Lets’ face it, shopping for a new swimsuit causes most of us to panic! This year is no exception for me. Maybe I should buy both a good day and a bloated day suit? I’ve been exercising and watching my calories but I am sad to say sometimes I just feel puffy and bloated. What gives? I sat down to get some advice from ClubSport’s nutritionist, Melissa Waters.


Melissa started by telling me about some of the obvious causes of bloating:

• Overeating or eating too fast,
• Eating too much salt, and
• For some people even drinking bubbly beverages.

When I’m wearing my swimsuit at the beach, I will confess I do love a burger, fries and Diet Coke. Could there be a worse time to eat these foods? Fortunately, I’m confident I can substitute healthier foods that will be just as deeeeliocious. Next time I visit the beach, I can’t wait for Shrimp Vietnamese Spring rolls with a low-salt peanut dipping sauce and Kevita Water (http://kevita.com/products/sparkling-probiotic-drink/). I totally love this Mojito Lime, Mint, Coconut probiotic drink made by Kevita.

Unfortunately, these simple changes may not completely solve bloating for some of us. As Melissa explained, many of us don’t have the right balance of bacteria in our gut and foods begin to ferment. Gross! By incorporating the right kinds of bacteria from probiotic foods into our diet, we can avoid the unwanted bloat. These good bacteria are found in yogurts that have “live cultures” in the ingredient list: kefir & kombucha beverages like Kevita Water, miso paste – think miso soup, sourdough, pickles and sauerkraut. If we eat these foods four to five times a week, not only will you avoid bloating and gas, but your immune system will also gain a nice boost!

For moderate symptoms of bloating, Melissa’s other recommendations include the following:
• Eliminate processed foods,
• Drink more water, and
• Consider adding a supplement or foods rich in L-Glutamine, an amino acid that improves intestinal lining. Some foods high in L-Glutamine include: any animal product, spinach, parsley and beans.

Yet, some people have more complicated health issues that cause bloating. There is still hope for those who have seen their physician and been diagnosed with IBS – Irritable Bowel Syndrome. The great minds from Stanford University have set up a website dedicated to a diet called FODMAP. (Fermentable Oligo-Di-Monosaccharides and Polyols Map). (Link: https://stanfordhealthcare.org/content/dam/SHC/for-patients-component/programs-services/clinical-nutrition-services/docs/pdf-lowfodmapdiet.pdf

This diet limits foods high in fructose, lactose, fructans (wheat, garlic, onion), galactans (beans, lentils, soybeans) and polyols (stone fruits like avocados and peaches). There is nothing wrong with these foods for the average person, but research shows these sugars effect those with IBS differently. High FODMAP foods cause immense pain, bloating, gas, and depending on the type of IBS either constipation or diarrhea. If this sounds like you and you have not been diagnosed with IBS please talk to your physician and then find a nutritionist knowledgeable in the FODMAP diet.

The goal of the FODMAP diet is to eliminate all high FODMAP foods for six weeks and with the help of a nutritionist slowly incorporate one food at a time. The hope is to find which foods you can tolerate and which foods trigger your digestive distress. This diet should not be followed long term, as it was designed for the short term, and will lead to nutritional deficiencies.
So, lets’ start with the simple recommendations. Skip the unhealthy beach food, drink more water and eliminate processed foods. If that doesn’t work there is always the FODMAP diet.

Thanks to Melissa I’m heading to the beach and looking great!

Lori Barker