10 Simple Tricks to Cut Down on Bloating

Rachel Krause
Wavebreak Media/Getty Images

Wavebreak Media/Getty Images

Bloating: it happens to the best of us. That doesn’t make it any less unpleasant, particularly when you’re trying to squeeze into your jeans. Drinking water, getting regular exercise, and sipping on seltzer are all proven methods for minimizing bloat, but these lesser-known quick fixes are truly worth a try.

Ditch artificial sweeteners.
Artificial sweeteners are, as the name suggests, artificial, so your body isn’t built to digest them. Naturally, that results in bloating, as your digestive tract isn’t able to properly absorb these ingredients. Watch out for sugar-free candies and sodas, and especially avoid sugar-free gum—between the bloat-causing sugar substitutes and the air you swallow as you chew, it’s a double whammy.

Cook your veggies.
Because raw produce tends is full of tough fibers, uncooked vegetables can be difficult for the body to break down. Cooking your vegetables before eating breaks down and softens some of those fibers, sparing your body the effort and reducing the amount of gas your digestive system is forced to produce in the process.

Eat parsley.
Packed with vitamins and minerals, parsley has countless nutritional benefits, but its high enzyme content is what makes it so effective for minimizing bloat and addressing gastrointestinal stresses by stimulating the digestive tract and preventing gas from forming in the first place. Work it into a recipe, or chew the leaves and stems when you’re feeling bloated.

Slow down.
Digestion starts in the mouth: Chewing food thoroughly breaks it down so that the stomach is better able to process it, while food needs to be mixed with the enzymes in saliva to digest properly in the first place. Eating too quickly cuts these critical steps short, and shoveling food into your mouth makes you that much more likely to swallow air with your food. Slowing your roll and adopting better—slower!—eating habits will make indigestion less likely to occur.

Drink tea.
Peppermint, fennel, and ginger teas are all great choices for controlling bloating. You can drink them any time, whether it’s before or after a meal as a preventative measure or when you already have indigestion. Peppermint in particular has a calming effect on the muscles of the stomach that helps to improve function, while fennel’s anti-spasmodic properties relieve the cramping that often occurs as a result.

Make probiotics part of your routine.
Bloating can be caused by a bacterial imbalance in your intestines, and because probiotics help to restore that balance, getting a regular dose of them can be in instrumental in soothing your digestive tract and calming bloat. Look for yogurt brands that boast live and active cultures, or pick up a supplement at a health food store.

Skip starch before bedtime.
Simple starches and carbohydrates, like bread, rice, and pasta, can be difficult for the body to digest, which is one very easy way to incur some serious bloat. If you’re being active during the day after consuming starch, it’s not as much of an issue, but eating them before bed doesn’t give your body a chance to digest—and you may just find yourself waking up bloated, which is never a good feeling.

Take magnesium.
Magnesium alleviates a variety of stomach issues, from simple bloating to pain and chronic indigestion, thanks to its stomach acid-neutralizing properties. It can be found in green leafy vegetables, whole grains, and fish, but you can also get your daily recommended 200 mg from supplements.

Combat salt with potassium.
High sodium intake causes fluid retention, which is one of the primary sources of bloating. Potassium restores balance by counteracting sodium to create better harmony in the digestive system. If you’re feeling like your bloat is the natural result of, say, a plentiful sushi feast, a banana in the morning may be all you need to get your system back on track.

Try digestive yoga.
Yep, it’s a thing. Check out YouTube for quick, easy poses that even a non-yoga practitioner can pull off. Just 15 minutes of practice can beat bloat and ease pain.

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