Much advice floats around relieving abdominal bloating but some health professionals have highlighted three natural ways to help people put an end to the uncomfortable sensation of a bloated belly.
A short-term disease affecting the gastrointestinal tract, bloating is generally characterized by an excess buildup of gas, air, and fluids in the stomach.
As the first line of treatment for preventing bloating is changing your diet, a few health experts have advised starting with the following steps:
1. Drink WaterDrinking water is probably the last thing people want to do when they feel like their belly is about to explode, a registered dietitian nutritionist who focuses on gut health, Rachel Doyle said, but hydration is important for minimizing bloating.
But although it may seem counterintuitive, drinking water may help to reduce bloat by ridding the body of excess sodium. Drinking after the meal can flush out salt, which can be hidden in cans, frozen foods, and processed foods, and encourage the body to give up fluids.
“It keeps everything moving along smoothly in your digestive tract, which is essential for regular bowel movements—and constipation and bloating often go hand in hand,” she said.
Aim for eight to 12 cups a day, but if that’s too much, fruits and vegetables with a high water content, including strawberries, apples, oranges, lettuce, cucumbers, peppers, watermelon, healthy vegetable soups, smoothies, as well as healthy yoghurts, will all help the body debloat.
2. Add Foods High in PotassiumThe second remedy to add to your debloating toolkit, which also flushes out excess sodium and water retention, is to increase potassium.
The combination of potassium and water may flatten the stomach within hours, according to Alan Mandell, a chiropractor from South Florida who specialises in natural treatments based on spinal biomechanics and nutritional science.
Potassium has natural diuretic properties, removing more salt in a shorter period of time. As a result, eating a diet rich in potassium gets rid of puffiness and swelling caused by excess fluids.
“Those foods that are rich in potassium are avocados, bananas, sweet potatoes, spinach, coconut water, white beans, black beans, edamame, butternut squash, and dried apricots, to name a few,” he said.
Most people under-consume potassium, which is a mineral found in fruits and veggies that helps counterbalance sodium, registered nurse Samantha Cassetty said.
3. Cut Down on CarbsThe final method to reduce distention is cutting down on carbohydrates, such as cereals, vegetables, onions, and garlic.
Eating too many carbohydrates will make it difficult for the intestines to fully absorb them and instead pass them to the colon, where they are fermented by bacteria and produce gas.
“Excessive carbs are stored as glycogen. For each gram of glycogen, it stores three to four grams of water [which] is going to give you that distension feeling,” Mandell said.
A new study recently published on May 29 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that low-carb breakfasts also help people better control their blood sugar levels, which prevents or delays long-term, serious health problems, such as heart disease, vision loss, and kidney disease.
“Our research indicates a low-carbohydrate meal, first thing in the morning, seems to help control blood sugar throughout the day,” Barbara Oliveira said.
“We’ve determined that if the first meal of the day is low-carb and higher in protein and fat, we can limit hyperglycemic swings.
Could Gluten be a Problem?Eliminating gluten to observe whether the body feels less bloating after a period of time is something people could experiment with, according to Marissa Vicario, a board-certified integrative health and nutrition coach featured in the New York Times, Entrepreneur, and Glamour.
Gluten can be part of a bloat-free diet “if your body agrees with it,” she said.
Although sometimes the fix isn’t that cut-and-dried.
“Our bodies are intricate, and there can be any number of related possibilities that cause any one symptom. If you’re chronically bloated, it’s a sign of an imbalance that needs to be explored further,” she added.
“If someone feels chronically bloated, they should reach out to a health care professional to explore the cause.”