There are very few bodily occurrences that are more annoying than bloating, and if you deal with it on a regular basis, it can really ruin your week! Not only does bloating feel bad, but sometimes it can make us look larger or bulkier than we actually are. If you suffer from chronic bloating, there are several ways you can get rid of bloating and start feeling better. With these 10 tips to reduce bloating, you can start feeling lighter and looking leaner.
Tip #1: Eat more fiber
We get fiber from fruits, vegetables, nuts and whole grains. To break it down, there are 2 main types of fiber:
- Soluble fiber: Soluble fiber comes from the pulp of fruits and vegetables. You can also get soluble fiber from beans, oats, and potatoes. Upon entering your body, soluble fiber interacts with water to form a gel, helping make your stool soft and easy to pass. Soluble fiber can also stall the digestion of sugars and cholesterol.
- Insoluble fiber: Insoluble fiber is derived from the skins and/or stalky part of fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, and whole grains. This type of fiber specializes in moving food along through the gastrointestinal tract and adds bulk to your stool, giving you the urge to go.
Getting a mixture of both types of fiber is best when trying to reduce bloating. Insoluble fiber keeps things moving whereas soft soluble fiber makes it easier to go, helping you feel lighter more often.
Tip #2: Drink more fluids
When we increase fiber, it is extremely important that we simultaneously ensure we are getting enough water, otherwise we can become constipated! Fluid needs vary from person to person, however, next time you go to the bathroom, check your urine. Strive to drink enough water so that your urine remains light yellow, pale yellow, or clear throughout the day. Use this marked water bottle to keep on track.
Tip #3: Move around more
Movement via physical activity or exercise stimulates the gastrointestinal tract and blood flow. When it comes to getting rid of bloating, mobility equals motility! Not only can you burn calories during exercise, you can also remove pesky air bubbles and/or fluid that could be contributing to your bloating. If you work a desk job, try to get up and move each hour and during lunch. Aside from going to a gym, you can even work out at home to get the bloat-blasting benefits.
Tip #4: Identify problematic foods
Despite what you may hear from friends and family, chronic bloating is not a normal occurrence and can actually indicate an underlying issue. If you can’t remember what your life was like without frequent bloating, it is time to see a Registered Dietitian. With their help, you can identify problematic foods that may be causing your bloating.
Tip #5: Avoid large meals
Large meals can make your stomach distend, which could be the initial cause of your bloating. Later on, however, that large meal (and any excess air) can be hard to digest, painful, and can lead to further bloating.
If you find that you bloat right after a meal, try to eat smaller, more frequent meals during the day. To help you control your meal size, tune in to your body during meal time. Instead of eating until full, eat until you feel about 80% full. When you’re about 80% full, you feel like you could eat a few more bites but refrain from doing so.
Tip #6: Monitor your reaction to artificial sweeteners
Some artificial sweeteners have been shown to cause bloating, however more human-based research is needed to confirm these results (1). Artificial sweeteners are found in various foods such as candies, gums, “diet” foods, diabetic sweets, soda and other sweet beverages, and baked goods. If you suffer from frequent bloating, keep a food and bloating log so that you can begin to see patterns between what food you ate and when the bloating occurred. For professional help, contact your local Registered Dietitian.
Tip #7: Reduce your sodium intake
Some bloating is the result of holding on to water weight. If this sounds like your bloating, consider decreasing the amount of sodium in your diet. Sodium and water like to stay together, so if you are consuming lots of sodium, lots of water will stay put on your body. If you greatly reduce and avoid high sodium foods, the water can hydrate your body and then flush away.
Here’s a list of high sodium foods to reduce, especially if you hold on to water weight:
- Canned foods (i.e. canned corn, soups, sauces)
- Processed foods (i.e. chips)
- Convenience foods (i.e. frozen foods, packaged mac ‘n cheese, Ramen)
- Restaurant foods (i.e. pizza, gas station hot dogs, restaurant soups)
- Processed meats (i.e. sausages, hot dogs, salami, cured meats)
- Sodium-containing spices (i.e. salt, garlic salt, pre-mixes with sodium)
For tips on how to reduce sodium, talk to a Registered Dietitian and check out this article from the CDC here.
Tip #8: Try getting more probiotics
Probiotics are microscopic organisms that can heal your gut and help it function normally. You can utilize probiotics to your advantage to give your gut the best defenses possible to battle bloating. Probiotics are found in many foods such as the following:
- Fermented foods like (i.e. kimchi, sauerkraut, pickled foods, tempeh)
- Soy products
You can also take daily probiotic tablets, however, it is important to remember than many supplements on the shelves are not regulated by the FDA. Use probiotics to build a good gastrointestinal foundation to fight bloating.
Tip #9: Go bottoms up!
If you suffer from gas bloating, remember that gas bubbles tend to go up. In order to push the gas bubbles up and out of your body, do some bottoms-up yoga poses like downward dog. You could even use a wedge pillow or inversion table (check with your doctor first) to lift your bottom up.
Tip #10: Manage your hormones
The cause of your bloating could also be from hormones, especially for the ladies. Premenstrual hormones can make us retain water weight and/or feel gassy, so talk to your OBGYN if your symptoms are interfering with your life.
The Bottom Line to Get Rid of Bloating
Bloating can present in a variety of ways and have one of many causes. Use these 10 tips to reduce bloating one at a time and see what works. Try one of these tips for a few weeks and see how your symptoms change. Knowing exactly what works for your bloating will help you manage it for the long term.