1. Pick protein- and potassium-rich foods

Fill your plate with ingredients that won't cause you to puff up. "High-potassium foods like bananas, cantaloupe, tomatoes and asparagus help promote a good balance of fluids," says dietitian Isabel Smith. "The same goes for healthy fats like chia, nuts and salmon. These help lower prostaglandins, the group of hormones that cause bloat and muscle contraction. Protein is another safe bet – think chicken, fish, and tofu. "Foods that act as natural diuretics like celery, cucumbers, watermelon, lemon juice, garlic, and ginger will also make you feel lighter on your feet, even on your period," says Sherry Ross, MD, an ob-gyn and women's health expert.

2. Stay away from stuff that causes gas

Yep, we're looking at you broccoli and brussels sprouts. They may inspire your favorite healthy-eating Pinterest boards, but they also contain a complex sugar called raffinose. Humans lack the enzyme to help break it down properly, which leads to gas and bloat. "Other dietary culprits in this category include beans, cabbage, cauliflower and lettuce," says Ross.

3. Keep up your workout routine

We get it: it's probably the last thing you feel like doing. But experts say getting your heart rate up is one of the best ways to alleviate PMS symptoms – including bloat. Lighter workouts like swimming and yoga are your best bet. High-intensity exercises like Crossfit can promote inflammation, which adds to the bloat.

4. Cut back on caffeine and alcohol

"Pre-menstrually, alcohol can enhance PMS symptoms like breast tenderness, mood swings, and bloating," says Bitner. "And coffee can overstimulate the digestive tract and irritate the bowels, not to mention dehydrate you, which causes you to retain water."  Hey, you'll save some serious dough by bypassing your morning latte.

5. Pop an OTC anti-inflammatory

Ibuprofen and naproxen block the chemicals that cause inflammation, and in turn, bloating, says Kelly Roy, MD, an ob-gyn in Phoenix.

6. Take a pass on carbonated and sugary drinks

Chugging fizzy beverages might make you feel better temporarily, but they'll leave you way more bloated than before, says Smith. The same goes for sugary drinks. Instead, rely on your good buddy water. "Mix in some green, peppermint or fennel tea to help eliminate inflammatory mediators," says Ross.

7. Score more shut-eye

"Sleep is often impacted by the pain of menstruation, bloating and feeling out of sorts," says Roy. It's during these crucial hours, though, that the excess fluid in your belly is able to move back into the body and be eliminated, she explains.

8. Consider the Pill

Oral contraception is not only great birth control, it also significantly reduces painful periods and stabilises hormones, says Roy. "In fact, medical studies have shown that it lowers the effect of PMS by over 50%," she says. That's some serious incentive!

© Prevention Australia