Nobody likes to feel bloated! Unfortunately, most women are familiar with the unpleasant feeling of having a distended belly. It often seems to strike at inopportune times, like when you need to get dressed for a dinner or when you're about to enjoy a night on the town with your girlfriends.

Bloating usually occurs as a result of too much fermentation in the digestive tract. Some common triggers include: stress, a food sensitivity, a lack of enzymes, uncoordinated peristalsis, or eating too much fiber.

Your best bet is best to prevent bloating, instead of trying to address the issue when it's already there. This is a lot easier and will save you the trouble of experiencing discomfort. Here's how to beat the bloat:

1. Eat only when truly hungry.

Try to avoid emotional eating and overeating.

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2. Allow your previous meal to digest before eating the next meal.

Wait at least three hours between meals.

3. Chew well and don’t talk while chewing.

If you're eating with others, put down your folk between bites and let the flavor and the experience of food be your only focus. Don't eat and speak at the same time. Better yet, meet friends for walks or for a tea and keep social eating to minimum until your gut is healthy and strong.

4. Be careful with your fiber.

Coarse or poorly chewed fiber will delay passage through the digestive system and slow the rate at which the food is digested and absorbed. So if you don’t chew a slice of bread or a piece of potato properly, you're leaving a lot more work for your stomach and it will take longer.

5. Eat easy-to-digest meals when you're in a rush, stressed, or anxious.

Focus on soups and warm mono-meals such as kitchari and sautéed vegetables.

6. Eat fruit at least 30 minutes before meals.

Don’t eat fruits after a meal. This habit is gas-forming and leads to bloating.

7. Get hip to ginger.

Try chewing on a slice of ginger with lime juice 20 minutes before a meal.

8. Use digestion-stimulating spices when making your food.

Try black pepper, ginger, cumin, coriander, cardamon, or fennel.

9. Don’t drink anything cold while eating.

Ideally, you'll limit cold foods as well. Fruits should be room temperature (not straight from the fridge). If you can’t live without your ice cream, have some ginger tea afterward.

10. Avoid drinking 30 minutes after the meal.

It will dilute digestive juices and make it harder to digest food.

11. Reduce salt.

The easiest way? Start cooking your own meals. Restaurant meals are often overly salty.

12. Eliminate caffeine and alcohol.

This is particularly important if you have a leaky gut or inflammation.

If you feel bloated, try these remedies:

1. Chew on fennel seeds or sip a hot fennel and ginger tea.

Prepare fennel tea by crushing one teaspoon of fennel seeds and adding it to one cup of water in a pot. Bring the water to a boil, cover and steep for 10 to 15 minutes. Cool and strain.

A traditional dose of fennel tea is about two to three cups daily. If you're at a restaurant or don’t have fennel seeds, opt for a mint tea. It's also soothing to the digestive tract. Another tip: carry tea bags in your purse so you'll always have the kind you like handy.

2. Go for a brisk walk.

Aim for 30 minutes of walking. I also like to add a few jumping jacks or twists. This helps to increase blood circulation and to release gas.

3. Stretch.

You want to do poses that create extension and contraction of the abdomen such as cat/cow, child’s pose, or seated twists.

4. Get warm.

Apply a warm compress on the lower part of the stomach or take a warm bath to improve circulation and counteract muscle contraction that might be causing bloating.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com


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