When you feel bloated, it can often mess with our moods and confidence, as feeling uncomfortable and less fit and toned can be a struggle for many people. While people do differ, if you're prone to these emotions, knowing how to get rid of bloating can make you feel more confident, fit, and energized each day, in order to be more productive and happier. Eating the right foods, reducing stress, including fiber and exercise, and staying more positive, in general, can help beat bloat, among other handy techniques.
As a certified health coach, I work with clients on managing their stresses, sticking to healthy, whole foods, and working on incorporating exercise into their weekly practices. These factors can all reduce bloating and water retention, and they can make you feel more balanced. Bloating can appear from changes in hormones (menstrual cycle is a huge one, ladies), stress and increased cortisol levels in the body, unhealthy foods that are high in sodium, sugar, and processed additives (often times packaged foods), and a lack of proper digestion and bowel movements, explains certified healthy lifestyle coach Liz Traines over email with Bustle. Here are 11 ways to get rid of bloating now, so that you can feel better in your skin and more at ease with your daily functioning.
1. Eat Gas-Producing Foods In Moderation
Beans, eggs, and cruciferous vegetables are all great staples in a healthy diet; however, they do produce gas, so eating them in moderate amounts will help reduce bloating, advise Dr. Charles Galanis, a Board Certified Surgeon in Chicago and Robert Dorfman, Research Fellow at Northwestern Division of Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, over email with Bustle. "Bloating is a common complaint with approximately 10% of Americans reporting that they experiencing the sensation on a regular basis. Also affectionately known as “feeling gassy,” bloating typically occurs when extra gas builds up in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract," further explain Galanis and Dorfman. "Difficult-to-digest foods, such as prunes, cabbage, beans, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and even apricots may likewise increase transit time and subsequently increase gas buildup," Galanis and Dorfman add.
2. Eat Fats In Moderation
While eating healthy fats, such as avocados, nuts, fatty fish, and olive oil, can be slimming and aid in both weight loss and management over time, they are also harder to digest, and should be consumed in moderate amounts per serving, advise Galanis and Dorfman. "Often fatty foods are the culprit as they take longer to digest, remain longer in the GI tract, and therefore yield increase gas production," Galanis and Dorfman say.
3. Avoid Sweeteners
Sweeteners, including artificial sweeteners, can lead to bloating and water retention, advise Galanis and Dorfman. "Sweeteners like sorbitol cannot be digested by your GI tract but can be ingested by the bacterial flora. They therefore can also contribute to bloating," Galanis and Dorfman say. Stick with natural sources in small doses, and avoid artificial culprits, like those found in soda cans.
4. Stop When You're Full
Stopping when you're full, or even almost full and waiting 20 minutes to see if you're still hungry for a snack, can help reduce bloating, as "overeating can contribute to the problem," advise Galanis and Dorfman. "Consuming smaller meals may help prevent bloating," Galanis and Dorfman recommend. Try eating more frequently and in smaller serving sizes throughout the day.
5. Eat Slowly
Being more mindful of your food and pace when eating can manage bloating and train the body to slow down in its digestion and processing of food parts, advise Galanis and Dorfman. When you eat too fast, you overwhelm the body with too much food to break down. "Eating food too quickly may leave more work for the GI tract and worsen bloating," explain Galanis and Dorfman.
6. Limit Swallowing Of Air
"A lot of feeling gassy may come from actually swallowing air," advise Galanis and Dorfman. "Chewing gum, sucking on hard candy, and drinking carbonated beverages can all increase the amount of swallowed air and thereby contribute to bloating," Galanis and Dorfman add. Try to drink more water in the day or have a healthy snack, rather than opting for stick after stick of gum.
7. Reduce Salt
"Decrease salt intake," advises Dr. Lisa Ashe, Medical Director of BeWell Medicine over email with Bustle. Salty foods can cause the body to retain water, and this can lead to abdominal distention and bloating, advises Ashe. Salty foods include processed foods, fast food, fried food, chips, and many condiments and dressings. Look for reduced sodium versions or cook at home, salt-free.
8. Check For Allergens
Often times, bloating and distention can occur from a food allergy or sensitivity that could be promoting inflammation in the gut and leading to perceived weight gain and gas, explains Ashe. "Make sure you don't have food allergies" by checking with an allergy test. Common culprits include "lactose, wheat, and gluten," advises Ashe.
9. Have Probiotics
Ashe recommends trying a probiotic, as there's been some evidence to show that probiotics can promote healthy gut flora, reduce poor gut flora and digestive distress, and help decrease inflammation in the body. Take in capsule form, or have through food, such as Greek yogurt, kimchi, kombucha, miso, and sourdough bread.
Ashe says that exercise, on a regular basis, can decrease inflammation and bloating in the body, as the movement can flush out toxins, balance blood sugar levels, and get proper digestion moving along at a consistent pace. Exercise can also help with weight management, advises Ashe, which can lead to a slimmer belly all around.
11. Drink Water
"When our bodies are dehydrated we can experience symptoms that range from dizziness and headaches to muscle cramps and dry skin. Providing our bodies with the right kind of fluids help us to stay healthy, whole, and chemically balanced," advises CEO of Kona Deep, Patrick Turpin over email with Bustle. When we are dehydrated our hormones are off balance, and this can cause bloating, as well as additional stress and inflammation, Turpin explains. "Refueling and replenishing our bodies with the natural electrolytes and the minerals we need is essential to the function of our cells and organs which make up the entirety of our body," Turpin adds.
If you notice that you are feeling bloated and inflamed in the day, look to these easy, effective ways to reduce water retention and to feel more comfortable in your body. Keeping up with these consistent, holistic remedies will reduce chronic, digestive woes and keep your body balanced and healthy.
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