For many of us, bloating (also known as water retention and edema) can be a daily nuisance. Naturally, the issue of how to get rid of bloating is only exacerbated in the summer, when slipping into a swimsuit or even fitting into a hot little number for the weekend can trigger a bout of anxiety.
Fear not: With a few little tweaks, you’ll be feeling better in no time. Many of our bloating woes occur as a result of dehydration, constipation or gas trapped in the digestive tract. Incorporate these tips for how to get rid of bloating and watch your stomach de-puff. Usually it takes just a few days to notice a big difference.
Proper hydration is essential to get rid of bloating and puffiness, but staying hydrated isn’t just about drinking loads of water — it’s about eating the right foods to help to maintain the correct levels of electrolytes. Electrolytes are minerals that are responsible for fluid balance and hydration levels in the body.
- Hydrate with water. It’s easy to want to avoid drinking water when you’re feeling bloated and heavy, but water will make you feel better! Aim to drink around eight glasses of water per day. You can lower this amount if you follow the next tip.
- Eat your fruits and vegetables. Aside from the fact that they are full of antioxidants and bloat-busting fibre in a low calorie package, fruits and vegetables are very good at keeping you hydrated. One study found that the natural balance of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and natural sugars can be twice as hydrating as a glass of water. Aim to eat plenty of brightly coloured fruits and vegetables, especially those that are high in water, such as cucumbers, celery, radishes, tomatoes, peppers and leafy greens.
- Add some potassium-rich foods. Potassium is an electrolyte mineral (along with sodium, calcium and magnesium). Electrolyte minerals are important because they regulate our hydration levels. Sodium, which can be found in high amounts in fast and packaged food, is notorious for causing water retention. Potassium, however, can help to balance the sodium and reduce fluid build up in the body. Food sources of potassium include watermelon, banana and avocado.
Also Read: Foods That Helps You Stay Hydrated
When things aren’t moving along regularly in the body, bloating is a natural side-effect. Ensuring that your body is eliminating properly is key to reducing that bloated feeling. It is estimated that Americans spend $725 million on laxatives per year. Do you think it’s a coincidence that we often complain of feeling bloated? It’s usually got something to do with constipation!
- Have water with lemon every morning. A glass of room temperature water with the juice of half a lemon squeezed into it first thing after waking up will help to stimulate a bowel movement.
- Feed your gut with probiotics. Probiotics are our “friendly” bacteria. Our guts have a balance of good and bad bacteria; the good guys are supposed to outnumber the bad guys, but due to our modern lifestyles and food choices, the bad very often outnumber the good. When our digestive systems are overrun with bad bacteria, constipation and bloating occur. Fermented foods and probiotic supplements help to repopulate your bacteria with the good guys. Fermented foods to try: sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha and kefir.
- Increase your enzymes. If you feel bloated 30 minutes after finishing a meal, you may be lacking digestive enzymes. We need enzymes in order to break down the food we eat. As with probiotics, our modern lifestyles and eating habits can unfortunately reduce the number of digestive enzymes in our bodies. Stimulate your body to produce its own digestive enzymes: Try a small glass of water with a little fresh lemon juice or bitters before a meal.
Get Rid Of Gas
When gas gets trapped in the digestive system, uncomfortable bloating can result. Here are a few ways to reduce the gas that ends up in your digestive tract, as well as expel any gas that may be already trapped there.
- Ditch the common culprits. Carbonated drinks, chewing gum, eating too fast and eating while talking can all push unwanted air through the digestive tract. Try to avoid these behaviours if you want to feel less puffy.
- Try some herbal teas. Some herbal teas can help to relieve bloating, such as chamomile, ginger or peppermint tea.
- The twists and turns in many of the traditional yoga postures help to expel air in the digestive tract. Really, any exercise that you enjoy doing will help in releasing trapped gas. Movement which strengthens abdominal walls, such as Pilates, will help to pull your belly into a flatter position.
Also Read: Foods to Avoid For Gastritis
Understand Your Food Triggers
If you suspect a certain food is making you bloated, you’re probably right. Listen to your body to figure out what feels good to eat.
- Dairy and wheat are common bloat-triggering foods for many people. The good news is that there are easy food swaps for these. Switch to easier-to-digest sprouted grain breads, and goat’s and sheep milk or cheese. If dairy isn’t an option for you, try almond or coconut milk.
- Even foods that we’ve known to be healthy, like beans and legumes and leafy greens, can create gas in some people’s digestive systems. If you get gassy and bloated after eating these foods, cut down on your serving sizes. Also try lightly cooking your green vegetables — this break down the fibre that makes them hard to digest and can cause bloating.
- Artificial sweeteners. Many artificial sweeteners, such as sorbitol, contain sugar alcohols that can’t be digested by the body and can cause uncomfortable bloating. Artificial sweeteners are artificial, after all. So do yourself a favour and avoid anything containing them. Instead of diet soda, try some plain or mineral water spiked with a little fruit juice.
Rest Your System
Many of us are accustomed to eating by the clock rather than by what our bodies are telling us. By listening to our bodies and being mindful of when we eat, we can pretty effortlessly get rid of bloating and puffiness.
- Give your digestive system a rest by only eating when you’re hungry. It’s easy to snack and graze, but think of your stomach like you would a washing machine: You wouldn’t add a piece of clothing halfway through the cycle and expect it to get clean. It takes the stomach between three and four hours to empty, so try to time meals and snacks for every three to four hours as a rule. Let the warm and fuzzy feeling that you get when you’re hungry be your guide.
- Rethink your food portions. A good general rule of thumb is to keep each food portion to the size of your two cupped hands (this is roughly the size of your stomach).
- Aim to leave a 12-hour window between when you finish dinner and when you eat breakfast the next day. Scientists are still figuring out how this works, but it is believed that restricting eating to a 12-hour window helps to establish circadian rhythm. In traditional medicine, the liver is most active between 11 pm and 1 am. Your liver is your body’s main detoxification organ, but also gets pulled in to do digestive duty. Leaving a 12-hour window of fasting is believed to offer restorative benefits, by allowing your body to detoxify and repair more efficiently than it would if you went to sleep with a full stomach. Try it. You may even find that you wake up with more energy, too!