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5 FLAT-BELLY FOODS TO EAT THIS SUMMER

By Sally Shi-Po Poon (Dietitian)

You’ve been exercising hard and eating clean for weeks to get a flat belly this summer. However, you may wake up some days feeling bloated and miserable. Whatever the reason is – it can be the menstrual cycle, eating too much salt or something else; here are foods and dietary tips that can reduce bloating!

 

  1. Yoghurt

Yoghurt is rich in protein, calcium and potassium. It also contains probiotics which help maintain a healthy digestive system. Among low-fat, fat-free, plain, flavoured and Greek — the choices can be overwhelming when you are doing the grocery shopping! In general, it is better to choose low-fat or fat-free yoghurts as they contain less saturated fat which can help improve blood cholesterol profiles. Added sugar is a common ingredient in fruited or flavoured yoghurt. Instead, choose plain yoghurt and add your own fruits or flavours such as vanilla, cinnamon or a drizzle of honey. Greek yoghurt is strained so its texture is thicker and creamier than regular yoghurt. Yoghurt contains less lactose than milk so is easier to digest for people who are lactose intolerant. You can use yoghurt to make yoghurt parfaits, smoothies, ice cream/ ice lollies, and dips.

 

  1. Kiwis

Kiwis are very rich in vitamin C, potassium and fibre. Regular consumption of kiwis has proven to have beneficial effects on immune function and gastrointestinal function. Research found individuals with constipation had their bowel function improved after consuming two green kiwis a day for 4 weeks.

 

  1. Bananas

Many people thought bananas are high in carbohydrates and therefore fattening.  In fact, one medium banana contains only 105 kcal and 3.1 grams dietary fibre. It is a great source of potassium, a mineral that helps regulate your body’s sodium level and remove the excessive amount of water.  It’s an excellent way to counteract the excessive consumption of sodium from frequent takeaways!

 

  1. Flaxseeds

If you have constipation, try dietary supplementation of flaxseeds of up to 2 tablespoons a day for a 3-month trial. Try adding flaxseeds to breakfast cereal, yoghurt, soup or salad. Have a small glass (150ml) of fluid with each tablespoon of flaxseeds taken. Flaxseed oil does not contain any dietary fibre; however is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids that are beneficial to heart health.

 

  1. Tomatoes

Tomatoes contain fibre and potassium which can relieve bloating. Tomatoes are also a source of lycopene, which is a powerful antioxidant. Research found that lycopene may help protect skin from sun damage and reduce the risk of prostate cancer. The absorption of lycopene is greater from processed tomatoes (such as canned tomatoes, tomato paste, ketchup, soup and juice) than fresh tomatoes. This is because the food processing breaks down the tomato cell matrix and makes the lycopene more available. Addition of oil to tomatoes during cooking also greatly increases the absorption of lycopene.

 

Extra dietary tips that can help you feel less constipated and bloated:

  • Aim for 5 or 6 small meals/ snacks each day on a regular schedule. Do not skip meals!
  • Slowly increase the amount of fibre you eat to 25 to 35 grams per day. Choose whole grains (such as whole wheat, rye, oats, bran, and brown rice), seeds, nuts, and fruits and vegetables.
  • Drink plenty of fluids – aim at least 8 cups per day. You may need even more with higher amounts of dietary Fluid helps your body process fibre without discomfort.
  • If you experience a lot of bloating and wind, limit intake of gas-producing foods such as legumes and lentils, onion, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, leeks, sugar-free candies or chewing gum, and beverages sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup or sorbitol.

 

Sally’s Nutrition Blog @ Hong Kong Tatler: http://hk.asiatatler.com/wellness/5-foods-to-eat-for-a-flat-belly

5 DIETITIAN-APPROVED NUTRITION TIPS TO GET FIT FOR SUMMER!

By Sally Shi-Po Poon (Dietitian)

 

With summer coming up, everybody would love to have a slim body shape ready to hit the beach! Here are some practical tips to help you get fit and healthy:

 

  1. Very often people go straight on a low-carbohydrate diet when they want to lose weight. However many of them experience weight rebound once they have gone off the diet. Comparing the a low carbohydrate (Zone), a very low-fat diet (Ornish) , and a very low carbohydrate (Atkins) diets to each other and to a typical calorie-restricted (Weight Watchers) diet, research found them all to have a similar impact on weight. The Ornish diet and the Atkins diet had the poorest compliance rates. The study concluded that compliance and caloric deficits are keys to successful weight loss.

 

  1. There are 9 calories in every gram of fat, regardless of what type of fat it is. Consuming high levels of calories – regardless of the source – can lead to weight gain. Consuming high levels of saturated or trans fats (e.g. full fat dairy, animal products, butter and pastries) can lead to heart disease and stroke. For good health, the majority of the fats that you eat should be monounsaturated or polyunsaturated (e.g. fish, olive oil, avocado, nuts and seeds). However, you still need to control your portions; for example, 100g avocado (half piece) provides 160 kcal and 15g fat; and 1 oz. of almonds (23 kernels) provides 164 kcal and 14g fat!

 

  1. Go low GI (Glycaemic Index)! Wholegrains such as brown rice, quinoa, barley, rye, whole wheat pasta, buckwheat noodles, wholegrain bread, and oatmeal, carry lower GI values that make you feel fuller for longer. So you experience fewer cravings for junk foods!

 

  1. If you drink alcohol, moderate your consumption to no more than 2 alcohol units a day as alcohol is high in calories and harmful to health. Alcohol contains 7 calories per gram, almost the same calories as fat. For example, 175ml glass of wine (13%) provides 159 calories and that’s equivalent to 2.3 alcohol units. So it’s definitely not only the beer that makes your belly grow!

 

  1. Is it hunger or craving? Be aware of how your emotions affect what you want to eat. For example, do you eat more when you’re feeling angry, upset, lonely or bored? Use distractions to help control craving. For example, go for a walk, phone a friend, take a bath or apply a face mask.

 

Remember there is no quick fix and making changes to your lifestyle can require a lot of effort. When you achieve the target, reward your success with a gift that is non-food-related… maybe new clothing for this summer?

 

Sally’s Nutrition Blog @ Hong Kong Tatler: http://hk.asiatatler.com/wellness/get-fit-for-summer-5-dietitian-approved-nutrition-tips