If you’ve ever struggled buttoning up your favorite pair of skinny jeans, you might think you’ve gained weight. But, what if that perfectly fitted bra suddenly seems snug where it shouldn’t? While you may have miraculously grown a cup size overnight, chances are you’re actually bloated.
Eating salty foods can cause your body to retain excess water and cause belly bloat. Certain fruits and veggies, although rather nutritious, can have adverse effects on your tummy as well. Once you get down to the bottom of what is causing that bloated feeling, it’s actually a pretty easy fix. Here are 35 steps to losing that bloat, quickly and naturally:
1. Take a warm bath
Relaxing in a nice warm bath not only reduces stress, but can also provide relief for an upset tummy full of bloat. Try adding two cups of Epsom salt to help draw out excess water from your body. Avoid taking baths too often, or too hot, to reduce the risk of dehydration.
2. Avoid carbonated beverages
Fizzy, bubbly drinks like soda contain carbon dioxide that cause gas and stomach discomfort, especially bloating. Try replacing soda with water to prevent future bloating and relieve pressure.
3. Lay off the carbs
While carb-heavy meals including pasta and rice are both delicious and filling, they trigger your body to retain water. Carbohydrate molecules bind with water, keeping you uncomfortably bloated, so cutting back on carbs for a couple of days will help flatten your belly.
4. Avoid sugary gum
The sugar alcohols and artificial sweeteners like sorbitol and xylitol contained in chewing gum can cause unwanted bloating. Since these sugar alcohols can not be absorbed by your body, they can lead to discomfort. Use a peppermint to freshen your breath instead. Or try an organic gum like Glee or Simply, which are low-cal alternatives that avoid sweeteners.
5. Skip the straw
Just like eating meals too quickly can lead to feeling bloated, so can sipping through a straw by swalling excess air. Avoid using straws if possible, and prevent the single-use consumer plastic from entering the landfill. Bonus!
6. Try probiotics
Your gut is full of good bacteria called probiotics that are found in the intestines. Probiotics prevent bad bacteria from multiplying, which lead to bloat and upset stomach. To maximize the benefits of probiotics and regulate colon bacteria, consider taking a probiotic supplement.
7. Pass the beans
You’ve probably been to a cookout or two and consumed a large plate of canned beans alongside that smoky, grilled brat. If you’re trying to maintain your summer physique, however, it’s wise to skip the beans which induce gas and avoid unwated bloating.
8. Eat more cilantro
Cilantro not only tastes great, but has been shown to relieve abdominal pressure by relaxing digestive muscles due to its unique blend of oils including linalool and geranyl acetate. According to a study published in the Digestive Diseases and Science journal, patients with IBS found that they benefited from taking supplements that included coriander, also known as cilantro.
9. Eat dark chocolate
Whoever thought that indulging in chocolate could lead to weightloss? It’s true! According to the American Chemical Society, your gut is full of chocolate-loving microbes that feast on it, turning it into anti-flammatory compounds. So go ahead, indulge yourself!
10. Increase fiber intake
According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, most American women do not get enough fiber in their diet, with the recommended daily intake of 25 grams. Fiber is necessary to get your digestive system moving freely, reducing bloat. However, eating too much fiber may be difficult to digest, creating gas. We recommend gradually increasing your fiber intake over several weeks, allowing your body plenty of time to adjust.
11. Eat smaller portions
Saving up your appetite for a large meal will leave you feeling bloated and too full to function. Reclaim your energy by eating smaller meals throughout the day, focusing on snacks filled with protein and fiber. Not only will you burn more calories, but you will avoid the later-afternoon crash that many of us experience after a long day of work. Consider these fiber enhanced, protein-packed snack ideas:
- Apple slices dipped in peanut butter
- Orange slices and some dark chocolate
- A combination of nuts and berries
- A slice of cheese and a pickle
- Veggies dipped in hummus (avoid cruciferous veggies)
- Unsweetened yogurt with granola
12. Eat slowly
After a long day of work, most people get home as fast as they can just to scarf down dinner and settle into their evening routine even faster. However, eating too quickly causes you to swallow excess air, leaving you uncomfortably bloated by the time you’re ready for bed. Slow down and enjoy your meal. You’ll thank us in the morning.
13. Choose whole grains
White rice, pasta, and sugary white breads don’t offer much nutrition in terms of fiber and may cause you to feel bloated or constipated. Replacing starchy pastas and breads with whole grain alternatives, will get your bowels moving regularly again.
14. Avoid greasy foods
Fast food may be a quick cure for hunger pains, but it can leave your feeling stuffed and bloated. Greasy foods that contain high levels of unhealthy fats upset your digestive tract as they don’t interact with your gut the same way that the good fats do. Trans fatty acides and saturated fats found in fast food, can trigger an inflammatory response in the body.
15. Take a walk
A light stroll after a heavy meal is a great way to get your bowels moving regularly again, especially if you’re feeling constipated. A simple walk around the block releases built-up gas and sodium via sweat.
16. Sip on ginger tea
Ginger has been used for hundreds of years to cure all sorts of ailments including nausea and upset stomach. It also helps your body to debloat by blocking certain genes and enzymes that promote bloat-causing inflammation. Start your morning with a cup of ginger tea for its bloat-reducing benefits.
17. Try peppermint oil
Peppermint oil may help recharge your digestive system and fight bloating as it is marketed by manufacturers as a treatment for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Consuming peppermint helps to relax your intestinal muscles, allowing your bowels to move freely.
18. Avoid sugary fruits
Certain fruits like peaches, cherries, and grapes have high sugar content and can cause bloating despite their nutritional benefits. Snack on berries, papaya, honeydew, or oranges instead.
19. Avoid gassy veggies
Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts, all contain a gas-including compound called raffinose. Just like beans, consuming these veggies will essentially trap air inside your gut, causing bloat. Instead, eat veggies high in water content.
20. Chew with your mouth closed
There’s nothing more appealing than watching somebody chow down a meal with their mouth open. Not only is it rude but it also causes unnecessary bloating as air gets into your digestive tract. Instead of chatting with a mouth full of food, focus on chewing your food and talk in between bites.
21. Fennel seeds
Fennel seeds contain gas-reducing oils that help to reduce bloating after a salty meal or gassy vegetables. It can be found in most health food stores and a small amount goes a long way. Apinch of fennel is all you need to reap the benefits of fennel.
22. Lemon juice
Lemons are a natural diuretic, and the juice stimulates digestive enzymes that speed up the process of digestion. When consuming a salty meal, add a fresh-squeezed lemon to a glass of water to reduce bloat and flush out toxins and extra sodium. Your stomach will thank you later.
23. Drink less coffee
In a perfect world, we wouldn’t need coffee to survive the day-to-day chaos of the real world. But too much coffee actually irritates your digestive tract and increases acid production. “Consuming beverages that are high in sugar or caffeine can not only be dehydrating, but in some cases can add to excess calorie intake, too,” explains Isabel Smith, registered dietician and founder of Isabel Smith Nutrition.
24. Try acupuncture
According to accupuncturist, Rhiannon Griffiths, this ancient Eastern treatment can help regulate your body’s digestive system and calm irritable bowel syndrome by correcting the flow of energy throughout your body.
Accupuncture is a holistic solution for those who battle chronic bloating and digestive issues.
25. Cook with kombu
Kombu is a vegetable from Japan found in the sea, that is simlilar to seaweed. It contains an enzyme that makes it easier for your body to break down certain foods that would normally be difficult to breakdown. The next time you’re cooking up a batch of beans or lentils, try adding a little bit of kombu to the pot. Not only will it prevent future bloating, but it may even help to reduce an already-bloated tummy.
26. Do some yoga
Certain yoga poses help position the abdominal muscles in a way that encourages the release of excess gas to reduce bloating. A few common yoga poses reduce bloating and the accompaning pain by increasing bloodflow to your lower half and release excess gas:
- Downward facing dog
- Standing forward fold
27. Eat a banana
Ripe bananas are a great source of fiber and potassium, helping to aid in digestion and bowel movements. Potassium is a nutrient that helps reduce bloat and flatten your tummy by regulating your body’s fluid balance. However, eating too many bananas can cause constipation, which is the last thing you want if you’re already bloated. Just one banana will give you all of the benefits you need, without the bloat.
28. Eliminate dairy
Most people are eliminating gluten these days, but lactose may be effecting your digestion and causing unwanted bloat. Lactose is found in milk, and requires the enzyme lactase to properly digest it. As we get older, our bodies make less lactase, making it difficult on our stomachs to digest lactose. Try cutting out dairy for a few weeks to see if your digestion improves.
29. Have an early dinner
Eating at regular intervals throughout the day and having dinner early gives your body time to digest each meal. By the time you’re ready for bed, your body will feel full, but not bloated and gurgling.
30. Intermittent fasting
Models and celebrities alike have been fasting for decades. While it may not seem all that glamorous to the rest of us, fasting allows your body to properly digest food intake, and avoid bloating. If possible, try giving yourself a 12 hour period between dinner and next day’s breakfast. This break will give your digestive system plenty of time to deflate your belly and get rid of bloating.
Once your body has fully digested everything from the day before, break your fast with a protein-packed breakfast to prevent later-morning cravings or afternoon energy crashes.
31. Drink lots of water
When you’re feeling bloated, it may seem counterintuitive to drink lots of water. However, quite the opposite is true. Retaining water is your body’s way of staying hydrated. By drinking plenty of water, your body flushes out toxins, and signals the body that it doesn’t need to retain every ounce you drink to stay hydrated.
32. Avoid alcohol
Not only does alcohol dehydrate you, but it makes your body retain excess water, leading to bloat. Alcohol directly damages the digestive tract and messes with your gut’s good bacteria. For every glass of alcohol, you should match it with one glass of water to stay hydrated.
33. Don’t forget to stretch
Simple stretch are often overlooked but can help get your digestive system back in check. Try laying back and bringing your knees into your stomach into a hug a few times throughout the day and before bedtime.
34. Cut down on salt
If your bra feels tighter than normal, chances are you’re retaining too much water. Eating foods that are rich in salt, causes your body to retain water, making you feel bloated. This can cause a swollen and bloated feeling in the belly and other areas of the body, such as the hands and feet. Drinking a glass of water after a salty meal helps to reduce bloating.
35. Massage your tummy
Massaging your stomach can help reduce bloating. Simply place your hands around your lower right tummy, and massage in circular motions up and around your belly, back down to the left side. This simple massage will help get your bowel moving.