Please seek medical guidance before making any lifestyle changes
There are two factors that tend to make people appear bigger, especially in the abdominal area. These factors are referred to as bloating and water-retention.
What are they?
Bloating is an increase in pressure within the abdominal area that tends to cause discomfort and lead to an enlargement or swelling of the abdominal area (usually in conjunction with discomfort) due to a surplus in gas production or retention within the body (caused by improper digestion) or bowel/gastrointestinal obstructions.
Water-retention is the accumulation of watery fluids within the body usually due to a sodium imbalance or surplus sodium concentrations within the body. As with bloating, water-retention can lead to the enlargement of the abdominal area as well as other parts of the body, such as the face, feet and hands.
A bigger appearance isn’t always solely due to an increase in the accumulation of fat within the body. More times than not, bloating and water-retention tend to be involved too. Once those factors are eliminated a temporary slimmer appearance is achieved.
How do we eliminate those factors?
Bloating and water-retention can be prevented or eliminated through what we consume. An increase in the sodium level within the body can directly be hindered by reducing salt consumptions. However, some sodium is required for healthy body functions. The best way to safely reduce the concentration of sodium within the body is by drinking more water, especially after exercise and by consuming more potassium-rich foods.
Potassium and water regulate the concentration of sodium within the body and lead to an increase in urine production (diuresis) which will aid in the elimination of excess sodium from the body (natriuresis) whilst excess water is removed from the body.
By coincidence, most potassium-rich foods are also high in fibre which promotes proper bowel movements resulting in the elimination of waste (in the form of faeces) from the body. This, in turn, reduces and prevents the accumulation of gas within the body as food, especially in the form of proteins and carbohydrates, is metabolised and eliminated more efficiently.
What foods are potassium-rich?
The foods with the greatest potassium content are green leafy vegetables, followed by vine fruits, root vegetables and tree fruits. These groups contain foods such as:
Green leafy vegetables: spinach, kale, spring greens, lettuce, cabbage and Swiss chard
Vine fruits: tomatoes, courgettes, cucumbers, grapes and pumpkins
Root vegetables: carrots, onions, radishes, garlic, ginger and turmeric
Tree fruits: apples, bananas, oranges, avocados, pineapples, mangos, limes and lemons
Is there a recommended time to consume more of these?
It is, in fact, not a necessity to consume more of these foods at a particular time of day. However, we advise consuming more towards the evenings for comfort levels and to actually benefit from a noticeable change in the size of the abdominal area and size of other parts of the body that might have been affected due to water-retention.
Comfort levels are a factor in the suggested time frame for the consumption of these foods as the consumption of some of them result in bowel movements or cause a diuretic effect which might be easier to deal with at home during the evening/night or morning.
What can I eat?
Increasing your consumption of potassium-rich foods can be as easy as making a salad, adding lime juice to your water or eating a few bananas or as intricate as making a smoothie or a cooking a meal containing potassium-rich ingredients.
Green smoothies tend to not be as appealing as other smoothies or dishes. Therefore, we will like to share our recipe to a delicious potassium-rich green smoothie. The quantity of each ingredient is to your preference.
Sugar, maple syrup, date syrup, coconut nectar…. (optional)
- Blend all the ingredients apart from the water ensuring that some of the pineapple is at the bottom to aid in the water production that will promote the blending of all the ingredients. The rest of the pineapple and harder/heavier fruits should be at the top to weigh down the contents of the blender in order to push them into the area circulates by the blades.
- Blend in a little water at a time to thin out the smoothie to your desired consistency.
- Pour out and drink.