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Your Stress Levels

"Of all the things that conspire to cause bloating and GI distress, stress is one of the most prevalent," Chutkan writes in her book. When you're stressed, your body diverts energy and blood flow away from the digestive system, leaving you backed up and bloated. Chutkan suggests asking your doctor about gut-directed hypnotherapy to relieve stress and GI distress, or try these 20 Simple Stress Relief Techniques.

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Your Pain Meds

Specifically non-steroidal anti-inflammatory meds (NSAIDS). They've been shown to damage the intestinal lining, especially if you also exercise. According to Chutkan, they can also make you hold onto fluid. To nix the pain without bringing on puffiness, reach for pills without aspirin or ibuprofen.

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Your Blue Mood

"Most of your body's feel-good hormone, serotonin, is housed in your gastrointestinal tract, and with depression, both you and your gut may be feeling the effects of suboptimal serotonin levels," writes Chutkan. If you're depressed, seek help. (Even if you're not, some experts says that everyone should be screened annually.) Getting your mood back on track may curb belly bloat, too, so it's a win-win.

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Your Lackluster Water Intake

So about that dehydration. Besides bloating, it triggers a whole host of unpleasant side effects (including these five). And Chukan says you can't count on what she calls "portable bloatables" to make up for your water shortfall—soda, coffee, caffeinated tea, etc. No water means a dry intestinal tract that food has a hard time moving through, which = bloat. Drink up.

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Your Java Habit

You might be confused by this one. Overdoing it with the coffee can have you heading to the bathroom every five minutes, but according to Chutkan's book, that diuretic effect can trigger dehydration. As a result, food moves more slowly through your intestines and—voila—bloat. Chase your coffee with tons of water, and cut back your intake. Chutkan actually recommends giving it up entirely in favor of herbal teas, green juice, and plain old water, which seems a little harsh—but she's the expert.

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