by guest blogger Stephanie Eckelkamp, senior associate editor at Prevention magazine
This weekend, before that potent cookout combo of burgers, macaroni salad, and margaritas has a chance to do a number on your stomach, make sure your kitchen is stocked with these seasonal essentials to help battle the bulge.
This melon's secret weapon? It's superhigh water content--93 percent! Why that's good for your stomach: When you're dehydrated, sodium causes you to retain water and puff out. Eating a few wedges increases your overall hydration and helps flush sodium and excess water from your system.
These veggie-like fruits are rich in potassium--a mineral that helps lower sodium levels in the body, thus reducing bloating. (Another good seasonal, potassium-packed pick: cantaloupe!) We recommend simply slicing them, drizzling with olive oil, and sprinkling with sea salt and pepper. Bonus: Tomatoes contain lycopene, which has been shown in studies to help protect skin from sun damage.
This crunchy veggie is also sky-high in water and is a natural diuretic that helps flush excess fluid out of the body. Bonus: Cucumbers are incredibly low-cal--an entire vegetable packs just 47 calories! Munch on it alone, blend it into smoothies, or add it to DIY spa water with some watermelon chunks.
Like cucumber, this herb is a natural diuretic that helps flush excess fluid. It also provides bone-building vitamin K and immune-boosting vitamin C. Chop it up and add to any salad, or even blend it into a green smoothie for a belly-bloat fix.
5. Fresh peppermint
Hopefully you've got some fresh peppermint growing right in your herb garden. If not, grab some from the grocery store or even pick up a box of peppermint tea. This powerful herb is an antispasmodic, meaning it relaxes the digestive tract, allowing belly-bloating gas to pass easily. Experts recommend consuming it--via tea, in a smoothie, or by simply chomping on a few leaves--before and after your meal for best results.
Stephanie Eckelkamp is a senior associate editor covering food and nutrition at Prevention magazine and is also a certified holistic-health coach. She's obsessed with her pup, Milo, and loves to get a little crazy in the kitchen. For more from Stephanie, visit StephEckelkamp.com.
Adapted from an article originally published on Prevention.com