4. Exercise regularly. A consistent exercise routine keeps your bowel habits regular, too, which can prevent constipation, itself a potential contributor to bloating woes.
5. Track your food. Keep a food journal (try SparkPeople.com's free food tracker), noting what you ate and whether or not you have bloating or other discomfort afterward. Then, look for foods that tend to cause bloating for you and experiment with limiting or avoiding them to see if you find relief. Although this may seem an impossible puzzle at first, many people are able to identify certain triggers over time.
6. Avoid foods that commonly trigger bloating. If you're keeping a food journal, you may find that some of these foods don't cause problems for you, but for immediate relief, avoid ingesting large portions of beans, cabbage, carrots, onion, apricots, prunes, bananas, bagels and wheat germ. This doesn't mean you should swear off these foods, but rather that you may want to consume them in small amounts until you've pinpointed the cause of your bloating.
7. Drink plenty of water. Getting enough fluids in your diet will help prevent constipation by encouraging regular bowel movements.
8. Read labels carefully. Many prepared foods, especially diet foods, use sugar alcohols to replace caloric sweeteners and inulin to provided added fiber. However, both of these very common ingredients can cause gas and bloating.
Try these tips and talk to your physician if nothing seems to help. In addition, be careful with bloating symptoms that occur alongside other symptoms, as they can be a signal that something more serious is at the root of your belly pain.
This article has been reviewed and approved by Becky Hand, M.Ed., Licensed and Registered Dietitian.
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International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders, "Understanding Bloating and Distension," www.iffgd.org, accessed on December 6, 2013.
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UNC Center for Functional GI & Motility Disorders, "Abdominal Bloating: A Mysterious Symptom," www.med.unc.edu, accessed on December 6, 2013.