It's Saturday night, and you slip on your sexiest pair of jeans. One problem: Your stomach's so swollen that those jeans barely zip shut. Sound familiar? Bloating's a common but annoying symptom with many causes, says Patricia Raymond, M.D., a gastroenterologist in Chesapeake, VA. "You could be retaining fluids - especially right before that time of the month - or have excess gas because of something you ate, or you could be constipated," Raymond notes. Luckily, there are just as many ways to banish bloat. Try one of these tricks to keep your denim looking slimming.
Pick Potassium-Rich Foods
This mineral helps regulate the fluid balance in your body, keeping bloat at bay. High-potassium foods include bananas, cantaloupe, mangoes, spinach, tomatoes, nuts, and asparagus - which contains an amino acid called asparagine that (bonus!) acts as a diuretic to flush excess liquid out of your system.
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Prep for PMS
If you tend to swell up before (or during) your period, be sure you're getting enough calcium (1,200 mg a day) and magnesium (200 to 400 mg daily) in your diet; both crucial nutrients have been found to help relieve PMS symptoms such as bloating. You can also pop Midol, which contains two mild diuretics.
Related: What Your Period Says About Your Health
Pop a Probiotic
These "good bacteria" can keep you regular and bloat-free. Women with irritable bowel syndrome - characterized by abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, and/or diarrhea - who took the probiotic strain B. infantis for four weeks noticed less bloating than those on a placebo, one study shows. Check labels for this strain (which can be found in the supplement Align), or find a similar strain in Dannon Activia yogurt.
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To help evacuate gas, says Raymond, try massaging your abdomen in the direction of your GI tract: Press your fingers near your right hip; slide up toward the ribs, across and down near your colon in a circular motion. Sounds weird - but it works!
Related: Pamper Yourself Healthy
Limit Sugar Substitutes
Some people have difficulty digesting artificial sweeteners (especially sorbitol, found in many sugar-free candies and gums - making gum doubly bloat-inducing), which can cause gas and diarrhea, Raymond warns (some may also cause cancer). If you suspect you're one of them, opt for a bit of real sugar instead.
Related: The Flat Belly Diet
Fight constipation by walking for at least 15 to 20 minutes each day to keep food moving through your digestive tract, Raymond suggests. Working up a sweat also releases fluids.
Related: 10 Flat Belly Tips
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