For those of us who bloat, summer can seem like torture with the hot sun and the bathing suits – oh, the bathing suits! That’s why we love these tips from Dr. John Cluley, a local gastroenterologist also known as the “Fit Gut MD,” who recently shared his simple solutions to “beat the summer bloat”.
Wake up with Water. Dr. John recommends waking up with water infused with ginger and lemon to kickstart the body for digestion. Lemon and ginger both help stimulate digestive juices, allowing for better processing and absorption of what you eat. This in turn leads to less bloating. (Read more about the benefits of lemons here) *
Do it: simply cut up a fresh lemon and chop some fresh ginger and let it sit in a pitcher of water in the refrigerator overnight, drink the water throughout the day. This is also a healthy, delicious alternative for those who are looking for an alternative to soda.
Get Things Moving. Next, Dr. John says that constipation is one of the biggest issues he sees daily, and it is a very common cause for bloating. To kick the constipation, he suggests more fiber. Fiber helps push food through the gut, and some kinds of fiber help nourish your good gut bacteria (read more about Fiber here).*
Do it: you can find fiber in foods like fresh vegetables, fresh fruit and whole grains. Dr. John also recommends supplementing with Organic Digest, which contains 5 grams of fiber from chia, oats and Jerusalem artichoke. You can add Organic Digest to anything – yogurt, cereal, smoothies, or his recommendation: overnight oats (get the recipe here).*
Steer Clear of Salt and Artificial Sweeteners. Salt can make you feel swollen all over; and your midsection is no exception that’s because salt leads to water retention. Artificial sweeteners cannot be absorbed by your gut, so they are ultimately broken down and fermented by your gut bacteria, which leads to excess gas formation and bloating. Chewing gum typically contains artificial sweeteners, but it also causes you to swallow more air – which can lead to even more bloating.
Do it: Start slowly decreasing your salt intake when possible. Instead of salty snacks, keep fresh vegetable sticks or unsalted chips or pretzels handy. Gum chewers, if you can’t kick the habit, find gum that doesn’t contain artificial sweeteners.
Finish with Fennel. After a meal, reach for fennel tea. This herb has traditionally been used to support digestion and counter gas, which will help curb the bloated feeling that you get after meals.
Do it: You can make your own fennel tea at home or pick it up a box in the tea aisle. To make it at home, simply steep 1 tsp. of fennel seeds in hot water for about 10 minutes. *
You can learn more great gut health tips by following Dr. John on Instagram @fitgutmd.