When one drink at Happy Hour turns into a nachos-and-fries fest, bloat only compounds your morning-after guilt and makes it harder to squeeze into your jeans. That food baby is a result of a high sodium intake and/or poor digestion, and eating is probably the last thing on your mind. As tempting as it sounds to shun your fridge, digging into foods that fight bloat will help you naturally de-puff.
“If you have day-after guilt and you feel gross, there are simple things you can do,” Long Island Weight Counseling, Inc. president Linda Fiveson said. “You want foods that increase the fluid in your system because that helps your digestional tract move faster.”
To help flatten your tummy, I got Fiveson and Dawn Lerman, a New York-based nutritionist and author of My Fat Dad: A Memoir of Food, Love and Family, With Recipes, to share their go-to bloat-banishing bites.
If you’re bloated and backed up, you need fiber and fluid. A kiwi, which has 2.1 grams of fiber, packs the ultimate one-two punch. “Kiwi is one of the best in terms of bringing water and fiber into the digestive system,” Fiveson said. Kiwi is a prebiotic, which is a fiber found in plants that helps nourish good bacteria already in in your body and keeps your digestive system healthy.
This crunchy veggie acts as a natural diuretic. “It is loaded with water, which helps to flush out water weight and helps fight bloat,” Lerman said. “The more water you take in the more you pee and the more you pee, the flatter your stomach feels.”
When it comes to picking foods that fight bloat, Fiveson sees spinach as her personal miracle worker. “For me, cooked spinach is magic,” she said. “It puts fluid into the intestines. When you’re eating carbohydrates and drinking alcohol, your body gets dry, so it needs water.”
“Maintaining your overall potassium-sodium level is essential for water balance,” Lerman said. Potassium-rich foods like bananas regulate sodium levels in your body, which are likely sky high if you overloaded on bar food last night. Have a banana, which also has soluble fiber that can help with constipation, with your breakfast.
Asparagus, a prebiotic like kiwi, is a de-bloating superfood. “It works to balance the bacteria in the GI tract,” Fiveson said. A cup of it contains about 18 grams of magnesium, which brings fluid into the system. Like bananas, it also contains insoluble fibers.