Bloating is a common complaint for many people. This could be merely a sensory feeling for you in which you feel very full but your belly still appears flat, or it could be a combination of sensory and physical manifestations in which your abdomen visibly expands after eating. Bloating is most often caused by large meals, excessive gas in the intestines or hormonal changes. Whether you have figured out what is causing your discomfort or do not yet have any idea why bloating has become your nearly constant companion, check out these five tips to help you reduce belly bloat and feel more like yourself.

Try Gentle Exercise

If your belly bloating is due to pressure from gas, gentle or twisting exercises can help work it out of you. While this is not a long-term solution, it can help you get rid of the discomfort that is keeping you from your favorite activities. Taking a walk of any speed is one of the simplest solutions to getting your intestines moving and eliminating gas.

Yoga is another good solution if you work on poses that twist your intestines gently or that push your legs against your belly. Seated twist, spinal twist and triangle pose are excellent twisting options while happy baby, full wind and child’s pose are excellent relaxing stretches that put light pressure on your abdomen.

Check Your Diet

For a long-term solution, you will definitely want to look at your diet to see if what you are eating is causing your belly bloat. Cruciferous vegetables and beans are particularly problematic for many. However, you do not have to give them up entirely to get rid of bloating. Instead, try easing such foods as cooked beans, broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage gently into your diet, gradually increasing the amount you eat each week. Other common dietary problems that can cause belly bloating include consuming too much salt and drinking carbonated beverages.

Increase Fiber Intake

While eating too much fiber at one time can be hard on the belly if you are not used to it, gradually increasing the amount of fiber you eat each day can eventually lead to better bowel habits, less gas and less constipation. Focus on oatmeal, whole grain breads, brown rice and berries.

Take Probiotics

Probiotics have recently come into vogue for good reason. These live microorganisms come in many forms these days, but they all help to increase your good gut bacteria to restore your intestinal balance. Not only can you take these in supplement form, but also you can find probiotics in foods containing live cultures, such as some cheeses and yogurts, sauerkraut and kombucha.

Keep a Food Diary

If you have tried the above tips but are still struggling with regular bouts of belly bloat, you may want to keep a food diary to narrow down what is causing the problem. Your food diary should include exactly what you eat at each meal and snack time along with how you feel afterwards. You may find that dairy, eggs, gluten or another ingredient is regularly causing you issues.

Although bloating can be uncomfortable to live with, it most likely is not dangerous to your health. By changing your activity levels and improving your dietary choices, you may be able to fight back against this feeling of fullness, watch your belly flatten out and discover which foods simply do not work for your body. Of course, if these tips do not work for you, you will want to schedule a visit with your primary care doctor to rule out any medical conditions or food allergies.