How to Beat Post-Holiday Bloat

Alexandra Owens, Allure magazine

After indulging in a season's worth of eggnog, peppermint bark, and turkey, almost all of us have gained a couple pounds-and are more than a little bloated. That food baby will take some extra work at the gym, but in the meantime, here are some tips to get rid of the puffiness.

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Pass on the salt. Sodium-including the kind found in processed foods like microwave dinners and canned soup-is one of the biggest bloating culprits because it makes your body retain water. Eat fresh ingredients, and try seasoning your meals with fresh herbs instead.

Don't fake it. You're probably avoiding sugar after that entire box of candy canes you had last week, but the artificial sweeteners found in sugar-free gum and diet sodas contain sugar alcohols like sorbitol, mannitol, and lactitol that are difficult for the stomach tobreak down, causing an excess of air and bloating.

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Stay hydrated. Natural diuretics, in solid or liquid form, can help flush bloating. Some great options: coconut water, green tea, and vegetables with a high water content like asparagus, cucumber, and fennel. Dietician Lauren Slayton also suggests cranberry juice, but to avoid the added sugar, she recommends only the unsweetened kind, mixed with four parts water.

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Get moving. Sweating alone won't flush bloat, but exercises that focus on your abdomen, like yoga and twists, work your internal organs and can help you digest your meals more easily.

Supplement yourself. Even if you aren't intolerant, food sensitivities to things like lactose or gluten can lead to bloating. If you think that might be the case, experiment with supplements like Lactaid or Beano, and see if the swap makes a difference.

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