bloating
Image: Courtesy of Dusan Jovic via Unsplash

The Best Ways to Reduce Bloating This Summer, According to a Nutrition Expert

Start by avoiding FODMAPs.

Full of hot air? Here’s how to calm things down and keep your tummy happy. Bloating is one of the most common gastrointestinal complaints in the United States, affecting an estimated 20% of Americans on a weekly basis. Bloating refers to a sense of fullness, pressure, or gassiness in the abdomen. Distension, a visible expansion of the abdomen, often occurs with bloating. We interviewed nutrition expert Gabrielle Fondaro from Barbend reveals which foods are likely to cause bloating, foods that can reduce bloating, as well as providing simple exercises that can alleviate symptoms. Keep reading to find out more about this topic! 

low fermentation diet
Image: Courtesy of Krystna Houser via Unsplash

The Best Ways to Reduce Bloating This Summer, According to a Nutrition Expert

Which foods should I avoid?

FODMAPs (fermentable oligo-saccharides, di-saccharides, mono-saccharides and polyols) are certain types of carbohydrates – the sugars, starches, and fiber in foods. FODMAPs can ferment inside your gut, and draw water into your digestive tract causing bloating. Not everyone is sensitive to FODMAPs, but if you experience constant bloating, it may be a good idea to limit the amount you eat. Some of the highest-FODMAP foods include:

  • Honey
  • Milk or other dairy containing lactose
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Cauliflower
  • Mushrooms
  • Artichokes
  • Avocados
  • Apricots and other pitted fruits
  • Apples
  • Wheat
  • Cashews
  • Pistachios
  • Beans
  • Dried fruits

Which foods can improve bloating? 

Here are the lowest-FODMAP foods:

  • Bananas 
  • Bell peppers
  • Blueberries
  • Carrots
  • Cucumbers
  • Grapes
  • Oats
  • Potatoes
  • Quinoa
  • Rice
  • Tomatoes
  • Almond milk
  • Spinach
common nutrition myths
Image: Courtesy of Mariana Medvedeva via Unsplash

Can eating food too quickly cause bloating?

Yes, speed-eating and swallowing air whilst gulping down food can lead to bloating, especially if a very large meal is eaten. Swallowed air is usually expelled in burps before it reaches your intestines where it could cause bloating, but if you notice that you’re belching a lot after your meals and feeling bloated and gassy a few hours later, you might feel better if you slow down your eating behaviors. A great way to reduce bloating is to eat smaller meals, eat slowly, and drink plenty of water instead of carbonated drinks.

What exercises can I do to reduce bloating?

Simple stretching and basic Pilates movements can help relieve the built-up water and gas that causes bloat. Pilates is also a great way to strengthen core muscles and will help to flatten out your stomach. Celebrities such as Miley Cyrus, Kendall Jenner and Lady Gaga absolutely swear by doing Pilates. Here are 3 of the best bloat-reducing Pilates movements in order of difficulty: 

The Hundred

Lie flat on your back with your arms by your sides and squeeze your legs together extending them out. Lift both legs a few inches off the ground whilst squeezing glutes and engaging abs. Lift your head whilst looking towards your toes. Raise your arms up and pump them up and down whilst keeping your legs straight up. Hold position and pump your arms 10 times.  

Swimming

Begin by lying down on your front, extend your arms in front of you and legs out behind. Press your pubic bone down into the floor, to anchor your pelvis. Lift your arms and chest. Keep your shoulders down and away from your ears and your shoulder blades tucked into your back. Alternate lifting your arms and legs and continue for five controlled breaths. This exercise will also do wonders for strengthening your core muscles.

Roll Over

Start by lying on your back with arms by your side, palms face down. Begin to lift your legs towards the ceiling whilst taking a deep breath, then exhale whilst lifting the pelvis and legs up over your head. Your thighs should be above your face and your feet will be pointing to the wall behind you. If you can, touch your toes to the floor behind your head. Exhale and slowly roll back down to the starting position – repeat 8-10 times.

Meet Our Expert:

Even though you may not be able to avoid the dreaded bloat entirely, your stomach might benefit from changing your eating habits, food choices and introducing Pilates into your life. It’s also important to know when bloating might be a sign of a food intolerances and a reason to see your doctor. Based in Brooklyn, New York, BarBend is supported by a team of over 70 experts, contributors, researchers, photographers, and athletes from around the globe. Our in-house editors, creative, and management team steer the ship so we can bring you the best content in the industry. BarBend’s Expert and Contributor Networks include some of the world’s top minds in strength training and strength athletics. Made up of Olympians, World Record holders, coaches, researchers, dietitians, and historians, these individuals bring a range of experiences to our site through the content they write and articles they help verify.

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