Summer life can leave you with constipation and a bloated stomach. Between the BBQs, weddings, and travel, you’re out of your routine, eating different foods, and not sleeping or exercising regularly. Feeling like your abdomen contains an inflated beach ball can make you want to run from swimming pools and beach parties, but don’t let belly bloat ruin your summer.
While bloat isn’t always caused by things like diet, inactivity, and a change in routine, these are major factors for many of the patients we see at Parsley Health. The good news is that it’s easy to remedy with a few tweaks to your routine. You’ll feel summer-ready in no time.
Say thanks but no thanks to the white flour in buns, pizza, pasta salads, and donuts that show up at summer picnics. These foods contain very little fiber , so they tend to clog up your digestive system. Instead, have the burger, pickles, tomato, extra greens, and even the fries (especially if they’re sweet potato and baked instead of fried).
Go big on fiber-rich foods like vegetables, gluten -free grains, and low-sugar fruit like berries. These natural foods increase the transit time of food in your system, decreasing chances of a bloated stomach. They also help eliminate toxic chemicals and excess hormones, which decrease your chances of reabsorbing them into the body.
Start your day with a large glass of warm water with lemon and fresh ginger. Warm water helps to stimulate digestion, while ginger and the citric acid in lemon can aid digestion. This provides immediate digestive relief and rehydration after a long night’s sleep .
Supplementing with probiotics and magnesium can reduce constipation. Many patients at Parsley Health that are low in magnesium often complain of bloating . I recommend our own probiotic and magnesium citrate—the kind of magnesium that relaxes your gastrointestinal tract and makes you go. Take them both with a large glass of water when you go to bed and another first thing in the morning. For an extra belly flattening bonus, try giving yourself a belly massage (Here’s how to do it. )
Bubbles are gas by definition, so go easy on carbonated things like champagne and beer to lower your chances of a bloated stomach. At Parsley Health, our most frequent recommendation for consuming alcohol is to cut wine and beer altogether and stick to vodka, white tequila, and mezcal instead. This is especially important for people who have digestive issues, imbalances in gut bacteria, food sensitivities , or blood sugar issues, as these forms of alcohol have very little residual sugar or toxins. (If you can find organic producers of these alcohols, even better.)
I also recommend two days off of drinking for every one day that you drink so your body has time to repair and detoxify and so that you do not become dependent on alcohol.
Exercise can help to expel any gas that might be causing bloat and increases your circulation, which aids digestion. This help things move along in your intestinal track. Even if you feel too uncomfortable for a full workout, light cardio, like a 30-minute walk, and performing cat-cow pose or torso twisting can make a big difference. And what better time to get outside?
FOMO, travel, beach body anxiety , rooftop dance party highs, and hangover lows—there are a lot of feelings in the air during summer. Anxiety tends to hide in your belly, where it stalls digestion and perpetuates your nervousness. Check in with yourself regularly and keep up your daily 10-minute meditations . You need that time now more than ever.
Rather than scarfing down your meal, try to incorporate mindfulness practices into your dinner routine to avoid overeating. Studies show that mindful eating leads to greater improvements in glucose levels and heart health compared to traditional weight-loss programs. Before you eat, take three deep breaths to slow your mind and make you more aware of your food. Eat in a seated position with your feet grounded on the floor and chew thoroughly, aiming for about 20 times per bite.
Fennel is a great way to fight gas and bloating . Its anti-inflammatory properties will help calm your stomach and digestive track. Try chewing on fennel seeds or drinking a cup of fennel tea to relax your intestinal muscles. (If you’re pregnant, our health coaches caution to avoid fennel.)
As snacking throughout the day typically leads to consuming more calories, a healthy habit can quickly become harmful. Though it’s second nature for many, it often leads to overeating and short term weight gain . To avoid this, try to reduce grazing and give yourself at least 3 hours between meals.
These quick fixes will help you combat bloat this season, but it doesn’t have to stop there. Avoiding white flour, eating more fiber, skipping carbonated beverages, and supplementing for digestive health can be practiced year round to prevent belly bloat.
If you still frequently experience bloating, you may need to further adjust your diet, or address other potential digestive issues or hormonal imbalances. Speak to a Parsley Health doctor to get back on track.
Dr. Robin Berzin is the Founder and CEO of Parsley Health, America's leading holistic medical practice designed to help women overcome chronic conditions. She founded Parsley to address the rising tide of chronic disease in America through personalized holistic medicine that puts food, lifestyle, and proactive diagnostic testing on the prescription pad next to medications. Since founding Parsley in 2016, Dr. Berzin has seen 80% of patients improve or resolve their chronic conditions within their first year of care, demonstrating the life-changing value of making modern holistic medicine accessible to everyone, anywhere. Parsley is available online nationwide.
Dr. Berzin attended medical school at Columbia University and trained in Internal Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. Her new book, State Change, will be published by Simon Element in January 2022.