So, you gave in to holiday temptation. You dabbled with chocolates instead of dumbbells and croissants instead of cardio. Your meticulous fitness regimen crumbled under the pressure of multiple Christmas parties and family dinners. Perhaps you rationalized this by thinking that our bodies need more sweets and salty dishes to manage the harsher outdoor climate, and so you took that extra bite…or five. Either way, you and your body are rolling into the new year with a little “extra” in places, and you need it gone fast.
There are plenty of options for getting rid of stomach bloat, from rigorous gym routines to more drastic fat reduction treatment solutions, but at the end of the day, your diet is the biggest factor that contributes to belly bloat. So, try out these eight natural remedies for curing winter bloat in a hurry:
Water is amazing for digestion. It helps solids move smoothly through your system for fast elimination of food that is known to cause bloating (think food heavy in salt, sugar and fat). It also helps flush out sodium, a common culprit in bloating. Adding fresh lemons to your water further increases healthy digestion by getting rid of lingering toxins.
Ginger is a particularly effective type of carminative, an herb that can alleviate symptoms of digestive tract distress such as bloating, gas and cramps. Ginger helps release gas, improves circulation and even fights abdominal pain, thanks to gingerol (the main active component of fresh ginger). For easy consumption, add half a teaspoon of freshly-grated ginger to a cup of hot water for a soothing tea.
Foods rich in potassium are a fantastic remedy for bloating. Without potassium, your body holds on to extra sodium and water. Potassium helps flush out this excess salt and regulate sodium levels, so stock up on fresh fruit and vegetables like bananas, avocados, leafy greens and citrus fruits like oranges.
A lot of bloating stems from constipation, and one of the best ways to have regular bowel movements is to eat fiber-rich food. Try whole grains, nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables, beans and other legumes for your fiber intake. Women under 50 years old should get 25 grams of fiber daily while men under 50 should have 38 grams per day.
Be careful not to overdo it at the start -your body needs to build up a fiber tolerance gradually. Too much fiber all at once can actually cause buildup, so make sure you drink lots of water alongside your food.
5. Digestive enzymes
Digestive enzymes aid in healthy digestion by breaking down fat, protein and carbohydrates, and they reduce bloating and other gastrointestinal issues. There are three different types of digestive enzymes- amylase enzymes break down carbs, lipase enzymes help digest fats and protease enzymes aid in the digestion of protein. Papaya, pineapple and grapefruit are great examples of fruits high in digestive enzymes, so pick up one of each the next time you’re at the supermarket. However, if these fruits aren’t in season, try digestive enzyme supplements as an alternative.
Studies have shown magnesium can eliminate belly bloat by neutralizing stomach acid that can cause indigestion. Magnesium also helps to relax the intestinal walls, enabling the release of gas and lowering water retention in the body. Bananas, fish and quinoa are all excellent sources of magnesium, and so are dark, leafy green vegetables and whole grains.
7. Omega-3 Fats
If you’re a fan of seafood, you’re in luck. Regular consumption of salmon and other fish is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, nutrients which reduce bloating and inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract. Omega-3 fatty acids not only calm and reduce gastrointestinal distress but heal as well, lowering sensitivities to foods that cause inflammation over time.
Consuming bifidobacteria, found in probiotics, has been proven to relieve gastrointestinal tract stress, specifically bloating, cramping and flatulence. When looking for sources of bifidobacteria, keep your eyes peeled for yogurt with this specific strain of probiotic on its label. While probiotics are fantastic for general healthy immune function, bifidobacteria is the only strain of probiotic proven to help with symptoms of intestinal distress.
Implementing the 8 Remedies
Adopting 8 new tips into your routine may seem overwhelming, but the truth is that they all fit seamlessly into a well-organized meal plan. Unsurprisingly, the most important meal to pack with nutrients is your breakfast. If you only leave yourself 20 minutes to make and eat your meal in the morning, you’ll end up consuming cereal or a muffin, which are heavy on carbs and low on bloat-busting nutrients. So, plan ahead and prepare your potassium-rich fruits and vegetables the night before. If you find yourself in a rush, blend up some oats, banana, pineapple, probiotic yogurt, and peanut butter, and take a smoothie to go. Experiment with different combinations of fruit and vegetables until you find a recipe you love. You’ll find yourself with an influx of energy to carry you through your day or workout, and you’ll be well on your way to getting your pre-December body back.
Consuming the appropriate amount of Omega-3 fats can be trickier. Typically, people have an unhealthy balance of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fats. Omega-6 is present in common ingredients such as corn, soy, and canola, so naturally, humans have an overabundance of Omega-6 in their body. Try incorporating seafood into at least two meals a week. If you’re one of those people who can’t stand the thought of eating seafood, consider an Omega-3 supplement to keep your ratio in check.
Lastly, you can kill two birds with one stone by enjoying ginger tea first thing in the morning. After a long, restful night of sleeping, your body is dehydrated. A cup of tea is a great first step in getting your hydration back on track. Ginger tea is naturally caffeine free, so it may not be a perfect substitute for your morning coffee, but it’s packed with vitamin C and magnesium and is an excellent way to start your day.
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