Brace yourself, because it’s officially time to prepare for spring and and inevitable onslaught of increasingly skimpy outfits. Crop tops, we see you!
Around this time, there are few feelings less fun than being bloated and puffy for no apparent reason — so with that in mind, we chatted with health, food and fitness experts to find out their tips for clearing up your digestive issues — and feeling less bloated — fast.
Keep scrolling to start learning, but keep in mind that if you’re feeling really uncomfortable, you should probably just head straight to your doctor’s office.
Avoid 'Sugar Alcohol' in Packaged Foods
"There are a lot of ways companies try to make unhealthy food less unhealthy; sugar alcohols are an example. You’ll see them listed as an ingredient on snacks marketed as having a low impact on blood sugar. Sugar alcohols [like sorbitoln and maltitol] are a type of low-digestible carbohydrate (LDCs) added for flavoring, but [they] aren’t absorbed by the small intestine. If you’re trying to manage your blood sugar or calories, this can sound desirable; unfortunately, it’s not without side effects." — Dr. Edward Group, chiropractor and naturopath
Take a Digestive Herb
"Certain herbs help to relax the muscles of the digestive tract and aid gas and bloating by stimulating gastric secretions. My favorite three remedies include fennel, mint and citrus peel, and peppermint oil, which is actually a licensed drug for irritable bowel syndrome in Europe. Look out for these herbs in teas and take a cup after eating and throughout the day. I suggest making a strong cup (two tea bags per cup) and putting a plate on top of the mug to trap in the essential oils. You can also try taking a peppermint oil capsule, 300 mg, three times a day."— Daniela Turley, medicinal herbalist
Cut Back on Sodium (No, Really)
"Consuming excessive amounts of sodium — as commonly found in packaged, canned, frozen and fast food — can cause the body to retain water, resulting in temporary fluid weight gain and feelings of 'puffiness' or bloat. To avoid excessive sodium consumption, opt for foods that are closest to their natural state (such as fresh fruits, vegetables and grains), limit the consumption of prepackaged foods that contain high levels of sodium, and if possible, avoid adding additional salt to food before eating." — Jessica Matthews, ACE personal trainer, health coach and yoga instructor
"I love fermented foods and strongly recommend them to all of my coaching clients. When I started eating sauerkraut and other fermented foods, so many of my digestive health issues like bloating started to disappear (as well as my strongest sweet cravings)."— Robyn Youkilis, certified health coach from the Institute For Integrative Nutrition and author of "Go with Your Gut"