A bloated belly and water retention can make you feel uncomfortable and just might leave your clothes ill-fitting as well. The key to eliminating belly bloat and water weight is to identify what is causing it. Bloating and water retention have a myriad of causes, from PMS to gas and constipation. Finding your trigger is the best way to trim your waistline.
Revamp your diet. Some foods can cause gas, which results in a bloated belly. Eliminate or reduce gas-causing foods from your diet. Baked beans, cabbage and cauliflower can result in gas and belly bloat, as can alcohol and carbonated drinks. Chewing gum and hard candy can also make you suck in more air and, thus, bloat more easily.
Cut out the sodium. Salt can lead to water retention, which can increase that belly bloat. Taste before you salt your food, and season it conservatively. Avoid high-sodium items including canned soups and vegetables, soy sauce and deli meats. The American Heart Association recommends that all Americans aim for less than 1,500 milligrams of sodium per day, although the intake limit is set at 2,300 milligrams.
Slowly add fiber to your diet. If your bloated belly is caused by constipation, a high-fiber diet can relieve this uncomfortable condition and reduce your bloat. However, eating a lot of high-fiber foods at once can increase the bloat, so slowly increase your fiber intake. According to Harvard School of Public Health, adults need roughly 30 grams of fiber per day, but most eat only half that amount. Sources of high-fiber foods include vegetables, whole grains and some cereals. You can also take a fiber supplement, but talk to your doctor first.
Eat slowly. Eating quickly and on the go can make you take in more air when you eat, which can result in a bloated belly. Chew slowly to allow the saliva to drench your food, making it easier for the stomach to digest. Other tips, from the Medical University of South Carolina, include putting your fork down between bites and chewing your food 25 times.
See your doctor. If changes to your diet do not result in less belly bloat and water retention, have your doctor evaluate your symptoms. Some conditions, including irritable bowel syndrome and appendicitis, feature belly bloat as a symptom, so get these conditions ruled out -- or treated if necessary.
- Better Health Channel: Fluid Retention
- MedlinePlus.com: Abdominal Bloating
- Johns Hopkins Medicine: You've Got Gas and What You Can Do About It
- American Heart Association: Why Should I Limit Salt?
- Harvard School of Public Health: Fiber--Start Roughing It!
- Medical University of South Carolina: Tips and Tricks for Eating Slowly