Bloating is a natural digestive ailment that occurs when gas builds up in the intestinal tract and stomach. Prolonged and excessive bloating may be accompanied by abdominal pains as well as a puffy appearance. Bloating is commonly attributed to high-sodium dietary intakes, hormonal fluctuations and possible food allergies or intolerances. For short- or long-term treatment of bloating, institute dietary and lifestyle changes, or consult with a physician to determine underlying causes of prolonged bloating and appropriate treatment plans.
Decrease the amount of gas-producing carbohydrates you eat. Carbohydrates are the body and brain's primary source of fuel and are essential for normal body functions. However, excessive consumption of carbs that are high in sugars or dietary fiber can cause stomach discomfort and bloating. "Harper's BAZAAR" recommends cutting out carbs and sugar as a quick way to de-bloat a day or two prior to a big event. Cut back on or avoid cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and high-fiber fruits like apples and pears. Enjoy these foods in moderation and gradually increase your intake until your body has adjusted to them in your diet.
Cut back on foods high in salt, or sodium to de-bloat quickly. Sodium increases water retention in the body, which contributes to belly bloat and puffiness. This mineral is most commonly found in processed and packaged foods, such as canned soups, beans, bars, chips and condiments such as ketchup and barbecue sauces. Read labels carefully and prepare your own home-cooked meals with herbs and spice, instead of table salt. Cutting out carbonated drinks will also help decrease gas buildup in the gut.
Drink more water. Water aids digestion by moving foods and waste materials through the body for elimination. Undigested foods that remain in the digestive tract start to ferment and contribute to constipation, flatulence and bloating. Aim for eight to 10 glasses of water daily, and include herbal teas, clear-based broths and water-rich fruits such as watermelon into your daily diet.
Decrease the amount of fat in your diet. According to the Mayo Clinic, a diet high in fat can contribute to stomach bloat. Foods high in fat take longer to digest and thus stay in the stomach for a longer period of time, compared with lower-fat foods. High-fat foods also contain more calories and typically have added sugars that increase belly bloat. Avoid fatty cuts of meat, fried foods, pastries and creamy sauces. Cut out fatty foods on days when you wish to de-bloat fast, and follow a low-fat diet for long-term weight management success.
Always consult with a physician or health professional prior to making any dietary changes that could adversely affect your health.
Abnormal and prolonged bloating could be the result of a serious underlying medical condition and should be addressed by a physician.