Feeling puffy and swollen lately? Then bloating is most likely to blame. This is usually caused by excess gas production and can give you increased pressure, a larger-looking tummy, and utter discomfort.
According to Beth Schorr-Lesnick, M.D., a gastroenterologist and an assistant clinical professor at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, it’s important to watch what and how you eat to prevent yourself from puffing up. “Bad eating habits, certain foods, or hormones can bring the feeling on—and it's extremely common in women.” Here are some tips on how you can beat the bloat:
Taking in food too quickly can cause air to go inside along with your meal. Nutritionist Monica Reinagel also says that “insufficient chewing can reduce your body’s ability to digest carbs.” It’s suggested that you eat slowly, chew your food thoroughly, and take small sips to prevent air pockets that will most probably bloat your tummy.
Keep yourself hydrated.
Don’t underestimate the power of water since it can help flush waste out of your system. It also helps get things moving if you’re constipated, which is a frequent cause of bloating.
Most people think that if you’re already feeling bloated, you shouldn’t take in fluids, but Marilyn Glenville, nutritional therapist and author of The Natural Health Bible for Women says you should actually drink more. “Not drinking actually makes fluid retention worse, in the same way that crash dieting makes the body hang on to fat because it thinks it's starving.”
Yes, exercising can relieve the puffiness you feel. It doesn’t even need to be a hardcore workout—just a 10-minute walk after eating will do the trick. Lena Palmer, M.D., gastroenterologist, assistant professor in the department of medicine, and medical director of nutritional services at Loyola University Chicago says that stomach muscles help gas move through the digestive system. Her advice? Get moving and do some exercises to strengthen the stomach muscles such as crunches, sit-ups, and pelvic lifts.
Take a probiotic.
Sita Chokhavatia, M.D., a gastroenterologist at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City explains that, “bloating can be caused by an imbalance of the bacteria in your intestines, especially if you have been taking antibiotics to treat.” Although probiotics can help restore the bacterial balance, it’s important to consult with a doctor first before taking any kind of medication for bloating.
Monitor your dairy intake.
Dairy can be a the cause of intestinal distress and bloating, especially if you're lactose intolerant or if you're having trouble digesting milk sugar. But if you're eyeing on having your dose of dairy with belly-friendly benefits, try eating yogurt but only with precaution—Julia Greer, M.D., and assistant professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh says that not all yogurts are good for you. “Most dairy products contain varying levels of the sugar molecule lactose which gets fermented in your body and creates gas bubbles and bloating.”
This story originally appeared on Femalenetwork.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.