It seems like all Winter you've done more squats, lunges, and push-ups that you can count. You've been watching what you eat and have made sleep a priority — all for the promise of a sunnier tomorrow and days spent on the beach. But even with the best intentions, it's still possible not to feel your best. What's the deal? You've been stockpiling green juice and kale, yet you still feel like you inhaled three bags of chips. If this sounds familiar, you might need a little help from Mother Nature. These foods will help you feel less bloated and puffy, allowing you to show off all your hard work from the Winter.
Eating papaya helps encourage digestion, ease indigestion, and prevent constipation. The enzymes in papaya — papain and chymopapain — help to break down protein and soothe the stomach by promoting a healthy acidic environment. If papayas are hard to come by in your area, look for papaya extract tablets.
Choosing whole grains  over refined grains should be a part of any diet — detox or not. Besides being full of nutrients and antioxidants, they're incredibly high in insoluble fiber, which helps keep you regular . If you're trying to flush the body of toxins, the last thing you need is to be bloated or constipated. Quinoa, in particular, is also good source of potassium, which has also been shown to prevent the bloat.
After banishing the bloat, you'll be happy to hear that individuals who make whole-grain foods a part of their regular diet have shown a decrease in waist size .
Sometimes feelings of puffiness come as a result of eating sodium-rich foods. The cure for this uncomfortable feeling may be as simple as eating a potassium-rich banana. Potassium aids in flushing excess sodium out of the body , helping you feel more like your old self. If you're not a fan of bananas, reach for coconut water, Winter squash, or dates.
Numerous studies show that atrichokes promote healthy liver and gallbladder function . They're also loaded with cynarin, which helps increase bile production, prevents indigestion, and stimulates healthy digestion. If you're looking for a natural detox food, artichokes are a major winner.
Hydrate the Right Way
The cornerstone to any good detox is water — lots of water. Staying hydrated helps prevent constipation  and also wakes up your digestive system and liver, which is key to ridding the body of waste and toxins.
Amp up the detoxing properties of water with a little lemon. Lemons are a great source of vitamin C, which is known to help the body detox and burn fat . Dr. Frank Lipman  recommends drinking water with lemon every morning as a way to alkalize the body  and help with digestion.
If you want to end feelings of bloat, regular trips to the bathroom are essential, as is fiber. Starting off the morning with a bowl of oatmeal sprinkled with a little wheat bran is a surefire way to get whole-grain fiber into your day that will help to keep you satisfied through lunch. A half-cup serving of steel-cut oats offers up five grams of fiber and seven grams of protein!
For many, dairy just spells upset stomach — not always the case when it comes to a serving of plain yogurt. The key is to make sure you're choosing a yogurt that is labeled as having "active cultures." These cultures will increase the number of good bacteria in the gut, aiding in digestion and reducing the uncomfortable feeling of being bloated. Ideally, choose organic plain yogurt that is free of fruit and added sugar. If plain yogurt just sounds unappealing, add fresh blueberries to your bowl. Besides the satisfying taste, blueberries have been shown to target belly fat .
Like yogurt, asparagus also has some probiotic benefits. The Spring detox veggie  contains inulin, a type of prebiotic that encourages colon health while also stimulating the growth of probiotics (good bacteria) in the body. This all helps to ease gas buildup and to flush waste and excess water from the body.
You definitely want to be drinking a lot of liquids right now, and green tea is a great choice. It's high in catechins  — a flavonoid — which speeds up liver activity and increases the production of detoxification enzymes .
Papaya isn't the only tropical fruit that has debloating effects. Pineapple is high in the enzyme bromelain, and like the enzymes contained in papaya, bromelain helps break down protein and ease digestion , all of which helps banish bloat.
Staying hydrated is key to keeping the body's digestive system on track, which can help the belly feel flat from the inside out. Aside from drinking water, fill up on low-calorie foods known for their hydration, like cooling cucumbers and watermelon.