5 Ways to Deflate a Bloated Belly

Here's a scenario that we're all too familiar with: It's Friday night and we're slipping on our skinny jeans and they feel a little too...skinny. Don't freak out: It doesn't mean you've gained so many pounds that your jeans aren't shutting anymore. It could be because of what you ate during the day, which is causing you to bloat. Since no one wants to carry around extra inches on their waistlines, here are four ways to beat it. Related: Body-Slimming Tips for the Holidays

Pick Potassium-Rich Foods

This mineral helps regulate the fluid balance in your body, keeping bloat at bay. High-potassium foods include bananas, cantaloupe, mangoes, spinach, tomatoes, nuts, and asparagus - which contains an amino acid called asparagine that (bonus!) acts as a diuretic to flush excess liquid out of your system.

Keep Your Mouth Shut
Beware of habits that cause you to swallow excess air - like chewing gum, drinking through a straw, smoking, and talking while you're eating, says Patricia Raymond, M.D., a gastroenterologist in Chesapeake, VA. Related: 10 Things to Do When You're Bored, Besides Eat!

Limit Sugar Substitutes
Some people have difficulty digesting artificial sweeteners (especially sorbitol, found in many sugar-free candies and gums - making gum doubly bloat-inducing), which can cause gas and diarrhea, Raymond warns. If you suspect you're one of them, opt for a bit of real sugar instead. Related: 9 Surprising Slim-Down Tricks

Pop a Probiotic
These "good bacteria" (found in supplements and in cultured milk products such as yogurt) can keep you regular and bloat-free, says Jeannie Gazzaniga-Moloo, R.D., a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. In fact, women with irritable bowel syndrome - characterized by abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, and/or diarrhea - who took the probiotic strain B. infantis for four weeks noticed less bloating than those on a placebo, one study shows. Check labels for this strain (which can be found in the supplement Align), or find a similar strain in Dannon Activia yogurt. Related: 8 Foods with Health Superpowers

Prep for PMS
If you tend to swell up before (or during) your period, be sure you're getting enough calcium (1,200 mg a day) and magnesium (200 to 400 mg daily) in your diet; both nutrients have been found to help relieve PMS symptoms such as bloating. You can also pop Midol, which contains two mild diuretics. Related: Natural Remedies for Menstrual Problems

More from Real Beauty

Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.