Bloating can be incredibly uncomfortable and even annoying at times, especially if you experience it regularly. If you suffer from gut health issues or have a sensitive stomach, such as people with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), bloating can be a daily occurrence.
There are many reasons outside of health issues why you can get bloated. Maybe you ate gassy foods earlier, or you’re retaining water due to too much sodium in your diet. Bloating is a natural response from your body, so don’t worry if this ever happens to you! You just need to find a way to reduce that bloating.
Luckily, there are natural ways to get rid of bloating – through food! We’ll show you a list of the best foods that reduce bloating so that you can alleviate that awful feeling. Plus, a few foods that you should stay away from to prevent bloating in the first place.
What to eat if you’re bloated
Feeling bloated after you just enjoyed a nice meal can be very unpleasant, and the worst thing about it is that it can last for hours. To help reduce that bloating, as well as avoid it in the future, try to incorporate these foods into your diet:
Probiotics and fermented foods are some of the best things you can eat to keep your gut healthy – and luckily yogurt is one of them!
This delicious food is probably the most well-known fermented product. It’s packed with probiotics, which in simple terms are good bacteria that help fight the bad bacteria in your GI tract, creating balance and improving your gut health. It helps reduce bloating and gas, and it also promotes bowel movements.
Plain yogurt that is low in lactose and isn’t artificially flavored, such as plain Greek yogurt, is the best option for a bloated gut. You can add it to your fruit bowls, smoothies, oatmeal, and much more! And if you truly can’t digest lactose, you can try kefir, a fermented drink that’s almost 100% lactose-free, or other fermented foods such as kombucha and natto.
Bloating can be caused by water retention, which in turn is caused by too much sodium in a diet. Foods rich in potassium, such as bananas, help reduce and prevent water retention by lowering and keeping sodium levels balanced in your body, flushing it out for a healthier gut.
Bananas are also a rich source of fiber, which helps ease and even prevent constipation, as well as promote better digestion and regularity. So, not only are bananas delicious, but also incredibly healthy for your gut, and you can eat them alone as a snack or with your favorite breakfast meals!
Another breakfast favorite, avocados aren’t only popular because of their flavor, but also because they’re incredibly healthy. Similar to bananas, they contain good amounts of potassium and fiber, helping regulate fluid balance in your body and avoid a backed-up digestive tract by easing constipation.
When it comes to your diet, avocados are a rich source of protein, making them a great option if you’re on a low-carb diet. Their protein content, paired with the fiber, not only will help with bloating but also keep you full for longer, which is why it’s a great idea to include some in your meals, whether it’s breakfast, lunch, or dinner!
If you really enjoy fruits, papaya might already be on your regular shopping list. But if it’s not already, consider adding it, especially if you suffer from a bloated gut!
Not only is it a great source of water and fiber, which helps promote regular bowel movements, but papaya also contains an enzyme called papain which helps break down amino acids in your gut. This aids in digestion, making it easier for your digestive system to process the foods that you eat more smoothly.
Plus, papaya has anti-inflammatory properties due to its vitamin A content, which makes it a great gut-friendly fruit that you can have together with other fruits, alone, or in smoothies and juices.
When it comes to bloating due to water retention, asparagus can be a green savior. This is because it increases urine production, helping you flush out extra water as well as sodium that might be in your body and causing you to bloat.
Asparagus is also a great source of prebiotics, not to be confused with the probiotics we mentioned earlier. Prebiotics are foods that “feed” the good bacteria in your gut, making them stronger and healthier, thus promoting better gut health and digestion. You can eat them steamed or sauteed with other veggies – your choice!
Similar to papaya, ginger contains an enzyme that helps break down amino acids in your gut, which helps digest protein more effectively. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that make the digestion process more smooth by relaxing your intestines to allow food to pass easily.
This combination of benefits can do wonders for your gut health, whether you eat ginger before or after your meals. You can enjoy it as a nice warm cup of tea, add it to your salads, or even use it as a condiment!
Cucumbers are a great source of water. In fact, they’re 95% water, which helps your body stay hydrated and clear out excess water. Not only because of the water content but also because they contain mild diuretic properties that help increase urine production.
On top of this, cucumbers also have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which help reduce bloating and promote better digestion. You can eat cucumbers in salads, in fruit bowls, or mixed into your favorite green smoothies!
This might be the less common food to make the list, but it’s for a good reason! That’s because fennel and fennel seeds can be incredibly beneficial for your gut health in different ways.
Fennel contains anti-spasmodic and anti-inflammatory compounds that can help relax your gastrointestinal muscles and reduce spasms, allowing excess gas to pass instead of staying stuck and causing you to bloat. On top of that, it has diuretic properties that help you get rid of excess water and sodium, making it a great food to tackle both kinds of bloating.
You can eat fennel in salads or sauteed with your favorite meats, or add the seeds to your favorite tea for an extra nutritional punch!
Bloating foods to avoid
One of the main reasons for bloating is eating FODMAP foods, which stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols. This isn’t exactly self-explanatory, but to put it simply, FODMAP foods are carbs that aren’t digested properly in your gut, causing gas, constipation, and stomach pain.
Because of this, a low-FODMAP diet is recommended for those who constantly suffer from bloating due to gut health issues or simply because they eat too much of these kinds of foods. Here are some of the foods that cause bloating:
- Fruits with high fructose concentration, such as peaches, apricots, apples, mangoes, and cherries
- Cruciferous vegetables, such as Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and artichokes
- Dairy products, such as whole milk, buttermilk, and ricotta cheese
- Wheat products and other grains, such as bread, pasta, barley, and rye
- Beans and lentils
On top of this list, there are also a few other foods that are surprisingly gassy, such as onions and garlic. These foods are a crucial part of many diets because of how delicious they are, but they can also make you bloated if you eat enough of them.
Now, this doesn’t mean that you need to avoid them completely – unless you have medical conditions that require you to. This list can help you identify what’s causing your bloating, so you can reduce consumption accordingly and avoid that unpleasant feeling in the future.
Help support a healthy gut microbiome by adding these to your diet
These foods aren’t only incredibly beneficial when it comes to reducing bloating, but they’re also super healthy and can help support your gut microbiome in many different ways. From promoting good bacteria to improving digestion and aiding in regular bowel movements, keeping these foods in your diet will make your eating experience more enjoyable.
If you want to keep track of the foods that you eat for a healthier gut, check the Fit With Iulia app! The app offers a Kitchen feature in which you can log all the meals that you eat by choosing from our expansive food library. Sort the results by macro, level of healthiness, if they’re vegan or vegetarian, or if they are lactose or gluten-free. Download the Fit With Iulia app and start tracking your foods today!