Which means the rose is flowing, the bbq be cranking, and if we’re lucky we’re sipping refreshing cocktails somewhere in our swimmies, basking in the sun on a boat/at the beach/ pool/ patio, etc.
Yeah summer is certainly awesome, but for those of us concerned about being #beachbodyready it can be a real source of stress. Who wants to be practically naked in front of a crowd when you can’t stop worrying about how your stomach looks like it has an alien inside of it and you’re seriously regretting eating that burger and ALL THE fries last night.
Trust- I’ve been there and I feel you.
Fortunately for you, you don’t have to go on a juice cleanse or spend hours in the gym for the next few days to get that tummy flattened and feeling tip-top for the rest of summer.
True story- you can actually beat belly bloat while still indulging in your favorite things (in moderation of course). Before we get into that, let’s break down a few things that cause bloat so you can better understand how to prevent it in the future.
What Causes Bloat?
Indigestion- Digestion is responsible for helping us break down the food we eat and absorb it’s nutrients. When your digestion is healthy- your body functions well. However when it’s not able to break down food well (for example you ate too much and as a result your stomach didn’t produce enough acid to break down the food) it leads to bloating, cramps and gas (woof).
A visit from Old Aunt Flo- Us lucky ladies not only get to experience this joy each month but the fun side effects that come with it (like how the last two weeks of our cycle our bodies retain more water causing us to swell and we don’t eliminate as as quickly- which of course results in bloating). And this fun fact leads me to…
Water Retention- The main cause of this is dehydration. This is because when our bodies don’t have enough water, we tend to hold onto more water as a result, causing us to get bloated and puffy.
Now that you know what causes bloat, below are 5 easy ways to beat belly bloat immediately.
1. Drink water (preferably with lemon)
When our bodies get dehydrated (which can happen not only from not drinking enough H2O but also excess AC, alcohol, caffeine and even taking antihistamines) our intestines lose their lubrication and stagnation occurs (and as mentioned above our bodies hold onto more water as a result). Regularly consuming water throughout the day will keep everything flowing nicely and release any retained fluids, leading to reduced swelling. Adding in a slice of lemon which will only help by dissolving mucus in the body and flushing and supporting the liver. Plus it’s the easiest habit to get into and it’s refreshing and delicious!
2. But NOT during meals
Before you go all HAM on the lemon H2O it’s key that you drink it regularly throughout the day and not a lot right before/during/after meals. Drinking water with meals will hinder your digestive process by diluting gastric acid (i.e. the juice in your stomach that literally breaks down food). Thus your tummy isn’t able to effectively digest your food and what do you think happens as a result (again refer above for the answer :)).
3. Go Herbal (and no I’m not talking the MARY J kind)
My go-to for a bloating belly? Peppermint tea! Not only is it delicious but the peppermint helps relieve spasms and cramping in the belly, ultimately dispelling bloating and fullness when we’ve overindulged. If mint isn’t your jam try other try natural remedies like ginger (an anti-inflammatory that eases digestion), fennel seeds (said to help relieve gas better than any other food) or some……
4. Shots! Shots! Shots!
Of my beloved apple cider vinegar that is. Raw apple cider vinegar encourages the growth of “good bacteria” in the gut and promotes optimal digestion and literally cleanses out our digestive tract (aka promotes bowel movements). This is just one of THE MANY reasons I’m obsessed with ACV. Try adding a tbsp to a glass of water 10 minutes before eating or make a salad dressing with ACV and eat it before the rest of your meal.
5. Move your body
If you sit at your desk staring at your computer all day (guilty as charged) you can now blame your job for giving you bloat (among other things)! Sitting on our arses for hours at a time is a major cause of bloating as it causes our GI tracts to move at a glacial pace. Movement also helps to lift the mood, which in turn gives us an endorphin rush and increases higher serotonin in the gut (low serotonin can lead to constipation and bloating). Try taking breaks and walking periodically, whether its around the room, on a treadmill, to the park or to make some lemon water ;). Any form of exercise will obviously help, but yoga is said to especially promote better digestion.