Give Bloating the Boot with These Tips

Many of us love to indulge in burgers and beers at summer barbecues, but some of us pay for these pleasures with bloated bellies. It’s no small problem: Research published in International Scholarly Research Notices: Gastroenterology found that 10 to 25% of healthy people experience bloating regularly. And unfortunately, the remedy to bloating is none too simple, as one person’s bloating may be caused by something completely different than another’s. For example, bloating can be a symptom of gastrointestinal conditions such as constipation and gas, but it can also be related to fluid retention, weight gain, or over-eating. Luckily, three expert sources—dietitian Tamara Duker, who specializes in digestive disorders; registered dietitian and nutritionist Ellie Krieger; and a review study published in Gastroenterologyhave provided tips in the Washington Post that may help deflate this puffy problem.

  • Eat enough fiber. Too little fiber can contribute to constipation, so it’s important to get your fair share. Increasing fiber intake has also been associated with weight loss, which, in turn, may reduce bloating. However, too much fiber may have the opposite effect: Fiber-rich foods such as beans and Brussels sprouts can be gas producers. So, listen to your body after you eat to figure out which foods bring on the bloat.
  • Pass on sugar-free sweeteners. Many artificial and sugar-free sweeteners found in diet sodas and sugar-free candies aren’t fully absorbed by our bodies and end up fermenting in our colons. This could contribute to gas, although research is sparse on the topic. Some research, however, does show that natural, sugar-free sweeteners, like sorbitol, may cause gastrointestinal problems.
  • Down-shift your meals. Eating and drinking while chatting at breakneck speed can cause you to swallow a lot of air and miss your body’s cues signaling fullness—so, slow down at mealtime. Plus, thoroughly chewing your food makes it easier to digest.
  • Minimize your portions. Eat several small meals frequently throughout the day, rather than the traditional breakfast, lunch, and dinner, suggests Duker. This may help you avoid overdoing it when you sit down to eat.
  • Curb salt intake. Krieger points out that limiting salt could help some women who experience bloating related to water retention and other issues during their menstrual cycles. Eating potassium-rich foods that are easy to digest may also help reduce this type of bloating.
  • Walk it off. Some evidence shows that getting active could alleviate bloating by clearing gas, says Krieger. A strong midsection could also help reduce bloat, so adding sit-ups or other core-strengthening exercises to your fitness routine isn’t a bad idea.

Source: Washington Post

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