A bloated stomach can invite many health-related problems. Cutting down on salt intake and focusing on potassium-rich fiber can help in getting a flat stomach, says an expert. A new book by Robynne Chutkan, a gastroenterologist and founder of the Digestive Centre for Women in Washington D.C., suggests that women have a tendency to bloat more than men mainly because they have longer intestines. Chutkan says that there are major differences between the male and female digestive tracts. So, to shrink the stomach size, a few precautions must be taken, reports femalefirst.co.uk.- Cut down salt: Too much salt in the diet contributes to edema and bloating. Stick to the recommended 1500 mg of salt intake a day. Don't put salt on the table to add to your dinner and limit the amount whilst cooking. Avoiding ready meals is a must too as these are laden with salt for flavor. - Eat more fiber: Eating a combination of soluble and insoluble fiber is an effective way to stay fit and avoid the bloated feeling that comes with constipation. Foods that are rich in fiber include oranges, mushrooms, raspberries, broccoli and cabbage. - Focus on potassium-rich foods: As sodium makes body retain water, potassium helps it to get rid of excess water. Eating potassium-rich foods like bananas and sweet potatoes can help minimize your middle waist. But make sure to exercise right as these can be fattening too. - Stay hydrated: Drinking enough water ensures that fiber can do its job to ease constipation too. Not drinking enough water can also aggravate your sodium and potassium levels. - Avoid digestive stress: Stay away from foods that are difficult to digest like sugary or fatty foods. Focus instead on simple meals that are made with whole foods and steamed vegetables to heal digestive system. - Ditch artificial sweeteners: Found in flavored water, diet, low-carbs and sugar-free foods, artificial sweeteners aren't completely digested by body. Bacteria in the large intestine tend to ferment them, causing gas and bloating. Always check food labels to avoid sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol and lacitol.