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Are you bloated? Is your body holding retaining excess water? Find out which ingredients are your enemy, and which you should eat more of.

Are you a little unhappy with your figure? An excessive intake of calories combined with insufficient physical activity usually ensures that you'll have more fat on your body. A healthy, balanced diet and plenty of exercise means you're pretty likely to be happy with your body. 

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But... how much of what you think of as "fat" is fat, and how much is water retention?

You might be surprised that you can look quite a bit slimmer by eating certain foods while avoiding others. Let's take a closer look the foods that fight water retention, and those that make you look bloated.

Ingredients You Should Avoid If You Don't Want To Look Bloated

Almost everyone is aware that too much salt is going to make your blood pressure rise, and many people also know that it can make you look bloated. Do you know how much is too much though? The American Heart Association recommends that you don't consume more than 1,500 milligrams of salt daily, yet the average American is closer to 3,400 milligrams

If your diet contains more processed and fast foods than you care to admit, you don't even have to add additional salt to your meals to end up on the wrong side of that daily limit. Salt is a good first enemy to fight if you want to see how much better your body can look if you retain fewer fluids. 

How? Check the salt content on any foods you buy, and add natural salts like Himalaya or celery salt to your diet instead of table salt — or simply go without. 

You might think cutting down on salt is going to be a challenge — and you're probably right — but that's nothing compared to the starches people living in developed western nations rely on so much. Potatoes, bread, pasta and other flour-based products may be your trusted staples. They're versatile, quick to prepare, and make you feel satisfied. They may also be the reason you are bloated, since they cause water retention and rely on the bacteria that live in the intestines to digest them. These bacteria make you gassy and bloated. 

When you choose what to eat, you also inadvertently decide what not to consume. Starchy carbohydrates are important sources of energy and will also supply you with a range of vitamins and minerals (calcium, iron, and B vitamins). Yet overdosing on them means you'll consume fewer fruits and vegetables, which you also need and a few of which actively fight bloating and water retention. 

Stay away from carbonated drinks, especially those that contain large amounts of artificial sweeteners. 

These drinks lead to low-grade dehydration — which, contrary to popular belief, actually increases water retention. They also cause gas. The best drink is still water. 
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