It doesn’t matter if you’re a vegan, macro-counting gym buff, or someone that rarely exercises and consumes carbs, bloat is something that most people will deal with regularly, for a variety of reasons.
Being bloated can lower confidence, stop your fitness results from showing, and sometimes actually cause pain.
So, obviously, bloat isn’t something that we want in our lives! However, most people think the key to reducing bloating is drinking lots of water and working out, and although this is beneficial for overall health, the key to reducing bloating actually lies in food – the type of food that you consume will determine whether you’re bloated or not.
In this article, I’m going to share with you the 8 best foods to reduce bloat, as well as tell you which foods you should be avoiding, and explaining why bloat happens in the first place! So, if you want to know about all of the above, check out my full article below!
Why Does Bloating Happen?
Bloating happens when the digestive tract becomes full of air or gas. Most of the time, bloating is caused by eating, and different foods will produce different types of gas, and different foods also affect people in different ways.
For example, dairy products cause most people to bloat. However, someone with an intolerance to lactose will bloat significantly more when they consume dairy products than someone who doesn’t have an intolerance.
Bloating can also be caused by menstruation, water retention, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammation, and infections. For most people, bloating isn’t actually a problem, but rather something that they would rather do without.
However, if you notice that you’re extremely bloated, have symptoms such as constipation or diarrhea whilst being bloated, or you are bloated for a prolonged period of time and it’s unaltered by what you eat, it’s a good idea to head to the doctors to make sure nothing more serious is going on.
The 8 Best Foods To Reduce Bloating
Ginger aids the digestive system by stimulating digestive enzymes, therefore helping the body to properly breakdown food and absorb nutrients, without it fermenting in the digestive system, causing gas build-up and bloat.
You can incorporate ginger into your diet in many ways, including cooking with it and drinking ginger tea.
Citrus fruits, and in particular lemons, are diuretics and mild laxatives that push toxins from the body, as well as reducing salt and water retention, therefore reducing gas build-up and bloating.
The best way to incorporate lemons into your diet to reduce bloating is by adding lemons to warm water and drinking – most people tend to do this in the morning to flush out toxins straight away and stimulate the digestive system.
Cucumber contains 95% water, meaning it helps to keep the body hydrated (which is really important if you don’t want to be bloated), and it also reduces water retention and pushes trapped gas from the digestive system, therefore reducing bloating.
You can choose to consume cucumbers as a snack or add cucumber to your meals.
Pineapple contains bromelain which is a digestive enzyme that helps the body to breakdown proteins and absorbs nutrients. Bromelain also reduces inflammation in the gut. Therefore, by consuming pineapple, you can ensure that you’re consuming bromelain that keeps bloat at bay.
The best way to consume pineapple is simply by cutting up and eating fresh pineapple, as consuming pineapple juice may be too acidic for the body to handle.
Probiotics are the good type of bacteria that your gut needs, and they improve the state of the gut, turning it from unhealthy, full of gas, and inflamed to healthy and stronger. This means that the likelihood of bloating is reduced.
You can best incorporate probiotics into your diet by consuming fermented foods such as yogurt, kimchi, and kefir.
If you struggle with getting these foods into your diet then the other option is supplementing with probiotics.
Turmeric, containing curcumin, is one of the best anti-inflammatory foods in the world. Turmeric helps to not only reduce inflammation in the gut but also breaks down the trapped gas in the digestive tract, therefore reducing bloating.
You can use turmeric in cooking, or add a serving of turmeric to warm milk and make golden milk.
#7 Peppermint Tea
Peppermint tea is probably one of the best-known bloat banishing substances, and for good reason. Peppermint reduces inflammation, reduces intestinal gas, and has antispasmodic properties, therefore reducing bloat and taking away the pain experienced with bloating and inflammation.
The best time to drink peppermint tea to reduce bloating is straight away after your meal.
Papaya contains the digestive enzymes papain, which helps reduce inflammation and swelling. It’s also a mild laxative, pushing toxins and trapped waste from the body. Papaya is also highly fibrous, improving bowel movements and reducing constipation. All of these benefits mean that papaya is a great food to eat if you’re wanting to reduce bloating.
You can choose to snack on papaya, or use papaya as an edible dish in which you can put your meal.
Foods That Cause Bloating
Now you know which foods are the best to reduce bloating, it’s also important that you know which foods you should be avoiding, or limiting if you’re concerned about bloating!
Most of the foods that are mentioned below are high FODMAP foods (fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols. These are all short-chain carbohydrates (sugars) that most people’s bodies can’t properly break down, and this causes bloating.
If you are struggling with bloating, and you notice that you’re consuming a lot of the foods shown below, you might want to try a low FODMAP diet.
Beans & Lentils
Beans and lentils are both high in fiber and contain oligosaccharides (sugars that most people’s bodies have trouble breaking down), increasing gassiness and creating bloat.
Onion and Garlic
Onion and garlic both contain fructans that aren’t easily digested by the body and therefore produce gas and bloating.
Corn contains insoluble fiber that is difficult for the body to break down and absorb, which causes gas and therefore leads to increased bloating. This is true for both sweetcorn and popcorn.
Broccoli contains the sugar raffinose, which stays in the gut and can’t be digested until the gut bacteria begin to ferment it, and this produces gas and therefore causes bloating.
Apples contain fructose and fiber, both of which are fermented in the gut, causing gas and therefore causing bloating to occur.
Bloating is caused by gas in the digestive tract, and since carbonated drinks contain gas, this is then absorbed and held in the digestive system when consumed, causing bloating.
Consuming alcohol increases the acidity in the digestive system, which irritates the stomach and causes inflammation, therefore causing bloating.
I quit drinking alcohol over 18 months ago now, I find my stomach nevermind experiencing no more hangovers well worth it!
Other Things You Can Do To Reduce Bloating
Your stomach will become bloated if you’re overeating, so make sure you’re eating just enough food and not taking in more than your body can handle. To make sure you’re not overeating, take time to eat your meals rather than wolfing it down.
Slowly Increase Fiber Over Time
Although for some people fiber can increase bloating, it’s essential to have fiber in the diet to improve digestion and regulate bowel movement. So, increase your soluble fiber intake slowly over time to benefit from a supported gut and improved digestion.
Reduce Salt Intake
If you have a high salt intake, your body will hang onto the water and this will cause water retention which causes bloat. So, keep track of this and simply make sure you’re not consuming too much salt in your diet.
Exercise isn’t just important for your overall health, but it’s also specifically important for your gut health, especially when it comes to bloating. When you exercise, trapped gas will be released and your digestive tract will be stimulated, reducing bloat.
Stop Eating Late At Night
Eating late at night when your metabolism is at its slowest will cause bloating because your digestive tract won’t be able to properly digest the food, and gas will build up. So, make sure you stop eating at least 3 hours before you go to sleep.
The Bottom Line – Banish The Bloat By Watching Your Intake
If you’re not bloated due to a particular reason, you’re probably simply bloated because you’re not consuming the right types of food.
So, it’s simple – make sure you’re consuming foods that reduce bloating and limit the amount of bloat-inducing foods that you consume.
If you are worried about your frequent bloating, it’s a good idea to go and see a medical professional who can rule out any serious problems.