We all know how the symptoms of belly bloat can sabotage your plans and mood like no other. But the question is, how do you get rid of it? What do you do when you're supposed to be somewhere, in something (the pants with that button, your little black dress, perhaps even a bathing suit), and suddenly your stomach looks and feels like you swallowed a basketball?
For the answer and some de-bloating food suggestions, we turned to Katrina Hodgson and Karena Dawn, the insanely fit trainers and nutrition gurus behind lifestyle brand Tone It Up. After all, they both know a thing or two about achieving and maintaining a flat tummy.
Meet the Expert
Katrina Hodgson and Karena Dawn are the fitness trainers-turned-entrepreneurs behind Tone It Up, an online community offering workouts, fitness tips, and healthy recipes.
Sip Lemon Water
If you only have a few hours before an event, Karen and Katrina recommend drinking some water with fresh lemon and a dash of cayenne pepper for a de-bloating tonic. Not only has lemon been shown to have a mild diuretic effect, adding it to water makes H2O a little more palatable, so, in turn, you'll drink more. Aim for four to six cups per day.
Drink Coconut Water
Sipping coconut water helps to de-bloat. "You really want to stay hydrated to flush out any extra sodium," so just keep sipping the right fluids, they say.
Drink coconut water after a workout to help you rehydrate and replenish electrolytes lost through sweating.
Take Some Turmeric
Like cayenne pepper, turmeric is a detoxifying spice. The Tone It Up founders buy it in powder form, but you can also get drops of turmeric, and add a teaspoon (in either form) to water, tea, juice, or a smoothie before an event.
"There are foods like asparagus that are a natural diuretic. So if it is a little further ahead of time (a few hours versus just one, for example), you can eat some asparagus to help you lose some bloat," they say. Just make sure to not sprinkle any salt on it! Sodium causes bloat, so lay off the shaker before an event.
Make Ginger Your Friend
"Ginger is great for de-bloating, whether you make ginger tea or have fresh juice with ginger or a smoothie in which you include ginger," the women say. "We love fresh turmeric, ginger, and lemon for making a juice; that's our favorite. We like taking shots of ginger, too. If you don't have a juicer, you can slice up little bits of ginger—it's hard to grind up in a smoothie, so it's almost like you have to mince it, make it really small, and then throw it in the blender."
A further benefit, Hodgson and Dawn explain, is relief from the menstrual cramps that cause bloating. In fact, in a scientific study of the effect of ginger on dysmenorrhea (a.k.a. menstrual cramps), it was revealed that ginger "had a statistically significant effect on relieving intensity and duration of pain."
Drink Peppermint Tea
If you prefer the taste or want something in addition to water and coconut water, try sipping tea to ease the feeling of fullness around your middle. Teas like peppermint or ginger will alleviate bloat.
Spinach also helps lessen belly bloat by pushing fiber through your digestive tract. Your best bet for reaping its de-bloating benefits is to toss some spinach into a slimming smoothie along with ginger, turmeric, and coconut water.
Sweat It Out
"If you have an hour before the event, there's nothing like a little sweat session for getting rid of bloat," they say. "Do one of our video workouts, whether you're in a hotel room or your family room; they can be done anywhere. Even just sweating a little bit will help de-bloat you."
De-Bloating Colada Smoothie Recipe
(Adapted from the Tone It Up Nutrition Plan)
1/2 cup coconut water
1 1/2 cups diced pineapple (fresh or frozen)
1/2 inch peeled ginger knob
1/2 cup ice
Handful of spinach
1 tsp. turmeric
Dash of cayenne pepper