5 Nighttime Rituals That Beat Bloat
By Dana Leigh Smith
Image waking up and suddenly looking five pounds lighter. The puffy, bloated belly that’s been haunting you for days (and seemingly came out of nowhere), poof, just gone!
Next time you’re feeling like a pufferfish and want to calm your bloated belly, devote some time to the evening rituals below. They all blast away uncomfortable belly bloat and gas and help you stay on track toward weight loss success.
When you finally get home after a long day, you’re totally famished — we get it. But that doesn’t mean you should scarf down your dinner in a hurry. Eating too quickly causes you to swallow excess air, which can lead to uncomfortable gas and an inflated stomach. Slowing down and chewing with your mouth closed, on the other hand, can have the opposite effect. Fight off the urge to down your entire meal in one giant bite by snacking on something like a small piece of fruit or an ounce of nuts on your way home. Then, after you’ve settled in, sit down and have a leisurely supper.
Drink for Lemon Water
When people retain fluid, they tend to skimp on water because they think it will make their bloat worse. Since water retention is the body's way of holding onto fluid so it doesn’t dehydrate, the opposite is true. Drinking lots of water (and skipping dehydrating booze) signals the body that it no longer needs to hold onto every last drop to stay hydrated. And since lemons are a natural diuretic, adding them to your glass will speed up the process. (Not a lemon fan? Whip up a glass of spa water with cucumbers. Just make sure you drink from a glass and not through a straw. Sipping through a straw can cause you to take in extra air and experience a different—but equally uncomfortable—type of feeling.
Instead of lounging around after supper, head outside for a 15-minute nighttime stroll—it’s a great way to get things moving again when you are feeling backed up and bloated. And if you regularly experience constipation, consider making walking part of your nightly routine. Doing so can help your digestive system function optimally day-to-day and keep future puffiness at bay. Worried about exercising so close to bedtime? Don’t be! Research shows that active people are up to 67 percent more likely to get a good night's sleep—no matter what time of day they exercise. And if you tend to toss and turn, check out these tips for how to get better sleep.
The kids won't stop screaming and your new boss is a total nightmare. Saying that you're stressed out would be the understatement of the year—and it may also be the reason you’re experiencing digestive issues and bloat. To get back to your more svelte self, make time to unwind three or four times a week (even if it’s just for 20 minutes) before bed. Go for a walk, call a friend, read a magazine or take an Epsom salt bath. Though relaxing in any tub is relaxing, adding two cups of Epsom salt may help deflate your belly more effectively by pulling excess water out of your body. To avoid dehydration, only do this ritual once a week.
Inflammation, often brought on by spicy foods, dairy and chemical additives, may be to blame for your puffy tummy. According to numerous studies, ginger, traditionally used to ease stomach pain, blocks several genes and enzymes in the body that promote bloat-causing inflammation. If you prefer the taste of chai tea, typically made from a blend of cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and ginger, that may also do the trick— but may be less potent. Not a fan of ginger or chai? There are plenty of other teas that make great bloating remedies.