stop bloating

Whether it comes after a sodium-filled meal or during a certain time of the month, bloating is annoying, inconvenient and uncomfortable – but it is, to some extent, reversible.

Everyone’s body has slight water-based fluctuations that cannot be eliminated, at least not entirely. With that being said, there are a few home remedies you can try to lessen or even prevent bloating.

If your particular version of bloating seems abnormal or extremely severe, you should consider seeing your doctor or another qualified healthcare professional.

With that being said, a little bit of expansion around the midsection is completely normal. And if you have been constantly battling the bloat, consider trying these five simple tips.

1. Drink more water: It sounds counterintuitive, but it is the easiest and most effective way to combat water retention.

Increasing your daily water intake will flush all the excess sodium out of your system quickly, that is if you gulp down eight glasses a day. This is the ideal solution if your bloating tends to appear all over the body, which is a sign that it may be caused by water retention.

2. Stop chewing gum: It is hard to imagine that something as simple as chewing gum could contribute to the size of your waistline.

Yet, gum chewing can cause you to bloat around your stomach. Why? Because when you chew gum, you tend to swallow a lot of air, which can cause your stomach to expand dramatically. If you are concerned about your breath, consider popping a mint as an alternative to gum.

3. Up your fiber intake: Consuming more fiber is a great step to take whether you are looking to reduce bloating, lose some weight or simply be healthier. Fiber not only helps waste move through your body and cleans your system out, it also helps you feel full for longer periods of time.

When you consume more fiber, you just may start to eat less overall. It should not come as a surprise to anyone that overeating can contribute to bloating — if you reduce your portion sizes, the size of your waistline will decrease as well.

5. Workout your abs: Regular abdominal workouts will pay off in the long run – if you strengthen your core and shed fat around your belly, your entire midsection will appear slimmer and less bloated. Even a last minute, one-minute ab workout can temporarily reduce the effects of bloating.

If you are in need of a quick fix, try exercising your abs to see a short-term improvement.

[Read Related: 6 Ways to Six Pack Abs]

6. Skip artificial sweeteners: Do you think ordering a skinny Starbuck’s frappuccino will help you combat bloating? Think again.

Artificial sweeteners can cause your belly to swell, even more so than plain old sugar already  does.  While artificially sweetened snacks and drinks pack fewer calories, they are not good for your body. When it comes to bloating, you might be better off avoiding these additives.

[Read Related: 5 Foods You Think are Good for You, But are Actually Hurting Your Body]