Summer's here—so here's the cheat sheet to avoiding the bloat right before beach day.

Photo: Shutterstock.com
Photo: Shutterstock.com

“Bloating arises when excess gases accumulate around your intestines. This uncomfortable feeling can stem from a variety of lifestyle factors, including eating difficult-to-digest foods or ingesting too much sodium, which then causes water retention,” says Sophie Jaffe, Los Angeles-based certified raw food chef and nutritionist. “Bloat can even result from eating too fast, swallowing too much air, or a lack of exercise (keeping active helps the gut function properly). In particular, rich processed foods that are high in fat, as well as sweeteners like sorbitol and fructose, are common culprits for bloating.”

Related: 7 Tips To Drink More Water

While junk food may cause bloat, it’s not necessarily the only thing that can cause this discomfort. Beans and lentils have oligosaccharides, which are indigestible sugars that need to be metabolized by the intestines.

“Sugars and starches that can cause bloat are also found in certain fruits and veggies, such as apricots, prunes, cabbage, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts,” Jaffe says.

If you want to minimize the bloat and maximize the comfortable beach time this summer, here’s a guide on how to monitor the situation right before you hit the sand.

24 Hours Before

The day before you want to wear your swimsuit, make sure you avoid high-sodium and processed foods. Instead, eat natural diuretics since these will stimulate your kidneys to let go of extra water in your body. Snack on things like watermelon and cantaloupe. You can also make a soup out of veggies like onion, celery, cucumber and asparagus—just limit your salt intake.

Foods to Avoid:

  • Beans
  • Lentils
  • Potato chips
  • Soda
  • Alcohol
  • Cheese
  • Processed meats
  • Waffles
  • Ice cream
  • Pretzels
  • Pasta

Avoid late-night snacking. This leaves you with a fuller belly.

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Day Of

Before you hit the beach or pool, blend together a fruit and veggie smoothie. “Add superfoods and plant-based proteins to help ward off hunger for longer,” explains Jaffe. “I love tossing in aloe juice and frozen or fresh papaya to help aid with digestion, as well as a healthy fat, like Philosophie coconut butter. Don’t forget to bring plenty of water while you’re basking in the summer sun (and use sunscreen!).