A bloated belly – often caused by gas, constipation, water retention or hormonal fluctuations – isn’t exactly what you need when trying to fit into those jeans you’ve been dying to wear. Fortunately, the bulgy bloating that so often contributes to a puffy looking mid-section can be remedied with a few useful techniques that help you feel better while whittling down that waist-line.
1. Trim down with Tea
Nothing unwinds the mind, soothes the soul and eases the emotional turmoil of the day like a hot cup of tea after a meal or before bed. And research shows that this ancient ritual is also an ancient remedy for digestion, detox and bloating issues. But not just any tea will do the trick.
Ginger tea has traditionally been used to ease nausea and stomach pain, and numerous studies have also shown that it blocks enzymes and genes that lead to bloat-causing stomach inflammation and distention. Dandelion tea is a natural diuretic, mild natural laxative and helps to regulate the digestive system, helping to relieve bloating, water retention, constipation and menstrual cramps (discover even more health benefits of dandelion root and delicious ways to drink it here). Peppermint tea has also been shown to be a muscle relaxant and to improve the motility of your GI tract, helping to relieve constipation-related bloating and discomfort. A 2015 study featured in the Journal of Food Biochemistry confirmed that fennel tea is an excellent inflammation reducer and post-meal flatulence fighter. Another study showed that the flavonoids and other compounds found in the hibiscus tea herb help to counteract bloating by regulating hormonal, water and electrolyte balance in the body. And then there’s good ol’ fashioned lemon tea. A squeeze of lemon in your brew contributes a shot of D-Limonene, a compound with natural diuretic effects that helps to fight water retention.
2. Purge Pudge with Potassium & Prebiotics
Potassium is a mineral that could help you deflate by balancing out excesses of other bloat-causing minerals, like sodium. It also promotes the circulation of body fluids and the proper functioning of cells and body organs. And not only do potassium-rich fruits and veggies – like bananas, beans, kiwis, dark leafy greens, dark chocolate, etc. – help control bloating with their high mineral content, but many of these plant foods are also rich in prebiotic fiber, which feeds the friendly bacteria that live in your gut and help with digestion and the elimination of gas. Find out how feeding your gut bacteria can also rocket-launch your metabolism and help you burn up fat faster.
While upping the potassium in your diet, lowering the sodium in your diet at the same time can also work wonders to battle the bloat. Limit your intake of processed foods, canned foods, fast food, deli meats and bagged salty nosh like chips, pretzels and crackers, all of which are Bloat Enemy Number One with their very high sodium content.
3. Sweat It Out
Your skin pores are another helpful organ to get rid of excess retained water, as well as other harmful toxins that build up in the body. Performing activities that get you sweating are a great way to detox and de-bloat at the same time.
A weekly sauna or steam can help you purge retained water and toxins, but not everyone has access to these amenities. Dalton Wong, celebrity trainer and founder of TwentyTwo Training, encourages his starlet clients to take a sweat-promoting detox bath once a week (and not more often than that, as excessive salt bathing can cause dangerous dehydration), that simply involves adding two heaping cups of Epsom salts to your bath water and soaking for twenty minutes.
And then, of course, there’s the tried-and-true de-bloating dependable that not only squeezes bucket-loads of sweat out of you, but also torques your metabolism and fires up your inner fat-burning furnace at the same time – Exercise! If you don’t have time for a lengthy workout on the day of an event you need to de-bloat for, than that morning, run up and down a set of stairs for a two minutes, fast as you possibly can. Then, for one minute, slow down your stair climb to a fast walk. Then speed up to a super fast run up and down the stairs again. Continue this pattern for ten minutes. This will make your heart rate rocket, your pores start to pour and your metabolism race.
Only got 10 minutes? Try this life-changing 10 Minute Workout that could re-shape your entire body.
After any kind of sweat session, be sure to drink lots and lots of water to prevent dehydration (another major bloat causer).
4. Smoothies to Smooth out your Tummy
You can down a heap load of scientifically proven de-bloating foods – like ginger, lemon, dark leafy greens, dandelion, cilantro, banana, pineapple, papaya, kiwi, dark chocolate, etc. – in one shot if you whip them all up in your blender. Make your own delicious bloat-fighting tonics like this Cleansing Green Detox Smoothie, Creamy Chocolate Anti-Oxidant Smoothie, Blissful Banana Walnut Smoothie or Energizing Electrolyte Smoothie.
5. Take a Break from Common Bloat Triggers
There are some common culprits that promote gassiness, water retention, constipation and wacko hormonal fluctuations that lead to bloating. Keeping away from these foods a few days before a big event will help you avoid bloating and keep your tummy looking trim. These include dairy foods, foods that contain refined sweeteners or artificial sweeteners, high-sodium processed foods, deli meats, fried foods, greasy foods, and refined grains and white flour.
Natural plant foods that cause some people to get gassy, like beans and nuts, can easily be turned into happy bloat-free fare by soaking them in water for a couple of hours before cooking or eating them. Soaking beans and nuts first helps to break down the compounds that make them difficult for some people to digest, eliminating their gas-causing potential before eating them.