Bloat isn’t fat, thank goodness, it’s only gas. So it passes. Literally.
But it may be even more miserable when it’s around. Sometimes it comes with a stomach ache. Sometimes you just feel like a Macy’s parade balloon that was accidentally filled with cement. If you’ve been lounging in sweats or yoga wear for a few days, zipping up regular pants can be alarming.
For the most part, time alone will take care of it—that’s how millions of us cope with Thanksgiving every year. The problem is, Thanksgiving gluttony aside, you may keep on doing whatever it was that caused the problem in the first place.
Want to get rid of bloat fast? Antacids can help, particularly old-fashioned Alka-Seltzer when you want immediate relief from the gas and have a stomach ache.
Even more old fashioned, you can add a bit of lemon juice to a teaspoon of baking soda in a bit of room-temperature water. Many sources suggest a glass of water, but frankly, this remedy is not delicious. Dissolve the lemon and soda in as little water as you can tolerate then follow up with nice clear water to wash the nasty out of your mouth. Lots of water, because water is also good for bloat.
Or you can go extreme. A rather scary farm wife once dosed me with a heaping tablespoon of straight baking soda. In the mouth, as is, no water. It was as nasty as you might expect, but immediately relieving. But warning, the gas comes up as belching, so definitely try this at home, but never in public.
Less urgent, but far more pleasant, some teas do a nice job. The best choices are ginger tea, peppermint tea, rosemary tea, and turmeric tea. Peppermint is most likely to work fastest to relieve the feeling of pressure, but ginger is especially good for any feeling of nausea. Try whichever one sounds best and experiment to find one you like. If you are simply feeling a little sick from too much rich food, even a cup of hot black tea seems to help. Provided you like tea.
Although dairy foods and milk, in particular, can be the source of many people’s stomach woes, buttermilk is good for bloat. Some people with lactose intolerance can handle buttermilk as it is low in lactose. If you can, then Ayurvedic medicine has a remedy for you: ¼ teaspoon of cumin and ¼ teaspoon of asafetida (should you have it around) in a glass of buttermilk. Blend well and drink. Asafetida alone is also good for bloat, too. It’s a garlicky-oniony substitute that is a staple in Indian cookery. The “fetida” in the name is related to the smell, which goes away with cooking.
Now that we’ve covered what to do when in trouble, how about preventing bloating? That’s the subject of the next article.
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