A bloated belly can have a number of causes, such as food intolerances, constipation, and gas. And of course, a few extra pounds of fat can accumulate around your middle over time. Regardless of the cause, though, a bloated tummy is uncomfortable and unsightly.
The good news is that certain foods reduce bloating, quell hunger without adding a lot of calories, and promote faster metabolism, thereby flattening your belly. These foods also build your bones – except for one, they’re all Foundation Foods.
Let’s begin with a food that is usually treated like a vegetable, but it’s actually a fruit…
I love the smooth and creamy texture of avocados. They are a rich source of several Foundation Supplements, including boron, B complex vitamins, copper, and Vitamins C, D, and K. Their creamy texture is due in large part to their Omega-3 fatty acids content, which among other things, are powerfully anti-inflammatory.
Avocados also have significant fiber content – one cup of avocado slices offers seven grams. That promotes a feeling of fullness so you don’t overeat, and it also supports regular bowel movements to prevent constipation, an uncomfortable source of tummy bloat. In fact, constipation is not just uncomfortable; it is bad for your bones and your whole body.
It’s hard to beat cucumbers when you’re in the mood for a cool, crunchy snack. They’re alkalizing, hydrating, and a rich source of bone-building silicon. Try as much as possible to get them organically grown, since many of the nutrients are found primarily in the skin.
Cucumbers also contain some fiber – one gram per medium cucumber – but the nature of the fiber is especially effective at promoting regularity and reducing belly bloat. That’s because the fiber in cucumbers holds up to 30 times its weight in water! For comparison, wheat bran holds only about five times its weight in water.
You may be surprised to learn that eggs are listed as a Foundation Food in the Osteoporosis Reversal Program. But these versatile, naturally “packaged” foods are rich in B complex vitamins, healthful fats, and protein. They also contain sulfur, a crucial element in the manufacture of bone-building collagen.
Eggs are also filling, so they reduce your total caloric intake. In fact, research has shown that having eggs for breakfast can help you lose weight.1
This is where eggs’ tummy-flattening abilities come in. They make you feel full for longer, keeping caloric intake in check and staving off cravings for foods that may increase bloating.
There are many types of berries, and they’re all rich in bone-building antioxidants, Vitamin C, and manganese. To reduce bloating, though, choose berries that are richest in anthocyanins, such as cranberries, blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries. These plant pigments have a powerful antioxidant effect on your bones and body.
Anthocyanin's also help reduce belly fat, as a Japanese study shows. Researchers observed their effect in mice and in human fat cells. According to study author Takaanori Tsuda:
“…anthocyanins have a significant potency of antiobesity and ameliorate adipcyte function in in vitro and in vivo systems…”2
The Osteoporosis Reversal Program limits the consumption of dairy products, mainly due to their acidifying, highly-processed nature. It’s important to bear in mind that conditions like lactose intolerance can greatly increase abdominal bloating. Yogurt, however, is different.
The bacterial cultures found in yogurt digest the lactose, making it a tolerable choice for many who suffer from lactose intolerance. In addition, the presence of these beneficial microbes makes yogurt an alkalizing food, so it’s a bone-smart source of calcium and zinc.
These same microbes play a role in belly-flattening by promoting not only gut health, but also weight loss. Scientists analyzed the intestinal microbes of obese individuals and slim individuals. They observed changes that occurred in gut flora as study participants lost weight, and discovered a connection between weight and particular strains of bacteria.
They found, for example, that obese people had lower levels of specific strains of bacteria than slim people, but those microbial levels increased as the obese individuals lost weight. Their “findings indicate that obesity has a microbial component, which might have potential therapeutic implications.”3
Remember, choose plain, organic yogurt (Greek yogurt is fine as well) without any added flavors or sweetening. Drizzle with raw honey, sprinkle with stevia, or add some fresh fruit (how about berries?) if you like.
6. Onions* and Garlic
Garlic is a rich source of allicin, a phytochemical that’s strongly anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial.
These two pungent vegetables work to reduce belly bloat by “feeding” the healthy gut microbes we just discussed. They’re called “prebiotic” foods because they contain substances that the beneficial bacteria need to thrive and multiply. They’re easy to add to recipes, too, especially soups and salads.
One of my favorite snacks, almonds contain an abundance of bone-building nutrients: calcium, magnesium, zinc, copper, and boron.
They are a filling source of fiber and protein in a small package, and they promote a feeling of satiety, so you feel satisfied without too many calories. Their magnesium content plays a role in the regulation of blood sugar, energy production, and the maintenance of muscle tissue. Magnesium is also extremely important for building and rejuvenating bones, and the plant-derived protein in almonds enhances the absorption of this vital mineral.
8. Dark Leafy Greens*
Leafy greens contain high levels of antioxidants and fiber, but are low in calories. Whether you eat them raw or cooked, there’s no need to watch portions with these alkalizing, nutritious foods (provided you don’t drench them with high-calorie salad dressings or sauces). Yet your body uses plenty of energy in digesting these fiber-rich greens, so they aid weight loss.
As you might expect, leafy greens are excellent for colon health, promoting regularity and reducing bloat. And one of the best ways to get plenty of dark leafy greens is in a smoothie.
The Nutritious Power Of Smoothies
These eight foods are perfect for blending into delicious smoothies. While juicing is also healthful, smoothies retain the plant fiber and do not concentrate the plant’s sugars. You can also add fresh, homemade juices to your smoothie for the best of both worlds!
The combinations and possibilities are endless with smoothies. You can custom-blend your own creation as you learn how foods act in a blender – for example, avocados contribute a creamy texture; bananas and apples add sweetness ; berries add a slightly tart flavor. And you can freeze the ingredients beforehand if you want a thicker, ice-cold smoothie.
Here’s a quick, healthful, and delicious smoothie recipe to get you started. It contains three foods from the above list, and it’s right out of Blender Magic, the smoothie recipe collection that’s included in Bone Appétit, the Save Our Bones recipe book.
Greener Than Green
Natural Source of: Vitamin K, Folate, Vitamin C, Vitamin B5, Potassium, Vitamin B6.
- 1 avocado, quartered
- ½ cup plain yogurt
- 1 handful spinach
Tip: Sweeten with stevia or honey to taste.
This smoothie makes a satisfying, quick breakfast or between-meals snack. In Blender Magic, one of the bonuses included with the recipe book Bone Appétit, you’ll find an amazing array of smoothie recipes that reveal just how versatile these beverages can be. They can be sweet or savory, thick or thin, and you can prepare them in just minutes. Blender Magic shows you how to creatively pack a lot of Foundation Foods and Foundation Supplements into one glass!
Like Bone Appétit, Blender Magic is convenient and easy to navigate thanks to the PDF format. You can quickly do a key word search for an ingredient, type of smoothie, or nutrient(s), which enables you to find the perfect smoothie recipe to fit your needs in seconds.
And last but not least, smoothies are absolutely delicious! If you have a favorite smoothie recipe you’d like to share, or any other thoughts about today’s post, please feel free to leave a comment below.
Till next time,
1 Vander Wal, J.S., et al. “Egg breakfast enhances weight loss.” Int J Obes (Lond). 32.10. (2008): 1545-1551. Web. September 3, 2016. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2755181/
2 Tsuda, Takanori. “Regulation of Adipocyte Function by Anthocyanins; Possibility of Preventing the Metabolic Syndrome.” Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 56. 3. (2008): 642-646. Doi: 10.1021/jf073113b.
3 “Human Gut Microbes Associated with Obesity.” Nature. 444. (2006): 21-28. PDF. http://users.unimi.it/biofilms/appl%20biotec%20amb_LM/human%20microbiota/ley_2006_microbes_obesity.pdf
4 Wetli HA, Brenneisen R, Tschudi I, et al. “A-glutamyl peptide isolated from onion (Allium cepa L) by bioassay-guided fractionation inhibits resorption activity of osteoclasts.” Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry. (2005).