Picture this: you’re jamming to your favorite getting ready playlist, getting glam, feeling excited for the night ahead. You know you have a fun dinner out with friends, and then you’ll see where the night takes you. But you can’t get one looming thought out of your mind: “I won’t want to go out if I’m bloated from dinner”. Or, you’re already out, and you realize your unbuttoned jeans will be visible the second you stand up.
Listen, we’ve been there too; a bloated belly, abdominal cramps, and gas pains make sweatpants and staying in all the more desirable. However, there’s no reason for bloat to ruin an amazing night out on the town, whether it’s a girls night out or date night. Keep reading to learn how to say bye-bye to bloat and step out (and stay out!) feeling like your most confident, best self.
Eat Regularly: You might think the key to a flat stomach is skipping meals throughout the day. However, not only will you be ravenous when you sit for dinner, but your digestive system will be confused. Eating irregularly (think skipping breakfast and snacking randomly throughout the day) causes a build up of gas, meaning your stomach will end up bloated. The gut’s movement is known as peristalsis, and it’s essential for getting food and waste through the GI tract smoothly. When we eat on a regular schedule, despite our plans for the night, our gut is stimulated and keeps moving, keeping our system regular. Aim to eat a normal, fiber filled breakfast and lunch. If there’s a long gap between meals, snacks like fruit, Greek yogurt, or raw veggies with a dip can keep your system moving along, just right.
Fiber, friends: It’s commonly thought that eating fiber-rich foods, like beans, broccoli, and whole grains, will increase gas and bloating. Though, fiber keeps our GI tract healthy and open, allowing for the passage of food, without the gas. Opt for berries for breakfast, a veggie-filled soup or big salad for lunch, and a snack–such as an apple and peanut butter–before you step out of the house. Your gut will thank you!
Veggies, first: Not only do vegetables provide necessary nutrients, they’re also our BFF when it comes to lowering our blood sugar spike, which aids in proper digestion. High blood sugar levels are associated with diabetes, as well as other health complications, like cardiovascular disease and atherosclerosis. In order to reduce the incidence of disease, but also enjoy dining out, research has pointed to focusing more on the order of a meal, instead of the composition of the meal itself.
When we opt for vegetables and lean proteins first, before carbohydrates, our insulin levels are lower and more regulated. A study by Cornell Medical College found that when veggies and protein were eaten before carbohydrates, blood sugar levels were much lower at the 30, 60, and 120 minute checkpoints. Based on this finding, along with many others, the order of your food matters. Now, that’s not to say to completely swear off carbs, but stick to an appetizer salad and a protein, like fish or chicken, before enjoying some pasta.
The findings of the study can have drastically positive effects on health and wellness as a whole, and lower blood sugar levels have been linked to better digestion. What we eat impacts our blood sugar as well as our gut health. Eating foods that our gut isn’t particularly fond of can disrupt the function and balance of bacteria in the gut, leading to bloating and other unwelcome digestive issues. Research has shown that “disordered gut health leads to impaired glucose tolerance and can increase the risk of diabetes”. So, taking care of our gutandour blood sugar levels go hand in hand–the same foods that promote a healthy gut also regulate blood sugar, and vice versa.
Alcohol 101: A good dinner is often accompanied by a good cocktail or glass of wine. But, have you ever noticed that puffiness (cue the ice roller!) in your face and body after a night of drinking? Alcohol is an inflammatory substance, meaning it leads to swelling in the body. After all, alcohol is a toxin, and can badly irritate our digestive tract. Alcohol also significantly dehydrates the body; have you ever woken up needing to chug a glass of water? All of these factors can lead to not-so-welcome bloating and other side effects.
However, if you’re in the mood to drink, stick to clear liquors with sparkling water, like a vodka or tequila soda, and add a lemon or lime for flavor. Make sure to alternate at least one glass of water with every drink. Steer clear of sugary mixers like the ones often found in fancy cocktails. Their high sugar content can disrupt the gut, and lead to a worse hangover the next day.
Mind Your Portions: Eating large portions at once can lead to increased strain on our digestive system. Oftentimes, restaurant portion sizes are large enough for two separate meals. Instead of ordering just for yourself, try a family style dinner or split your meal with a friend. If this isn’t possible, it’s a good idea to split your meal right as it arrives and as for a to-go box. That way, you can repurpose your meal by adding lettuce or other veggies the next day, and have an easy, prepared lunch. Not to mention, you’ll get more bang for your buck, too.
Go for a walk: If you live in a big city, this is easy to do! Maybe you’ve heard of “walking off a meal”; it actually works! Moderate aerobic exercise–even a short walk–after eating can stimulate the muscles of the digestive system, making it easier on your body to digest your food. Exercise also helps to speed up the passage of gas through the digestive tract, which is ideal after a large meal. Aim for a 15 minute walk to give your body enough time to respond. You’ll get extra steps in, too!
Drink Peppermint Tea:Peppermint is a natural herb that has been found to calm the gut, reduce stomach distention, and relieve intestinal spasms, thus preventing bloating symptoms. Peppermint is highly concentrated with flavonoids, which help to calm gut bacteria. It’s great in accelerating metabolism and for reducing excessive acidity in the body. Instead of opting for a post-dinner night cap, stick to a warm, relaxing cup of tea.
Take 2-3 Bloat Capsules: Designed to tackle bloat wherever, whenever, Bloat by Arrae is your bloat BFF. Bloat by Arrae is a combination of 5 herbs and a digestive enzyme, designed to help speed up your digestion. These ingredients have different, synergistic actions that work together to eliminate bloat. No matter if you’ve indulged in a gooey, cheesy pizza or one-too-many drinks, Bloat gives you the freedom to eat what you want, without any uncomfortable side effects.
Gone are the days of bloat dictating your nights out. Follow our tips and tricks to actually enjoy dinner, instead of being worried about your imminent food baby. Cheers to being comfortable in your jeans and hitting the dance floor, bloat-free!
“A Randomized Controlled Pilot Study of the Food Order Behavioral Intervention in Prediabetes.”Joint Clinical Trials Office, https://jcto.weill.cornell.edu/open_clinical_trials/a-randomized-controlled-pilot-study-of-the-food-order-behavioral-intervention-in-prediabetes.
Lee, Kellie. “From a Dietician: The Connection between Gut Health and Blood Sugar.”Rowdy Bars, Rowdy Bars, 21 Apr. 2021, https://rowdybars.com/blogs/rowdy-blog/gut-health-and-blood-sugar.