Food & Drink

Alcohol Makes You Bloated. Here’s How to Prevent That.

We’ve all been there: You wake up from a night of heavy drinking, and definitely feel less than stellar. But you don’t necessarily feel nauseous or have a gnarly headache. In fact, your hangover manifests itself with another kind of physical discomfort—belly bloat.

When our bodies are dehydrated, they retain water to compensate. So after drinking all night, which dehydrates your body, your clothes might fit tight, and you’ll probably feel some general discomfort. This can pose a problem for day drinking and beach parties, where you might find yourself in the already sometimes-awkward position of wearing a swimsuit while you sip hard on that Frosé. But don’t fret because there are ways to prevent belly bloat before a day of drinking, as well as steps to take if you need to de-bloat fast.

How To Avoid Belly Bloat

Say No to Salty Foods
You’ve probably heard this before, but salty foods cause your body to retain water. That’s why sometimes after snacking on too many potato chips or having one-too-many Bloody Marys, your pants feel tight. If you’re going to a day party or anticipate a late night, avoid overly salty foods and drink plenty of water the day before.

Drink Lots of Water While You’re Partying, Too
The more water you drink, the less water you retain. It sounds counterintuitive, but it makes total sense. As you hydrate, your body is able to flush out more toxins. Plus, drinking a glass of water in between every alcoholic beverage will keep you from getting too drunk and will also help ease your hangover the next day.

Skip the Morning Cardio
If you’ve ever felt slightly bloated after a super intense workout, you’re not alone. After a hardcore sweat session—say a long run or cycling class—your body tends to retain water for a few hours as a natural response to sweating. Even if you drank water throughout the class, sometimes this post-workout feeling can’t be avoided. Do your cardio the day before, and stick to things like yoga and other low-impact exercises the morning of a big bash.

Pass on Beer and Carbonated Cocktails
While we love a spritzy Highball, if you plan on having multiple day drinks, you should stick to flat beverages. The bubbles in beer and soda can get trapped in your stomach, which sometimes feels painful and/or makes you feel like your belly is twice its actual size. If you’re having one Aperol Spritz before dinner, fine. But if you want to drink Cuba Libres on the beach all day, time to rethink your plan.

How to De-Bloat in a Hurry

Oops! You’re totally reading this guide the day OF your big party, and it’s too late. You’re already feeling bloated and don’t know what to do. That’s OK, try a couple of these quick fixes, and you’ll be feeling like your old self in no time.

Drink Water with Lemon and Cayenne
This trick works for us every single time. If you’re feeling bloated, add the juice from half a lemon and a dash (or however much spice you can handle) of cayenne pepper to an eight-ounce glass of water. Drink it down (not too fast), and you’ll be feeling less bloated and ready to sip cocktails in about an hour.

Turmeric Is Your Friend
Bright yellow turmeric is full of detoxifying properties. If you have the powder, add it to a smoothie (made with other de-bloating foods like papaya, pineapple, spinach and coconut water). You can also buy turmeric in liquid form. Keep a bottle around and swallow a dropperful if you’re feeling bloated before a party. While you’re at it, mix up a turmeric-spiked cocktail to kick off the celebration on a (semi) healthful note.

Take a Ginger Shot
Ginger is a miracle worker, whether you feel a cold coming on or simply need a quick fix for tummy troubles. Stop by your local juice bar for a spicy shot, or keep high-quality ginger tea around to fix things up in a jiffy. If you’re still feeling so-so at the start of a bash, mix up a fresh ginger cocktail as the next best thing.