Last minute anti-bloating tips for a flatter stomach

In this age of stress, inactivity and bad diets, gas and bloating are common complaints

Racha Adib
Racha Adib - Special to Al Arabiya English
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In this age of stress, inactivity and bad diets, gas and bloating are common complaints. High fat diets, salt overload and processed foods can all result in air bubbles forming in your intestinal tract and a bloated look. While fixing the issue from the core is the solution you should be after, sometimes you just need a quick fix. Have a first date coming up or a party to attend? There’s good news: a variety of home remedies are available to help with gas and bloating.

Increase potassium

Eating high sodium foods can trigger water retention, which can balloon you up. But sodium isn’t only found in the salt shaker. It sneaks its way into most processed food, whether savory or sweet. The CDC reports that about 90% of Americans consume more sodium than is recommended. The solution is balancing it out with foods rich in potassium, like bananas, melon, oranges, kiwi and unsalted pistachios. Potassium prevents water retention by regulating sodium levels in your body and can control salt-induced bloating. The more salt you consume a day, the more potassium-rich foods you should eat.

Get off the couch

One way to ease bloating discomfort is to get moving. Even just a short, brisk walk can reduce bloating because the activity helps the digestive tract process gas more quickly. If your waistband feels snug, go for a brisk 15-minute walk or walk up and down a set of stairs.

Down eight glasses of water

When your belly is bloated, filling up on water seems like the last thing you want to do, but it actually helps prevent bloating in three ways. When you’re not drinking enough fluids, your body retains water to prevent dehydration so sipping water can actually reduce water retention. Drinking water prevents constipation which is another cause of a bloated belly. Water also helps flush waste out of your system. You can also reach out to foods with a high water content such as watermelon, celery, grapefruit, and cucumbers.

Chew on mint leaves

Mint has muscle relaxing abilities. It alleviates gas by allowing intestinal muscles to calm and release tension. It works by boosting normal intestinal contractions and helps relieve constipation. Mint may also improve bile flow which helps fats to digest more easily. Drink one cup of mint tea to reduce bloating or chew on five fresh mint leaves. You can even find over the counter enteric-coated peppermint oil capsules. Although some older studies suggest that peppermint oil does not have an effect, most research shows that taking peppermint oil reduces bloating and gas in people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

Spit out your gum

Chewing gum causes you to swallow lots of air. That in turn causes gas, which can cause bloating. If you’ve got a gum habit, substitute chewing gum with sucking on a piece of hard candy. Read the label before choosing your candy. Sugar free candy can contain sorbitol, xylitol, maltitol and other “ol” ending sugar alcohols. Because they’re not easily digested, they can cause bloating and cramping in sensitive people so it’s best to avoid them when you’re feeling bloated.

Sip on green tea

Green tea is a popular herbal beverage and weight loss supplement. Unlike other types of tea, green tea is made from unfermented leaves, so it contains the highest concentration of potent antioxidants called polyphenols. The University of Maryland Medical Center notes extracts of green tea are shown to boost the metabolism and stimulate fat burning. Because the herb is naturally caffeinated, it has a diuretic effect on the body, which helps reduce water retention through increased urination. For best results, choose standardized extracts of green tea in dosages of 100 to 750 mg daily. In tea form, two to three cups daily is recommended.

Drink prune juice

Bloating can also be caused by constipation. If you’re not able to eliminate waste in the intestinal tract this can lead to a bloated look. Prunes are an effective constipation reliever because they have high amounts of fiber and work as natural laxatives. What is even more effective is prune juice because it comes in a concentrated form. Simmer five parts filtered water to one part prunes for three to four hours. After removing any pits, puree the mixture and enjoy.

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