Like most people, I scratched down a few diet and exercise resolutions during the last weeks of December — because I'm a responsible adult with goals, and because feeling bloated after the holidays is one of the most uncomfortable things, ever. Then, also because I'm a responsible adult (with friends), I awoke New Year's Day feeling like a puffy mess from the champagne, cheese, and pigs in a blanket wading their way through my system like sludge. If we're similar beings, you most likely are at Dunks right now ordering a bacon egg and cheese croissant with a side of regret. Why couldn't I stop at two or three pieces of salty prosciutto and cheese? Damn those dainty little toothpicks with the festive tinsel on them. Why couldn't I just have two glasses of champagne? Damn those innocent little bubbles of fun.
But the holidays are about fun, so I'm not going to sweat the fact that I can't button my jeans right now, and neither should you. However, I do have some seriously noteworthy ways to help your body get back on track in January. Don't bother buying new pants just yet... well, unless they're the elastic waist ones that you can wear when the bloat falls off.
Last year, I had to try to fix my diet because of some health issues like acid reflux, and what I found was that the best way to get your digestive system back on track is to eat foods that purify it and act as natural alkalizers. In the process of slowly detoxing my diet, I also lost five pounds. I swear, those five pounds were made up of the water my cells had clung to like a shield, while I'd tossed fatty meats and cheeses at them. (I apologize for trying to murder you, cells.)
These six heavy-hitters will help flush out the system and banish that puffy belly. Don't diet — instead start the New Year off with a feast that includes these foods.
Low in sodium, high in water, sulfur, caffeic acid, and silicon, cucumbers act as one of nature's most powerful diuretics. They help the body flush out excess uric acid and other bloat-producing holiday baggage. Slice some up and throw them onto a salad, but leave the skins and the seeds intact — that's where most of the nutrients come from.
This ubiquitous herb contains anti-inflammatory agents that help flush excess fluid out of your system. Sprinkle fresh or dried parsley onto your dinner tonight to help your body out. Another remedy for bloating is to steep fresh parsley and lemon slices in hot water and sip.
Fennel has been proven to help with bloating and gas. You can use fennel seeds, tea, or just buy the bulbs and slice them into a salad. It's also easy to cook according to Ina Garten — slice it up, coat it with olive oil and a bit of salt, and roast it in the oven.
This green, crunchy veggie has long been used as a diet aid because it's mostly fiber and water. These ingredients help celery regulate bowel movements and control intestinal gas. Add it to soups, juice it, or eat it raw. This powerhouse will help in any form.
Artichokes contain medicinal properties that benefit the liver, and eating a few of the hearts and leaves will act as a mild diuretic. Add some lemon juice for flavor and a vitamin C boost!
Add freshly grated horseradish to mayo, yogurt, or anything, really — even a Bloody Mary (sure, it can't hurt). Traditionally, it has been used to help treat water retention, urinary infections, and kidney stones. For a comfort food with some bloat-reduction included, try adding to mashed potatoes.
Don't forget to wash everything down with tons of H2O! Happy detoxing.