You party late into the night, fill yourself up on snacks and drink one cocktail after another. Before you know it, you are feeling bloated and your stomach is hurting. Don’t worry, says Deepshikha Agarwal, dietitian and sports nutritionist based in Mumbai. “Drink plenty of water with ginger or fennel every 2 hours or sip on green tea or tulsi water for a day to reduce the bloating,” she adds, cautioning against over-exercise. Instead, for a few days, improve your diet with complex carbs, fibre, protein and eat smaller portion sizes. And instead of tossing and turning all night or waiting till you have to go to a doctor, heed these tips from experts.
Chew on ginger
Add two pinches of dry ginger powder or a tablespoon of ginger juice to a glass of warm water and sip on it. “Ginger fires up your metabolism and eliminates distention and uneasiness and detoxifies your body,” says Suvarna Pathak, dietitian at the Nanavati Super Speciality Hospital in Mumbai. Or squeeze half a lemon in a glass of water. You can also make a decoction by boiling half an inch of ginger in two cups of water. “Boil on slow flame till it reduces to one cup and sip on this tea,” says Shikha Nehru Sharma, managing director, Dr Shikha’s NutriHealth, a nutrition clinic in Delhi.
Drink plenty of water to ease that burning sensation. “Combat the overeating by drinking lots of fluid,” suggests Agarwal. Add a pinch of fennel seeds to your water. Drink a glass of water every one-and-a-half hours to flush out the extra salt and cleanse the system, says Lovneet Batra, chief clinical nutritionist at Fortis Healthcare, Delhi. “Coconut water is also great to induce alkalinity and help you detoxify,” she says. Soak eight to 10 black raisins and two figs in a cup of warm water overnight and have this water with two pinches of cinnamon. “This drink will detoxify your system, enhance lipid burning, along with pushing the food to your lower alimentary canal for faster metabolism,” says Pathak.
Skip the next meal
Skip a meal to give your stomach some rest. Or avoid non-vegetarian, dairy, grain, alcohol and sugary components in the next meal so that your stomach has it easy for a day, says Anju Venkat, chief executive officer (CEO) of Health Awareness Centre, a Mumbai-based nutrition and health counselling centre. Eat less and avoid coffee to give your stomach some time to recover. “Avoid junk foods and stick to healthier dishes that incorporate salads, fruits and fresh fruit juices,” says Veerendra Sandur, consultant gastroenterologist and hepatologist at the Fortis Hospital in Bengaluru.
Pack in some herbs
Herbs like basil, mint and coriander help soothe the tummy. Have five-six leaves of basil or mint with a glass of warm water to detox quickly, says Pathak. Or if you have time, make a juice with one cup of mint leaves, one cup of coriander leaves and an inch of ginger in three-four cups of water. “Sip on this juice to enhance your digestive power and metabolism,” says Pathak.
Don’t go to sleep
Never ever go to bed immediately after a heavy meal. Ideally, there should be a gap of at least 2-3 hours between your last meal and the time you go to bed. Go for a walk for about 30 minutes, for this will aid the digestion process, suggests Dr Sandur. Also, sleep with your head elevated. “This position helps decrease the chance of acid reflux into the oesophagus while you sleep,” says Vivek Raj, senior director at the department of gastroenterology and hepatology in the Max Super Speciality Hospital, Delhi. But don’t do rigourous exercise. “Exercise causes blood to be redirected to the muscles instead of being sent to the digestive tract, which further slows down the digestive process and increases the acid load within the body,” explains Venkat.
Digestion requires enzymes. “The more processed or cooked a meal, the lower its enzyme balance,” says Venkat. Both processed and cooked foods slow down digestion and secrete larger amounts of digestive acid, causing a bloated and uncomfortable feeling. “Eat a large salad or vegetable juice with your meal to provide raw living enzymes to the body,” she says. Have fruits and fruit juices for breakfast, so that the body gets the energy required to eliminate the night’s excesses. “Both coffee and a conventional breakfast will only increase the digestive load within, giving the body no time to recover,” says Venkat.