Instant debloat: eat now, feel lighter tomorrow

10 things to do tonight to de-bloat by tomorrow
by Kate Shapland

Feeling bloated? It happens to the best of us. If your body reacts to down-time or an excess of rich food and alcohol by holding onto water and making you feel like the Michelin Man (when you felt quite trim the day before) food is an antedote.

It just needs to be the right food. Alongside at least a litre of still water, these are my go-to’s to get back on track:

YOGHURT

Packed with probiotics – that’s good bacteria that populate your GI tract to support a healthy digestive process – which are an important piece in the big picture of gut health, especially when you’re experiencing bloating. Take it fat free to bump up the protein content and if you find lactose difficult to digest try kefir, which has plenty of probiotic bacteria too.

OAT BRAN

My all-time favourite bloat-buster. Oat bran is the outer layer of the oat grain which is removed when the grain is harvested to make it more palatable. It’s sold separately as a product and linked to health benefits like improved blood sugar control, healthy bowel function and lower blood pressure and cholesterol.

Where it’s useful in bloating (and treating cellu-lite as part of a lifestyle plan) is that it absorbs excess waste/fluid in the digestive tract, so it supports the lymph, and that quickly reduces puffiness. I take oat bran every morning in fat-free yoghurt.

GINGER

This herbal gem contains a digestive enzyme called zingibain, which helps the body break down protein. It also relaxes the intestines, reducing inflammation in your colon, which helps the food you eat pass through your system more easily and in turn reduce bloat. Try it in a cup of hot water after a meal or before bed.

FENNEL

A natural diuretic that help suppress intestinal gas and water bloat. The compounds anethole, fenchone and estragole in fennel seeds have antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties that relax intestinal muscle and allow trapped gas to dissipate. Add the seeds to tea and slice fennel bulb up into salad.

BANANAS

Full of the potassium that helps greatly with bloat. Part of the reason bodies bloat is because you’ve consumed too much sodium. Potassium-rich foods – avocado and white beans are two others – help flush out sodium and water.

LEMON

Yes, the hot water and lemon trick actually works, mainly because lemon juice is very similar in acidity to the stomach’s digestive juices so it relieves bloating and other forms of indigestion. By drinking lemon juice regularly, you’re doubling down on hydration plus getting acids to help your GI tract move things along faster.

CUCUMBER

Full of water to help keep you hydrated and help flush out excess water from cells and gas from your GI tract. What’s more cucumbers contain sulfur and silicon, which act as a mild natural diuretic that makes you pee.

BEETROOT

Another potassium-rich food which can counteract sodium bloat in the body. In fact one cup of beetroot has more potassium, fibre and protein than a medium banana, and few calories. Add beetroot to salad, roast them (yum) or slice them into sticks and make beet fries.

CELERY & ITS ROOT

A powerhouse for fighting water retention because it contains a compound that acts like a diuretic. It makes you pee, basically, so it can help with any water bloat your’re feeling. Slice celery into salads and cut the root into cubes to saute with thyme and onion.

PINEAPPLE

Another water-rich fruit, pineapple contains a property called bromelain, which is thought to assist digestion by breaking down proteins in the stomach that may otherwise cause bloating. Pop it in a smootie or just eat a slice for a snack.