Overdoing it on alcohol can not only cause a wicked hangover, it can leave you feeling tired and looking bloated. There's no single cure for bloating and you don't need a complicated cleanse or detox to get rid of it after a night of over imbibing. Just make smart drink choices and healthy decisions the day after to beat the post-drinking bloat.
1. Ditch Your Straw
Be sure to drink straight from your glass to avoid the battle of the bloat. While a straw might be more convenient for some drinks, like an icy blended margarita, you're swallowing air with every sip, which contributes to bloating.
Slow down when you drink, too. That not only helps protect you from accidentally drinking too much, but it also keeps you from swallowing too much air.
2. Avoid Fizzy Mixers and Drinks
Choosing the right drinks can make the difference between enjoying your evening and feeling bloated the next day. Avoid drinks with effervescence and carbonation, whether that's beer, cider, champagne or hard alcohol mixed with soda. Carbonation comes from air bubbles in your drink, and swallowing air can cause bloating. (Or worse, flatulence or burping. Not pretty!)
Instead of carbonated beer or cider, try a glass of wine. Make cocktails from non-carbonated beverages, like juice, such as a classic vodka and orange juice or grapefruit juice and gin.
3. Choose Low-Sodium Drinks and Food
Pick drinks that don't contain added salt . You likely don't think of sodium as a major culprit in drink-related bloating, but a salted glass rim or salted caramel or chocolate cocktail adds to your daily sodium intake. Keeping your sodium intake in check is important for preventing bloating -- too much sodium, and you'll retain extra water.
If the damage is already done, minimize your bloat by making lower-sodium diet choices the next morning. Start your day off right with a light fruit smoothie.
4. Avoid Artificial Sweeteners and Limit Sugar
Avoid diet sodas as well as diet juice cocktails (like diet cranberry juice) that might contain added sweetener. While "diet" drinks might seem healthier thanks to their low calorie count, the artificial sweeteners used to flavor them can contribute to bloating. The reason is because some people have trouble processing artificial sweeteners. Bacteria in your digestive tract converts sorbitol, a type of sweetener, into gas, explains nutrition consultant Chris Fenn in an interview with the Mirror Online.
And avoid drinks loaded with sugar. Sugar in your diet triggers your body to release insulin, a hormone that controls your blood sugar levels. But insulin also makes you retain sodium, so you'll get a similar bloating effect to if you ate a salty meal.
You don’t need to deprive yourself of all sugar, just limit yourself to one very sugar drink, and go for less sweet options, like wine, for the rest of the night.
5. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
Drink plenty of water. It may seem counterintuitive, but drinking plenty of water actually helps with water retention and bloating. Water helps flush excess sodium out of your body, and staying hydrated is especially important after you drink, since alcohol naturally dehydrates your body.
Alternate alcoholic drinks with glasses of water throughout the night. (This will also protect you from drinking too much. ) In addition, drink 16 ounces of water before you go to bed, and sip water the next day. If you’re bored with plain water? Check out our tips for making flavored water here.
6. Try DIY Ginger Peppermint Tea
Sip DIY herbal tea to help boost hydration. If you drink a combination of ginger and peppermint tea, not only does it help to reduce bloating, but it can also help you recover from a hangover. Love that two-for-one! Both ginger and peppermint have proven anti-nausea benefits, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, and peppermint can also relieve bloating and indigestion.
To make, pour just-boiling water over a handful of muddled peppermint leaves and a few slices of sliced fresh ginger, and steep for 5 to 10 minutes. Adjust the strength of the tea to suit your tastes: If it's too weak, steep for longer or add more mint and ginger; if it's too strong, dilute it in more water.
7. Drink a Black Lemonade
Hit up your local juice bar the day before your night out to stock up on charcoal lemonade, sometimes called black lemonade. Activated charcoal absorbs chemicals in your digestive tract, and it can absorb the chemicals and additives found in many alcoholic drinks, said Judy Fulop, a naturopathic physician, in an interview with Buzzfeed.
Just make sure you allow for two hours to pass between drinking black lemonade and taking medication or eating a meal. Charcoal might absorb the active compounds in your meds, leading to side effects, or absorb nutrients to lower the nutritional value of your meal.
8. Get Moving
Move your body. Chances are, you don't feel up to strenuous boxing or hot yoga. That's OK. Simply going for a leisurely walk around the block, relaxing your muscles with a stretching routine at home or going to a gentle restorative yoga class will offer some benefits. Feeling sick and stressed can boost water retention, so taking a few minutes for physical activity -- no matter how gentle -- can help flush away excess fluid.
9. Go Back to Your Healthy Diet
After a night of drinking, simply getting back into your daily routine will naturally ease bloating. Load up on fruits and veggies, whole grains, nonfat dairy, lean proteins and healthy fats, like nuts and avocado. A healthy diet is naturally low in bloat-inducing nutrients like sugar and salt, and fruits and veggies are loaded with water, so they'll boost your hydration levels.
Don't feel like cooking? Order in a salad, whole-grain wrap or a light veggie soup. Planning ahead can also help -- try cooking brown rice and chopping some veggies the day before you drink, so you can throw together a light, detoxifying grain bowl in less than five minutes. If you don't feel up to solid food, try a nourishing miso broth.
10. … But Don’t Try to Cleanse
Lots of health food stores market fresh-pressed juices or lemonades as detox-boosting drinks that will cure everything from headaches to hangovers. And while a low-sugar green vegetable juice can make up part of a bloat-busting diet after a night out drinking, you don't need to shell out lots of money for a multi-day cleanse to recover. Your liver and kidneys naturally cleanse toxins from your system 24/7, and they just need proper hydration and a healthy diet to work. Cleanses can deprive your body of essential nutrients, which might actually delay your recovery.
- University of Michigan: Insulin and Renal Sodium Retention in Obese Adolescents
- Mirror Online: How to Beat the Bloat: 10 Ways to a Flatter Tummy After Overindulging at Christmas
- Buzzfeed: Here’s The Real Deal With Drinking Activated Charcoal
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Ginger
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Peppermint