Inflammation, water retention, and bloating basically all mean the same thing, your body is holding extra fluid which slows down your metabolism, negatively impacts your digestive system and prevents you from achieving your health goals. This is why detoxing is so important and an important part of detoxing is avoiding the 10 top bloating foods and drinks. I’ve written this Detox blog series in two parts.
- Part 1: (this blog) The Top 10 Foods/Drinks that Bloat You & Why
- Part 2: The Why, How and What of Detoxing and your 3 simple steps to detox.
As I’ve shared many times, winning with your health is first about getting educated on Why you should do something, and then understanding How to do it, which leads you to the benefits you’ll achieve When doing it.
Kicking off 2017 with a powerful 7-Day Detox Plan will create the metabolism spark your body needs! It’s time to learn about the 10 top foods that bloat you…
10 Top Food/Drinks That Bloat You & Why
- Gluten – Gluten is a hot topic and is quickly being recognized as one of the biggest bloating and inflammatory ingredients in foods. Gluten is a complex protein that gives bread its elasticity and is extremely hard for your body to digest. It’s typically found in most bread products, pastas, and cereals. This difficulty with digestion is what leads to inflammation and bloating. Look for gluten-free labels.
- Soy Protein – Soybeans contain organic compounds called isoflavones. These compounds trigger your body to produce the hormone estrogen, and estrogen causes your body to store fat and bloat. Estrogen is an important hormone in women and men (that’s right—men have a little estrogen too!). The challenge with estrogen is when your body produces too much your body can enter estrogen overload!
- Cheese & Yogurt – I know this might be a tough one, as cheese and yogurt are easy grab ’n’ go proteins and they taste great. But both of these introduce two challenges. First, they are loaded with lactose (a sugar found in dairy). To efficiently digest lactose, your body produces an enzyme called lactase. When you don’t have enough lactase, lactose can’t be fully digested, causing bloating and gas (always fun!). The second challenge is some people have a slight allergy to milk protein. The result can be excess mucus, which leads to head and chest congestion as well as inflammation. Now you might be thinking, Where will I be getting my calcium? Simple, eat green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, and collard greens and green vegetables like broccoli and asparagus. They are loaded with calcium and don’t cause bloating.
- Refined Sugar – We often hear, “Avoid sugar.” That statement doesn’t make much sense since all carbohydrates (fruit, vegetables, and grains, with fiber being the only exception) are metabolized into sugar. What you actually need to watch for is refined sugar, which is the added sugar that’s found in candy, soda, most processed foods, and so on. Refined sugars include basically any sugar that’s not naturally occurring in the food. These types of sugars spike your blood sugar, which triggers fat storage and water retention.
- Sugar-Free Sweeteners – Ever have gas when chewing sugar-free gum? It happens to most of us, and the culprit is the sugar-free sweetener in the gum. The most used sugar-free sweeteners include: aspartame, saccharine, sorbitol, xylitol, and sucralose. These are “fake” sugars that are formed with a double sugar molecule that your body can’t digest. Since this molecule can’t be digested, the result is gas and bloating. There is plenty of research that these once-touted calorie savers may actually be worse for your body than refined sugar is. The great news is, there is already a natural and healthy sweetener on the market called stevia, which can be digested by your body.
- Salt – I remember watching my mom have some popcorn with her salt, seriously! And the next day she would share how puffy she felt. Adding salt to your food or eating processed food (which is loaded with salt) will cause massive bloating. Every milligram of sodium attracts water, causing your body to retain water. The more salt you eat, the more bloating you’ll experience. Focus on eating clean foods that have a small and natural amount of salt. If you’re a salt lover like my mom, no need to panic, just make sure to moderately use salt. Your two best salt choices are sea salt and pink Himalayan salt, as both are natural and unprocessed and help minimize the bloating effects of regular table salt. Just remember to use them moderately.
- Soda Pop (Regular & Diet) – I know this isn’t a shocker, as we’re told by almost everyone to cut soda. There’s a good reason to do this. All types of sodas are full of chemicals, carbonation (which causes gas in your intestines), and either refined sugar (regular soda) or sugar-free sweeteners (diet soda). What I’ve learned is people are attached to their soda, so simply start cutting your soda consumption in half each week and eventually you’ll be soda free! As you do this, you won’t crave soda anymore and you’ll be less bloated. Double win!
- Alcohol – Now you might be thinking, I thought alcohol dehydrates me, so how can it bloat me? Well you’re right that it dehydrates you. When your body feels it doesn’t have enough water, it shifts into water-retention mode to protect itself, primarily in terms of blood flow. In addition, alcohol disrupts your digestion by making your body metabolize the alcohol first (alcohol calories can’t be used for energy) before your food is digested. Because of this digestion delay, there is a greater chance for your food to be stored as fat. Finally, alcohol disrupts your sleep cycles, and lower quality of sleep equals more stress, and that equals more bloating. But of course, everything in moderation is fine, a glass of wine, or an occasional beer or drink is completely fine.
- Coffee and Caffeinated Tea – Many of us love coffee and caffeinated tea — I know I do! Detoxing from coffee will help get your adrenal gland (your battery) cleaned up and to balance out your cortisol levels. The caffeine in coffee and tea triggers an over-release of adrenaline from your adrenal gland, which is then countered with a release of your stress hormone cortisol (too much cortisol in your body leads to unwanted belly fat). Most coffee and caffeinated tea drinkers have trained their bodies to rely on that caffeine rush—basically your body has become addicted to the caffeine.
This causes you to use caffeine to mask some existing sleep deprivation and fatigue. Cutting caffeine will remove the fake energy mask and get your body back in balance.
You might be thinking, what about decaffeinated coffee? Well, coffee is very acidic, so even decaf coffee is something to detox from. However, the good news is that one to two cups a day of caffeine-free tea is just fine. Simply choose a good herbal tea, and bottoms up!
One Important Note: Caffeine withdrawal can cause throbbing headaches. When you cut caffeine, if you notice that your energy drops too low and you’re experiencing headaches, add back one cup of caffeinated coffee or tea each day in the morning.
- Grains & Calorie Dense Vegetables – High-quality grains like quinoa, oatmeal, brown rice, and millet are amazing carbohydrates, as are calorie-dense vegetables like beans, sweet potatoes, and yams. They are all fiber-rich complex carbohydrates that slow down digestion and help keep blood sugar levels balanced. All these great benefits are exactly why they can cause bloating. You heard me right—even though they are great carbs, they are also heavier and more calorie-dense carbohydrates, which can cause some additional water retention (since carbs attract water molecules just like sodium does). Detoxing your body is all about eating a diet as light and rich in nutrients and as easy to digest as possible. This is why your best carbohydrate choices for a 7 day detox are fruits and low-calorie vegetables. No worries, though, after seven days, you’ll be loving your grains and calorie-dense vegetables once again.
The How, Why and What of Detoxing and your 3 simple steps to detox
Now that you know the 10 foods/drinks you should Detox from to kick off 2017 it’s time to find out Why you should detox, how to detox and What you’ll really get from it, check out this blog to learn why you must give your body a much needed oil change!