Disrupted daily routines can cause uncomfortable puffiness. Thankfully, these natural bloating remedies for flushing fluids, toxins and gas is easy!
Banish Cravings With Scented Soap
Fries, chips, soft drinks, and ice cream are a treasured part of summer fun, but too many “simple” carbs (the kind that enter your bloodstream quickly) cause your body to hang on to excess water.
Luckily, it’s easy to resist going back for seconds! When the urge hits, simply breathe in the scent of something you don’t want to eat, like soap. Australian researchers say activating senses with things unrelated to food (like taking a whiff of soap or floral perfume) quickly crowds out the mental space needed for puff-inducing cravings.
Whisk Away Excess Fluid With a Cool Dip
Permission to shirk your to-do’s in favor of a dip in the pool! Rising temperatures cause your body to hang on to up to 5 pounds of water weight in a misguided attempt to stay cool. But bobbing around in shoulder-deep cool water for 30 minutes relieves fluid retention, say University of North Carolina scientists, by doubling urine output over the next 2 hours.
The pressure of water on your skin forces trapped fluids back into circulation, allowing your body to funnel them to your kidneys, where they can be excreted.
Or sip iced tea! A cool glass of lightly sweetened iced tea beats the heat and bothersome bloat. Researchers at Eastern Virginia Medical School say caffeine and polyphenols dial down production of vasopressin, a hormone that causes your body to hold on to extra fluids during hot weather.
Outsmart Gas By Gardening
Picking tomatoes from your garden or snipping a few pretty blooms has already put you on the way to keeping painful belly bloat at bay. British researchers say that when you garden for just 15 minutes, you naturally inhale a beneficial soil probiotic (Mycobacterium vaccae) that ups your levels of digestive enzymes and stomach acid. This helps your body better break down food before it ferments and causes painful gassiness.
Or try this pre-meal: Before digging into a burger and baked beans, sip a glass of water mixed with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. Malic and tartaric acids in the sip speed stomach emptying and prevent gas buildup, which UCLA scientists say can shrink your waist in 24 hours.
Or try a gummy version, such as New Nordic Apple Cider Gummies ($14.99, Walgreens).
Calm Indigestion With Happy Thoughts
If you feel puffy after meals, close your eyes and daydream about a pain-free stomach. Doctors at New Jersey’s Morristown Memorial Hospital say doing so calms discomfort 68 percent in just 10 minutes. That’s because visualizing food sitting well increases your body’s output of the digestion-enhancing brain chemical secretin, which helps food move through your small intestine without triggering bloat.
Or have lunch al fresco! Enjoying your meal outdoors reduces your risk of belly-bloating indigestion, Cornell University researchers report. Catching 20 minutes of UV rays (without sunscreen) increases your body’s production of vitamin D, which heals and strengthens your digestive-tract lining to keep it running smoothly. Bonus: 15 minutes of fun in the sun increases stomach enzymes that help tame heart burn!
Flush Trapped Toxins With Spinach
Feeling bloated after a barbecue? Rich fare like hamburgers, along with dehydration, slows the lymphatic system, which shuttles bloat-inducing wastes and toxins out of your body.
Thankfully, the fix is as easy as tossing spinach into your next side salad or smoothie. University of Connecticut scientists say eating a cup of spinach daily flushes 3 pounds of bloat in as little as six days. The leafy green has vitamin K, folic acid and magnesium — a trio of nutrients that speeds toxins through the lymphatic system.
Or brush your skin! Make brisk strokes with a body brush across your legs, belly, and arms toward your heart. Stanford scientists say this improves lymphatic drainage to ease bloat.
Ease Constipation With a Coconut Massage
Can’t-go pressure distending your stomach? A study in the Journal of the Korean Academy of Nursing reveals that rubbing your stomach with coconut oil provides as much relief as a stool softener. Gentle abdominal pressure prods your digestive system to move waste along, while the scent of coconut oil alleviates feelings of stress that can disrupt regular bowel movements.
Or grab a footstool! Propping your feet up on a seven to nine inch stool when you’re on the toilet aligns your body at a better angle, which researchers at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center say eases strain for 90 percent of folks, plus noticeably reduces bathroom time.
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A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.