These Habits Can Reduce Bloat in Seconds, Say Doctors
Tired of dealing with a painful, distended stomach or puffy face? You're not alone. "We all have gas. Yet, we're embarrassed to mention it to health-care providers and friends in social conversation," says Natalie Egan, MS, RD, LDN. "Ten percent to 20 percent of adults have the digestive complaints of belching or flatulence. Here's the good news: bloating or gas doesn't necessarily mean there is something wrong with digestion. But to minimize gas and its embarrassment, the first areas to focus on are diet and eating habits." Here are five habits that can reduce bloat immediately, according to experts. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.
Stretching can be highly effective in fighting bloat. "When you feel bloated, the back and core muscles are going to feel really tight, because the organs are expanding," says Rebecca Weible, yoga instructor and founder and owner of Yo Yoga! in New York City. "Stretching is going to help open things up a little bit, and it can be really relieving. It's also going to increase circulation in the torso, and therefore, the organs that are working to digest."
Exercise can help get rid of bloating fast, doctors say. "Regular exercise helps your body run more efficiently," says Frank K. Friedenberg, MD, MS, (Epi). "It can also help tone the walls of your large intestine to help you move stool through. Even low-impact exercise like walking and yoga can help you break a sweat and release powerful feel-good chemicals. You might also consider taking a class online or try some creative ways to get your daily steps in."
Drink Plenty of Water
Drinking enough water helps to soften stools, which can help with digestive issues that could lead to bloating. "If your poop is dry and hard, it's a lot tougher to push out," says registered dietitian Beth Czerwony, RD. Foods such as cucumber, celery, and watermelon are also high in water.
"Many advertisements tout medications or remedies that reduce gas and bloating," Egan says. "Some have been shown to be of value in clinical studies, others have not yet been proven scientifically but are anecdotally helpful. Before trying anything, you may want to consult with your physician. Two products on the market can help with food-related gas and bloating. Both products are packaged forms of the enzymes needed to break down the problematic carbohydrates. Lactase, found in products such as Dairy Ease and Lactaid, can be taken with dairy foods to help break down lactose and lessen gas. Beano helps digest the indigestible carbohydrate in beans and other gas-producing vegetables."
Don't Avoid Fiber!
Don't cut fiber out of your diet, even if it does make you a little bloated. "It is important not to completely omit foods from the diet that may cause gas," Egan says. "As we know, a high-fiber diet is important for bowel regularity and colon health, so it is well worth the patience it may take to slowly build up tolerance to these types of carbohydrates. Start by adding the offending high-fiber food in smaller quantities, such as a half cup or less. Be sure that fluid intake and activity levels are adequate, as they help to move foods through the digestive tract."
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