Does salt make your stomach puff out like crazy? You’re not alone. While we need sodium for hydration, nerve and muscle function, and blood pressure balance, most of us eat more than the recommended 2,300 milligrams a day – and that’s when we end up feeling bloated and sluggish. This is because any excess sodium gets stored beneath the skin, where it sits attracting more and more water in an effort to prevent dehydration. Hello, fluid retention! Salt is notorious for this, so let’s talk about ways to flush that fluid out of your system.
Our top 3 de-bloating tips
1. Drink up
Water, that is! It may seem counterintuitive to drink water when your body is already holding on to plenty of it, but it’s the single best thing you can do to get rid of the puffiness. Water is a diuretic, meaning it helps your body to flush out any excess water and sodium. It also reminds your body that you’re well-hydrated, so all that fluid retention isn’t necessary. To soothe your digestive system even more, alternate filtered water with herbal teas like ginger, chamomile and peppermint.
2. Load up on potassium
When you’re bloated, potassium is your best friend. It helps to promote sodium excretion, combat high blood pressure, and bring a sense of balance back to your body, so munch on bananas, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, apricots and yoghurt. Vitamins B6, B5 and D are also great for flushing out fluids, so try adding brown rice or a little red meat to your next meal.
3. Get moving
Even though exercising may be the last thing you feel like doing, it’ll do you the world of good. Just lace up those sportshoes and go for a brisk walk or jog – this will stimulate the digestive tract and help to relieve that uncomfortable, gassy feeling in your tummy. Plus, sweating will speed up your body’s detoxification process, which is a bonus! If the thought of walking is too much, simply hold a few yoga poses. Twists are best because they massage the digestive system.
Shaking the habit: the best salt substitutes
Salt is a staple for a reason – it enhances the flavour of food. But with a little creativity, you can slash your salt intake without having to sacrifice your delicious dishes.
Herbs and spices
Season your meals with herbs and spices that tickle the tastebuds, like ginger, cumin, dill, pepper, garlic, oregano, rosemary, basil, cayenne and cardamon. There are so many different combinations, you won’t even miss the salt! For example, cardamon adds zing to meaty dishes, dill is amazing with seafood, and roasted garlic is great at livening up carb-rich foods like potatoes and pasta. Or, for an all-in-one sprinkle, we can’t go past Herbamare. Made with 12 fresh, organically grown herbs and veggies, this seasoning goes with just about everything. It doesn’t get easier than that. The best bit? The recipe was created by a naturopath, so you know it’s doing your body serious favours!
This may be a new one for some of you, but give it a go. Nutritional yeast has a rich, savoury flavour that works well as a replacement for salt. We like adding it to sauces, as well as rice or quinoa for a slightly ‘cheesy’ edge.
A sea vegetable, kelp is a fantastic source of magnesium, calcium, B vitamins and iodine, and it has a salty flavour. We bet you won’t notice the difference.
What are your tips for getting rid of bloating? Do you have any salt substitutes to add?