1. Watermelon snack
Sweet, refreshing, thirst-quenching—and bloating? Watermelon, as well as certain other fruits like apples, pears, and mangoes, has a high ratio of fructose to glucose (both sugars that occur naturally in fruit). This can cause gas and bloating in the estimated one in three people who has difficulty digesting fructose, according to my 21-Day Tummy coauthor, Kate Scarlata, RD.
2. Work deadline
“When you experience fight-or-flight symptoms, like a racing heart, your body diverts blood flow away from your GI tract, which slows down digestion,” says Dr. Levine. Heavy breathing, which occurs when you’re under stress, makes you swallow more air than usual and can also lead to bloating. To feel better, simply change your breathing pattern so you exhale for a few counts longer than you inhale. This turns off the stress response and moves your body into a calmer state.
tying sneaker exercise Thomas_EyeDesign/Getty Images
The last thing you may want to do on a “fat day” is lace up your sneakers and squeeze into workout clothes. But physical activity stimulates the muscles of your digestive tract, which helps move through your GI tract the food and air bubbles that make you feel bloated. In one small German study, people who took a post-dinner stroll significantly sped up the time it took their body to digest their meal.
Almost 50 percent of people become constipated when they travel, says Connecticut gastroenterologist Ed Levine, MD. When the bacteria in your intestines produce air, it can get trapped in your digestive tract and cause bloating. Prevent it by sticking to your bedtime and mealtime routines as much as possible.
About 25 percent of patients who get gastroenteritis, a stomach infection, have bloating even after the illness clears. A likely suspect: small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). In SIBO patients, abnormal levels of microbes colonize the small intestine, which can lead to gas and bloating, says Henry Lin, MD, chief of gastroenterology at the New Mexico VA Health Care System.