Being bloated is no fun at all. Clothes feel too tight, you feel slow and drained, you may even look like you're pregnant! You've likely heard all sorts of tricks and remedies, both holistic and prescription, but how do you know which ones work, which ones are even worth trying? Women's Health turned to the experts and found these 9 tricks for beating that bloat and ranked them from least to most effective:
9. Castor Oil
This is a very popular method with naturopaths. The theory is that if you apply warm castor oil to your abdominal area, it can help burn excess fat and flatten your stomach. However, there is no evidence this actually works. "If it does anything at all, I suspect it might be a placebo effect," says Linda Anegawa, M.D., founder and medical director of OSR Weight Management in Hawaii.
8. Body Wraps
Spas like to claim that body wraps are a quick way to shave up to a few inches off your waist. This treatment involves being covered in a mix of minerals and wrapped, like a mummy, in plastic or fabric. Then, you are left to 'detox.' Some people claim to have miraculous results but again, there is no evidence that it works. "Sure, you'll lose water weight from sweating, but our bodies are also extremely efficient at moving fluid into areas where excess fluid has been lost," says Anegawa. This means that although you may see results for an hour or two, that will be the end of it.
Teatoxes claim to do everything from cleanse your system to boosting your metabolism to reducing bloating. One possible reason may be that these teas act as a diuretic and may increase the frequency of your bowel movements. But Anegawa warns that, "overusing diuretic teas can be habit-forming and cause undesirable side effects, like severe diarrhea." Instead, just stick to green tea. It is a milder diuretic which can help you lose water weight and reduce bloating without any side effects, according to Gina Sam, M.D., director of the Gastrointestinal Motility Center at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.
6. Water Pills
Using over the counter or prescription water pills works to reduce bloating by flushing fluids from your body. This is okay in the short-term but overtime, they may start to do the exact opposite. "You'll go back to retaining the same amount of water as you did before you took them, often within hours," says Anegawa. "The mechanism by which this happens isn't entirely clear, but it can make you more prone to water retention and bloat in the future." If you keep taking these pills, especially without assistance from your doctor, your kidneys will eventually become useless.
5. Sleeping Better
Getting between 7 and 9 hours a of sleep a night helps to normalize your bowel functions which leads to less constipation and less bloating.
4. Swallowing Less Air
Eating too quickly, chewing gum, sucking on a straw or hard candy, and drinking carbonated beverages can lead to you filling up with air. This excess air gets trapped in your stomach, small bowel and colon which can lead to bloating and gas, says Sam. If you skip these common daily habits, you will have gone a long way to avoiding the bloat.
3. Eating Smaller Meals
If you eat larger meals, your body takes longer to digest the food and fermentation from undigested foods can lead to gas. If the gas doesn't move through you by burping or breaking wind, it can build up in the stomach and small intestines. Try eating every couple of hours to help your stomach digest properly and move food along slowly.
2. Skipping Some Seasonings
You likely know that salt leads to fluid retention and feeling puffy. Sam suggests you also limit foods that contain black pepper, nutmeg, chili powder, tomato sauce, vinegar, mustard, cloves, onions, hot sauce, and ketchup. All of these foods increase stomach acid which can lead to acid reflux. If the acid gets backed up to your esophagus, it can cause you to swallow repeatedly to ease the discomfort and the air swallowed can lead to more bloat. Instead, go for turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, and peppermint. These sooth the stomach and aid digestion.
1. Avoiding Gassy Foods
The best way to avoid bloating is to stop eating gas producing foods. Reducing carbs, which cause you to hold on to water, can have a natural diuretic effect and help to flush the extra water. You should avoid foods like white bread, white rice, cookies, cake, and candy as well as vegetables like brussels sprouts, legumes, broccoli, and cauliflower. Instead you should reach for high protein, low fat goodies like Greek yogurt, salmon, and tofu. These foods help keep bloating down as well as helping to control hunger!
Do you have a tried and true bloat remedy that didn't make the list? Tell us about it!
Source: Women's Health