What is Bloating and How Do You Know You are Bloated?
Bloating is caused by an increase of air within your digestive system that makes your abdomen distend outward.
Sometimes, you may not realize you are bloated until you try to zip up a pair of pants and can’t.
Other times, you may be so bloated it appears you are three months pregnant!
Although bloating isn’t usually a serious condition, it can be uncomfortable and embarrassing, especially when bloating is accompanied by excessive flatulence. 1, 2
Don’t confuse bloating with weight gain. Bloating is a temporary condition usually caused by one or more of the following: hormonal imbalances, eating gas-causing foods, thyroid disorders and food allergies.
Stress, not getting enough sleep or metabolic problems can exacerbate bloating as well.
Most people suffer bloating because their intestines are not digesting protein, sugars and carbohydrates properly. The intestines contain billions of bacteria–some good, some bad–necessary for healthy digestion of foods. If there are too many “bad” bacteria, you may experience bloating, flatulence and a puffy abdomen.
Restoring a healthy balance to gut bacteria means including the following foods in your diet until bloating is gone. 3, 4
How to Reduce Stomach Bloating
Getting rid of excess air and water in your digestive system means eating foods high in water and certain nutrients that will reduce sodium and act like a diuretic. Here are 15 foods that have shown to reduce bloating: 5, 6
- Ginger is a natural anti-inflammatory food as well as a well-known digestive aid. It helps relieve bloating by soothing the digestive system and relaxing the muscles in the digestive tract. Also, ginger contains an enzyme that absorbs proteins, thus helps reduce protein-induced bloating and gas.
- Celery is mostly water and provides natural digestive properties that works great to flush out your digestive system.
- Widely used to reduce puffiness under the eyes, cucumbers are also a great option for reducing abdominal swelling. They contain quercetin, an antioxidant that helps reduce swelling as it inhibits the activity of pro-inflammatory enzymes.
- Plain Yogurt. Yogurt contains probiotic bacteria that improve gut health and digestive processes. Be sure to opt for plain yogurt with live and active cultures. You can also get your probiotics in supplement form. Studies have shown that probiotic supplements can help reduce bloating in people with some digestive problems.
- Loaded with potassium and fiber, bananas are the perfect food to relieve bloating and water retention. Foods rich in potassium help prevent water retention by regulating sodium levels in the body, which in turn reduces salt-induced bloating. Also, the soluble fiber in bananas can help relieve or prevent constipation.
- Fennel Seeds. Fennel seeds contain a compound that relaxes gastrointestinal spasms, eliminating gassy cramps and relieving bloating. You can add fennel seeds to your food, chew on them directly or prepare them as a tea.
- Peppermint is well-known to help support digestion as well as soothe an upset stomach. It contains menthol, which helps smooth the muscles in the digestive tract.
- Get all the anti-gas potassium you need in a sweet-tasting cantaloupe. It’s high water content adds diuretic properties as well. Also, it´s potassium content will help you excrete excess sodium and relieve bloating.
- Apple Cider Vinegar. Sipping some apple cider vinegar can help improve your digestive process by helping maintain appropriate levels of stomach acid.
- Plain Oatmeal. Fiber is oatmeal’s middle name—and having more fiber is one of the best ways to help eliminate bloating.
- Research shows that pineapples can help reduce colonic inflammation that may be causing you to bloat. Pineapples contain the digestive enzyme bromelian that helps break down proteins. 7
- Lemons help reduce inflammation in the digestive tract, provide an antioxidant boost and, even have shown to aid in weight loss.
- Avocados contain the digestive enzyme lipase, which breaks down fat and help move food out of your digestive tract to prevent bloating and gas. Also, high in potassium, avocados can help your body flush out excess water.
- Almonds are high in fiber and prebiotics, both important in preventing bloating.
- This tropical fruit contains an enzyme, papain, that helps break down proteins in your gastrointestinal system, thus making digestion easier and preventing bloating in the first place. Papayas also have anti-inflammatory properties and fibers that help support a healthy digestive tract.