A bloated belly can sabotage your plans and mood like no other. What do you do when you're supposed to be somewhere, in something (you know, pants that button, your little black dress, or perhaps even a bathing suit), and suddenly your stomach looks and feels like you swallowed a basketball? How do you banish bloat in its tracks when you've got a bloat emergency? We posed that very question to the insanely fit trainers and nutrition gurus behind lifestyle brand Tone It Up, Katrina Hodgson and Karena Dawn, who know a thing or two about a flat tummy.
Meet the Expert
- Katrina Hodgson is a personal trainer and co-founder of Tone It Up. Previously a fitness model, Katrina is now focused on translating her love for fitness and a healthy lifestyle to the Tone It Up brand.
- Karena Dawn is a personal trainer and co-founder of Tone It Up. With her Bachelor’s Degree in Health Promotion and Fitness, Dawn is focused on translating her love of fitness and a healthy lifestyle to the Tone It Up brand.
Spice it Up
On that note, you might be bloated because of indigestion or gastrointestinal distress. Cayenne pepper stimulates digestion, eases gas, and can relieve pressure and cramping. It's basically a bloated belly's most formidable match when you're in a bind, so toss a teaspoon into your drink of choice (more options below).
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 girls 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 have a juicer you can juice a bunch of ginger and have it on hand, and either take a shot of it or pour it into your smoothies and mix it up. We make huge batches of it to have on hand. 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, then throw it in the blender." A further benefit, they explain, is relief from the menstrual cramps that cause bloating.
Drink Peppermint Tea
If you prefer the taste or want something in addition to water and coconut water, "teas like peppermint tea or ginger tea will alleviate bloat," they say.
Peppermint is rich in antioxidants, as well as antibacterial and antiviral properties. It eases nausea, promotes better digestion, and strengthens the immune system.
"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.
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 smoothie along with ginger, turmeric, and coconut water.
Here's a full recipe, adapted from the Tone It Up Nutrition Program:
1/2 cup coconut water
1 1/2 cups pineapple (fresh or frozen), diced
1/2-inch ginger knob, peeled
1/2 cup ice
Handful of spinach
1 tsp. turmeric
Dash of cayenne pepper
Sweat it Out
"If you do 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 in a hotel room or your family room; they can be done anywhere. Even just sweating a little bit will help de-bloat you."