How to Be Less Bloated, According to Health and Fitness Pros

feel less bloated How to Be Less Bloated, According to Health and Fitness Pros

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Brace yourself, because it’s officially time to prepare for spring, and and inevitable onslaught of increasingly skimpy outfits. Crop tops, we see you! Around this time, there are few feelings less fun than being bloated and puffy for no apparent reason—so with that in mind, we chatted with health, food, and fitness experts to find out their tips for clearing up your digestive issues, and feeling less bloated, fast.

Keep scrolling to start learning—and keep in mind that if you’re feeling really uncomfortable, you should probably just head straight to your doctor’s office.

Avoid “sugar alcohol” in packaged foods: “There are a lot of ways companies try to make unhealthy food less unhealthy; sugar alcohols are an example. You’ll see them listed as an ingredient on snacks marketed as having a low impact on blood sugar. Sugar alcohols [like sorbitoln and maltitol] are a type of low-digestible carbohydrates (LDCs) added for flavoring but aren’t absorbed by the small intestine. If you’re trying to manage your blood sugar or calories, this can sound desirable; unfortunately, it’s not without side effects.”—Dr. Edward Group, chiropractor and naturopath

Take a digestive herb: “Certain herbs help to relax the muscles of the digestive tract and aid gas and bloating by stimulating gastric secretions. My favorite three remedies include fennel, mint, and citrus peel, and peppermint oil, which is actually a licensed drug for irritable bowel syndrome in Europe. Look out for these herbs in teas and take a cup after eating and throughout the day. I suggest making a strong cup (two tea bags per cup) and putting a plate on top of the mug to trap in the essential oils. You can also try taking a peppermint oil capsule 300 mg three times a day.”Daniela Turley, medicinal herbalist

Cut back on sodium: “Consuming excessive amounts of sodium—as commonly found in packaged, canned, frozen, and fast food—can cause the body to retain water, resulting in temporary fluid weight gain and feelings of  ‘puffiness’ or bloat. To avoid excessive sodium consumption, opt for foods that are closest to their natural state (such as fresh fruits, vegetables, and grains), limit the consumption of prepackaged foods that contain high levels of sodium, and if possible avoid adding additional salt to food before eating.”—Jessica Matthews, ACE personal trainer, health coach, and yoga instructor

Drink water at work: “Leave a water bottle in sight throughout the day, so you don’t forget to drink at least three liters of water. You’ll be amazed at how much better you feel! You’ll have more energy, decreased inflammation, and all the weight-loss benefits.”–Anna Kaiser, celebrity personal trainer

Eat sauerkraut: “I love fermented foods and strongly recommend them to all of my coaching clients. When I started eating sauerkraut and other fermented foods, so many of my digestive health issues like bloating started to disappear (as well as my strongest sweet cravings!).”Robyn Youkilis, certified health coach from  Institute for Integrative Nutrition and author of Go with Your Gut

Replace coffee with green tea: “Replace your afternoon coffee with as much iced green tea (using stevia as the optional sweetener) as you’d like. It will help decrease the dreaded bloat, bump up your metabolism naturally, stave off hunger, and keep you from feeling super hungry when blood sugar drops in the evening.”–Anna Kaiser, celebrity personal trainer

Slow down when you eat: “When you’re feeling stressed, upset, or rushed, your nervous system goes into fight-or-flight mode. Stress hormones are high and blood flow to your gut is reduced, which makes your digestive fire weaker and your digestion slower. As food is not properly digested, fermentation and bloating often occur. To avoid this, always eat in a quiet environment. Sit down and take a few deep belly breaths. Never eat standing, at your desk, or while checking your phone.”Lee Holmes, holistic nutritionist

Eat charcoal: “Take an activated charcoal supplement before eating.”—Dr. Edward Group, chiropractor and naturopath

Try a dairy detox: “Eliminate all dairy products for a few days and assess the difference—this might be the source of bloating if you are lactose intolerant. Even a splash of milk in your morning coffee can make you feel bloated all day.”—Jill de Jong, Ford model and health coach

Stop chewing gum: “Chewing gum leads to swallowing air, which can cause bloating, it’s as simple as that. Plus, sugar-free gums are usually packed with sugar alcohol, like maltitol, sorbitol and xylitol, which are notorious for causing gas.”Lee Holmes, holistic nutritionist

Exercise your abs: “Strong and toned intestinal muscles are necessary for efficient digestive contractions (i.e., not bloating), and besides eating a healthy diet, abdominal exercise (hello, Pilates!) is very important for keeping the intestines strong.”—Heather Andersen, New York Pilates founder

Take a probiotic: “Probiotic bacteria reduce the harmful bacteria in your body, helping to prevent infections in the digestive tract and reduce inflammation.”Vanessa Fitzgerald, Indie Fresh nutritionist

how to be less bloated How to Be Less Bloated, According to Health and Fitness Pros

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Ditch soda: “Another contributor to bloating is fizzy drinks, as the fizz can get caught in our digestive tract.”—Sophie Gray, personal trainer

Chew your food: “We pay so much attention to what we eat, but so many of us totally overlook the how, which is just as important. Food that cannot be digested—anything you swallow that isn’t chewed thoroughly—is not necessarily easily eliminated, which results in bloating, weight gain, and inflammation. When you chew your food until it becomes liquid, you’ll feel full for longer and your stomach will likely be flatter.”Robyn Youkilis, certified health coach from Institute for Integrative Nutrition and author of Go with Your Gut

Switch up your workout: “If you are used to working out in the morning, try doing it in the evening before dinner, or vice versa. This will help challenge your body at a time it’s not used to working out and rev up your results. If you’re a diehard, go for a double.”–Anna Kaiser, celebrity personal trainer

Practice yoga: “Try the ‘pavanamuktasana’ pose and lay on your back, with both legs straight. Draw your right knee into your chest and squeeze in using both arms. Hold for 20 breaths. Got back to the start position and then reach the right arm over your head to stretch the length of the right side of the body. Hold for 10 breaths. Lay on your back, with both legs straight. Draw your left knee into your chest and squeeze in using both arms.  Hold for 20 breaths. Got back to the start position and then reach the right arm over your head to stretch the length of the left side of the body. Hold for 10 breaths. “—Bethany Lyons, founder of Lyons Den Yoga

Avoid processed foods: “If you can’t pronounce it and you are unable to count the ingredients on one hand, don’t consume it. Most or all of the soluble/fermentable fiber is removed from processed food in order to extend its’ shelf life. Sugar is also hidden in most all processed food; it destroys your colon and skyrockets cancer risk.

Consider reducing your gluten intake: “Gluten can be inflammatory and irritate the digestive system, causing bad bacteria to thrive. Eat whole foods with that have a high fiber content to help keep your digestive system moving properly.”Vanessa Fitzgerald, Indie Fresh nutritionist

Eat more often: “Eat small, healthy meals often to avoid the bloating feeling that comes with eating large meals. Try adding peppermint tea, pineapple, parsley, and yogurts or foods containing probiotics to your daily diet, as these can all help with bloating.”Zoe Bingley-Pullin, celebrity nutritionist and chef

Sip herbal teas: “Certain herbal teas such as peppermint and chamomile have a soothing effect on our digestion. Sipping on these teas is a great way to reduce digestive discomfort.”—Sophie Gray, personal trainer and holistic nutritionist

“Drinking ginger tea from fresh ginger root or drinking organic dandelion tea can help with bloating.”—Dr. Edward Group, chiropractor and naturopath

Slowly eat more fiber: “Increase your fiber intake gradually. If you load up and your stomach isn’t used to it, you’ll feel bloated.”Marie Spano, dietitian

Juice with ginger: “We use ginger in our juices at Indie Fresh—it has muscle relaxant properties that can help relieve gases trapped in a constricted digestive system.”Vanessa Fitzgerald, Indie Fresh nutritionist

Drink electrolyte-enhanced water before the gym: “Dehydration leads to constipation (especially if your diet is high in fiber), and is one of the most common causes of feeling bloated. If you have an active lifestyle and sweat it out at the gym, make sure you drink about a liter of electrolyte-enhanced fluids about 90 minutes prior to working out. Raw coconut water is a great, clean source.”Sagan Schultz, MD/MBA in-training, and CEO of WellWell

Reduce stress in your life: “In my experience as a dietitian, whenever I have encouraged clients to manage their overall stress and implement stress-management habits such as mindfulness, meditation, and certain yoga postures to reduce cortisol (e.g. legs up the wall), they have reported marked improvements in bloating as well as irritable bowel. These are long-term lifestyle habits that will improve so many aspects of a person’s mental, emotional, and physical well-being. Time, practice, and patience are essential.”Bridget Jane, dietitian

Take a digestive enzyme: “Taking a digestive enzyme before your meal is another great way to alleviate the discomfort of bloating. It helps you better digest your food, making it more easily pass through your digestive track.”—Sophie Gray, personal trainer and holistic nutritionist