Bloating is a common occurrence. But, if you feel that bloating is part of your everyday life, guess what: It actually shouldn’t be! There are many ways to relieve bloating via diet, exercise and other behavior changes. In this article, we will give you several tips on how you can start relieving your bloat tonight!
Before you jump into doing all of these tips, take note: Gastrointestinal health can be rather complicated, so we recommend seeing a doctor and registered dietitian to help you identify any underlying medical conditions. Also, managing your bloat is not something that gets “cured” in one night. Bloat management requires consistent behavior changes that align with an overall healthy lifestyle (but you can definitely start many of these tips right now).
How to Stop Bloating
There’s no doubt that bloating can ruin your day, your mood and your self-confidence, so let’s talk about some things you can do right now to start tackling your bloat!
Tip #1: Identify foods that make you bloated.
Do you have specific foods that make you bloated when you eat them? If you already know your trigger foods, great! Avoid or limit them, if possible. For those who cannot identify specific foods in their diet that cause bloat, then it’s time to start logging your symptoms!
While you may be overwhelmed by feeling bloated all the time, you may know that some foods bother you more than others. Be sure to log when you bloat and what you ate that day (and possibly the day before). Over time, you may be able to see patterns between your diet and when you experience symptoms. For the most accurate and professional nutrition monitoring, see a registered dietitian.
Tip #2: Try an elimination diet.
Elimination diets are typically used by registered dietitians to identify food intolerances in their clients. The idea of an elimination diet is to identify problematic foods, eliminate them for a specific time period and then slowly reintroduce the foods back into the diet one at a time.
During an elimination diet, the dieter records symptoms (i.e. bloating) before, during and after the elimination diet is complete. You may find that you can pinpoint the most problematic foods after doing the elimination diet! For an awesome food journal, use this one.
Tip #3: Learn about FODMAPs.
FODMAPs? Another way to tackle bloat is to determine if your body has a hard time with high FODMAP foods. “FODMAPs” is an acronym for certain compounds that are found in various foods. Some people experience bloating, flatulence or stomach pain when eating high FODMAP foods. A handful of high FODMAP foods that may be problematic to some people:
- Brussels sprouts
- Green bell pepper
There are many, many more foods that are high in FODMAPs (and a lot of them are what we consider “healthy” foods). So, if you’re trying to eat a healthy diet and still have bloating issues, high FODMAPs may be to blame. For more information about FODMAPs, we recommend checking out registered dietitian Danielle Capalino’s book, Healthy Gut, Flat Stomach.
Tip #4: Increase your fiber intake.
Fiber is found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, adult females should strive to get 25 grams of fiber per day and adult males should strive to get 38 grams of fiber per day.
Fiber helps keep things moving well in your gut. People can often feel bloated and heavy due to constipation and gas bubbles that get stuck in the gastrointestinal tract. Make sure you are getting enough fiber every day! Click here for more information about having a healthy gut.
Tip #5: Increase your water intake.
If you decide to focus on increasing your fiber intake (from Tip #4), then make sure you increase your fluid intake as well. Getting too much fiber and not enough water can actually constipate us even more. Yikes!
Make sure to drink enough fluids so that your gut can make soft, formed stools that are easy to pass. A happy gut means less bloating! Do you have trouble with meeting your water intake? Then try using this time-marked water bottle to keep you on track!
Tip #6: Try small, frequent meals.
If you tend to joke about your “food baby” after eating a large meal, then you may need to change the way you eat. Eating large meals (even the typical three meals per day) can make some people bloat. If you notice that your bloating occurs soon after your meal, try eating smaller, more frequent meals to prevent stomach distension.
Tip #7: Mobility equals motility.
Even though being bloated makes you feel like you want to curl up and sit on the couch, moving your body can make that bloat go away! Whether you engage in stretching, walking or exercising, battle your bloat by moving around. The American Heart Association recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise each week. Movement will allow any air bubbles to find their way out (and can even help you stay regular).
When to Seek Professional Help
We all experience occasional bloating, however, frequent bloating may indicate a medical problem like Irritable Bowel Syndrome. If your “normal” is daily bloating, then be sure to talk to a registered dietitian in your area.