My new apartment is precisely five doors down from a restaurant with the best fried chicken sandwich I've ever had. I'm so obsessed with the dish that I've started filling my pantry with tea bags - hot tea and good TV is my mom's go-to remedy for bloating after a big meal.
I always thought it was The Real Housewives cast's drama - not the tea - that took my mind off of my painful bloating symptoms until they went away. But, Dr. Natasha Fuksina, MD, a double-board certified internal and obesity medicine specialist, confirmed that Bethenny Frankel wasn't to thank for feeling better.
From herbal to ginger to green, Dr. Fuksina explained that most warm teas help reduce bloating symptoms by increasing fluid intake, which can increase stool volume, help with the elimination of stool, decrease constipation, and remove toxins from the body.
Many teas also have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help ease bloating by interacting with our microbiome - the trillions of microorganisms inhabiting our gut, she added.
"Liquids pass into the stomach immediately and reach the intestines within minutes. Depending on the amount of food in the intestines, it may take from 10 to 30 minutes for the tea to help relieve bloating symptoms."
Persistent bloating, on the other hand, could be a sign of underlying conditions that need medical attention - and in some cases, drinking tea could mask a condition's symptoms, preventing you from seeking timely treatment, Dr. Fuksina said. That's why it's crucial to speak to your doctor before turning to tea for relief.
Be careful of what you're adding to your tea, too. Dr. Fuksina pointed out that some sweeteners can aggravate inflammation in the gut and contribute to gas and bloating. She added that milk products and how they impact the gut are more person-specific.
Ahead are the teas Dr. Fuksina suggested the most for reducing bloating and why - this way, you won't be too overwhelmed sorting through the tea section of your grocery store.
"Green tea - an unfermented tea - is rich in polyphenolic compounds, [and] possesses antioxidative, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial effects," Dr. Fuksina explained.
The beverage is believed to activate antioxidants in the gastrointestinal tract, which can inhibit carcinogenic activity, she added - that's why it's excellent for reducing inflammation associated with gastrointestinal disorders.
According to Dr. Fuksina, ginger tea is made of an active compound called gingerol, which has potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, making it a great flavor choice for relieving indigestion, bloating, and nausea.
"Peppermint tea - brewed from the plant leaves, which also contain peppermint oil - is probably one of the most popular teas used. It contains phenols and flavonoids, which have been demonstrated in studies to have a relaxation effect on gastrointestinal tissue," Dr. Fuksina said.
Licorice Root Tea
Since licorice tea can help alleviate spasms, constipation, and inflammation - all things that can cause bloating - it's an obvious choice for this roundup, Dr. Fuksina said.
Chamomile tea is often celebrated for its medicinal properties - including its antispasmodic action used for calming bloating and indigestion, Dr. Fuksina said.