If you are puffing up like a water balloon, that’s causes by water retention. If it’s your tummy that’s pooching, you are uncomfortable and maybe even cramping, that’s gas. Either way, the bloat is no fun. The good news is, all of this is avoidable.
The one-two punch for water retention is to 1) cut back on sodium and 2) drink lots of water. Often people do just the opposite, thinking that water is causing the problem, they cut back on fluids. Big mistake. You are puffy because too much sodium is holding water in your cells. The only way to lose the bloat is to give up the salty junk, like chips, packaged foods, and fast foods, and drink more water to dilute the sodium in your body so your kidneys can flush out the fluids.
You should limit total day’s sodium to no more than 2400milligrams, which is only possible if you avoid processed foods. For example, a Grilled Chicken Classic Sandwich at McD’s has 1190mg, a Marie Callendar’s Chicken Pot Pie has 1,860mg, and typical snack items like pretzels or potato chips have 1000mg. Any one of those is 50% to 77% of your total day’s maximum allotment. Instead, choose low-sodium foods and flavor meals without the salt, such as with spices, herbs, low-sodium flavorings like True Lemon or Mrs. Dash, which gives a flavor punch to anything without adding unwanted sodium.
Then, drink enough water every day so that your urine is pale yellow. Bring a water bottle with you, take 8 gulps of water every time you pass a water fountain at school, line up 8 glasses of water on the kitchen counter if you are a stay-at-home mom, or put a pitcher of water that holds 8 glasses on your desk at work.
It is important to note that you should consult your physician to rule out a serious medical digestive disorder before you do or take anything or make any radical changes, especially if your discomfort or bloating is chronic or painful. For example, Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or food allergies–particularly to wheat, dairy, corn and soy–can cause bloating, although the exact reasons are not understood. Once you rule out serious diseases, you can treat bloating with common sense (including patience), a healthy diet, good eating habits, and exercise.