After a few days of delicious, rich food and endless glasses of champagne, forget crash diets and eat your way to feeling better. According to clinical herbalist Guido Masé author of The Wild Medicine Solution, healing your body and beating the bloat can be done by adding aromatic plants to your diet. These can stop that bloated feeling, while eliminating gas and cramping associated with everything from motion sickness to IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). He says "They relax the smooth muscle bands that line our digestive tract."
Masé shares his short list of foods and herbs that help ease digestive distress the natural way. And thanks to a strong connection between your gut and general well-being, they might also rev your metabolism, help with weight management and as a bonus leave you with glowing-looking skin.
Peppermint tea works wonders: "It works both hot and iced," says Masé. Peppermint can help relieve spasms and cramping in the belly, and it dispels feelings of bloating and fullness when we've overindulged."
Ginger root is a healer: Known as one of the best natural remedies for nausea: "Clinical research finds it beats Dramamine for nausea and works wonders for morning sickness," Masé explains. "Add it to a stir-fry, make tea with freshly grated root, honey and hot water, or eat a piece of crystallised ginger (great when travelling) to help ease digestion. Ginger is also a great anti-inflammatory that helps relax the digestive tract."
Crunch on fennel seeds and the bulb: "A small pinch of these seeds quickly relieves gas and bloating," says Masé. "If you suffer from chronic bloating, consider using the bulb grated or sliced raw in a salad, or roasted with other summer vegetables."
Apple cider vinegar calms digestion including acid reflux: "It works because the valve at the bottom of the throat closes tightly when stimulated by the vinegar and helps keep stomach acid where it belongs," says Masé. Plus, it's a fermented food that's full of healthy bacteria essential for keeping your gut balanced and functioning well.
Radicchio brightens up any salad: A type of chicory, its bitter flavour has some functional purposes as well. "The bitter flavour primes digestive function enhancing the production of enzymes in the gut that help digestion." He suggests tossing it with olive oil, apple cider vinegar, and some salt and eating it before your main course to prepare your stomach.
After a few days of overindulging try these slight diet changes to avoid that bloated feeling:
Reduce the salt: Sodium found in processed foods is one of the biggest bloating culprits because it makes your body retain water. Fresh is best, and try seasoning your food with fresh herbs instead of extra salt.
Skip the sugar: Forget the box of chocolates you ate over the past few days, it's the artificial sweeteners found in sugar-free gum and diet fizz you need to avoid. Ingredients such as sorbitol, mannitol, and lactitol syrups are difficult for the stomach to break down, causing an excess of air and bloating.
Hydrate: Water will help flush bloating. And if you struggle to guzzle straight H20 try chilled coconut water, green tea, and juiced vegetables such as asparagus, cucumber with fennel. Cranberry juice diluted with four parts water is excellent.
Get moving: Sweating alone won't flush away bloating, but exercises that focus on your abdomen, like yoga and waist twists and stretching works the internal organs and can help you digest food much faster.