This article first appeared on Mind Body Green.
Our bodies do a fantastic job of letting us know when we have given them something they simply do not like. You know the feeling…overly full, painfully uncomfortable, full of gas, and eager to slip into your comfiest sweatpants immediately.
Unfortunately, some of our favorite foods, healthy or not, can cause bloating through gas production in the intestines. Bloating is commonly associated with the feeling that comes after indulging in a big greasy meal, or an extra salty snack, but it can be hard to pinpoint the source of bloating when we are consuming a generally healthy diet.
One way to help fight the bloat naturally this summer is to stay hydrated with tea. Not only does each tea have a unique ability to help fight bloating and discomfort, but the water content of each beverage can help to keep you hydrated and feeling your best all summer long. While it may seem counterintuitive to fill up on water when you’re already feeling full and uncomfortable, drinking adequate amounts of fluid can help to relieve bloating and prevent it from recurring.
These are my top seven de-bloating tea picks:
1. Ginger tea
Ginger has been used as a natural medicinal remedy to cure a host of digestive issues for thousands of years. The oily resin from the rhizome, or root of the plant, contains powerful bioactive components that exhibit pharmacological and physiological activities in the body. When it comes to bloat and digestive discomfort, ginger exhibits many positive digestive stimulatory effects. One study found that ginger had effectively stimulated gastric emptying, meaning you will feel relief from bloating more quickly and effectively.
To make your own fresh ginger tea, simply peel and slice a ½ inch of fresh ginger root and steep in boiling water for 5 minutes.
2. Fennel tea
Fennel, the most widely used herbal plant in the world, has been used in complementary and alternative medicine practices for many years. While fennel has been used to treat a wide range of ailments, fennel seeds are traditionally used for their ability to cleanse the breath and stimulate digestion. Volatile oil compounds found in the leaf, stem, fruit, and seed of this plant have been studied for their ability to effectively clear intestinal gas. These compounds are also believed to stimulate bile for better digestion, thus providing relief and preventing bloating from happening in the first place.
To make your own fennel tea at home, simply crush a teaspoon of fennel seeds and steep in boiling water for 5 minutes.
3. Peppermint tea
Peppermint has been used for centuries as a digestive aid to cure symptoms such as bloating, gas, and digestive discomfort, especially in relation to irritable bowel syndrome. Both the leaf and the essential oil of the leaf have been used extensively for health purposes dating back to ancient Greece, Rome, and Egypt. Peppermint tea is an excellent way to help naturally reduce bloating due to the relaxant and antispasmodic properties that relieve cramps and improve motility without pain or discomfort.
To make your own peppermint tea at home, simply steep fresh peppermint leaves in boiling water for 5 minutes.
4. Dandelion tea
While many consider it to be nothing more than a weed, the dandelion plant is a powerful medicinal herb whose use dates to ancient Chinese and Arabic Medicine, as well as Native American culture. The whole plant has been found to provide health benefits, including the leaves, the roots, and the flowers—fresh or dried. Studies have demonstrated that enzymatic reactions in the body that occur as a result of consuming dandelion can help to stimulate digestion, thus relieving bloating.
To make your own dandelion tea, harvest fresh dandelion flowers, remove any green leaves and save for salads, and steep in boiling water for 5 minutes.
5. Lavender tea
Lavender, one of the most beloved herbs used commonly today, originated in the Mediterranean and has been used in ancient medicine for a variety of uses. Both the flower and the oil are used medicinally, as well as in other applications such as aromatherapy. Studies suggest that consuming lavender tea can help to ease digestive issues that cause bloating including intestinal gas, upset stomach, and abdominal swelling. Lavender has also been shown to help ease the feeling of nausea and loss of appetite, which could be an unpleasant side effect associated with feeling bloated.
To make your own lavender tea, steep culinary lavender buds in boiling water for 5 minutes.
6. Chamomile tea
Another ancient traditional herbal remedy, chamomile has been used to treat digestive distress for thousands of years. The dried flowers of the chamomile plant contain many terpenoids and flavonoids that contribute to its medicinal properties. Studies have shown that chamomile has powerful relaxant effects on the digestive system, leading to relief of pain and discomfort related to bloating. Chamomile is also effective for treating flatulence, indigestion, and nausea, which are symptoms that commonly accompany bloating.
To make your own chamomile tea, steep fresh chamomile flowers in boiling water for 5 minutes.
7. Green tea
Green tea has long been studied for its vast medicinal health benefits, many of which are directly tied to the rich polyphenic compounds found within the plant. Catechins, the major bioactive component found in green tea, provide many pharmacologic properties that help to soothe the gastrointestinal tract and reduce intestinal gas that causes bloating. Some studies suggest that drinking green tea may even offer relief for many digestive disorders that are commonly associated with bloating such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.
To make your own green tea, select a high-quality green tea bag from your favorite health food store and steep in hot water for 5 minutes. Want to try something new with green tea? Try these Green Tea & Ginger Overnight Oats made by soaking your oatmeal in Green Tea overnight for maximum flavonoid concentration.