working out.
Exercise and Bloating
When making the effort to get healthier and fitter, you don’t want bloating to get in the way of achieving your January fitness goals.
Taking regular and small sips of water while exercising can reduce the chances of dehydration.
When you exercise, blood moves away from the intestines and disperses to your extremities. This affects the digestive system and can make you bloated during or just after your workout.
Some exercises can actually help relieve bloating – take a look at the De-bloat with Yoga post for some good tips.
Bloating shouldn’t be allowed to put you off striving for your fitness goals – so don’t let it! Try a variety of these foods and tips to see what will work best for you.
Adding them into your resolution can be a great way to build a new habit, leading to a less bloated New Year!