1. Skip the salt shaker
The sodium found in salt encourages your body to retain water. Of course, the majority of our daily sodium intake comes from processed foods, so be sure to read nutrition labels, and watch out for salty snacks. Instead of salt, add some flavor to dishes with grated lemon rind or your favorite fresh or dried herbs.
2. Chew food slowly and well
Swallowed air can cause bloating, so try not to eat on the run or rush through your meals. It may also cause gas, burping and abdominal pain—even more reason to chew your food thoroughly before swallowing.
3. Avoid using drinking straws
Again, air is the problem. When you use a drinking straw, you swallow more often than normal, resulting in additional air that can cause unpleasant belly expansion and annoying pressure.
4. Don’t make carbonated beverages or beer your drink of choice
Every one of those tiny bubbles contains carbon dioxide gas, which is released into your digestive system, ending up as an uncomfortable buildup that can result in bloating.
5. Relax, and be a good listener, at mealtime
Mom always said it’s not polite to talk with your mouth full—and in fact, doing so can potentially cause belly bloat. Constant chatter around the dinner table, as well as anxiety and tension, may lead to swallowed air. Before a meal, slowly breathe in and out through your nostrils a few times to help you feel more relaxed.
October 2011 issue of Best Health magazine