Show Bloat Who's Boss With These Tricks to Reduce Discomfort

If you ever feel like bloat has a bad habit of sneaking up on you at life's most inopportune times, we have some good news: there are things you can do to prevent your belly from ballooning. From the food we eat to how quickly we consume it, a number of factors affect the state of our abdomen. And while each of us is different, and not all of these methods will work for everyone, finding a way to curb your discomfort is crucial. Try these tricks to say so long to evenings interrupted by an upset stomach and take control of distension.

  • Eat slower: You're already running late, and just as you're about to walk out the door, you realize you forgot to eat. We've all been there. Samantha Nazareth, MD, board-certified gastroenterologist, told POPSUGAR eating too quickly can lead to improper chewing, making it difficult for the body to digest. "You're sending this huge bolus of food down to your stomach," Nazareth said, "and when you eat fast, you send a lot of air down as well."
  • Reduce lactose intake: Many people are lactose intolerant and don't realize it, Nazareth said. Do a self-analysis by recording your existing symptoms, then eliminating lactose from your diet for one month, and recording your symptoms again. If you notice a difference, lactose could be the culprit of your pain.
  • Get moving: Fight the lethargy that comes with bloat by taking a walk around the block. Nazareth said staying on your feet will promote peristalsis, the wavelike motion your stomach needs to make to digest food. "Your intestines are a muscle," Nazareth said, "and getting up helps move things along; it helps those muscle contractions."
  • Skip the sugar: We know what you're thinking: "Another warning about sugar? Who could have guessed?" Add bloat to sugar's rap sheet of crimes against the body; it feeds bacteria that increase gas production.
  • Eat less gluten: Nazareth said, similar to the case with lactose, it's common to be sensitive to gluten without being aware of it. Emphasizing gluten sensitivity is much milder than gluten allergy, she explained this can also be tested by eliminating gluten from the diet for around one month. If you think you might be gluten-sensitive or have celiac disease, it's important to talk to your doctor about proper care.
  • Stray from salt: Though salt won't leave your stomach plagued by gas, it will cause your body to retain water. If you're headed to the beach or know you'll be showing some skin, replace sodium-heavy snacks with fruits and vegetables to prevent a puffy appearance.
  • Eat more pineapples: The enzyme bromelain, found in pineapples, promotes protein digestion, Nazareth said. If you can't seem to satisfy your sweet tooth, try eating pineapple before turning to a lactose-based option. Nazareth said papaya can also aid digestion.
  • Limit your bean intake: Beans got their nickname "the musical fruit" for a reason: They're notorious for causing bloat in more ways than one. Beans contain an oligosaccharide, or sugar, that's quite difficult to digest. They're also very high in fiber, and though fiber helps us feel full, consuming large amounts at once can be too much for the body to handle. Lastly, beans contain carbohydrates in the FODMAP family, which cause bloating and gas.
  • Try a low FODMAP diet: FODMAP stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols, or a bunch of fancy words for carbohydrates that wreak havoc on your stomach. Beets, asparagus, artichokes, plums, avocados, and more fall into this category of things to avoid to ease bloat.
  • Cut back on cruciferous vegetables: Cabbage, cauliflower, kale, and other vegetables in this category contain the complex sugar raffinose. Nazareth said this indigestible trisaccharide brings on gas and feelings of distension. "If you want to try the veggies, steam them, or cook them," she said. "It's better on the gut than if you eat them raw."