Feeling bloated lately?
We’ve all been there: that uncomfortable, too-full feeling. But it’s not always from eating too much.
There are actually two different kinds of bloating: gas bloat and water bloat.
Gas bloating is the most common, it occurs when the gastrointestinal (GI) tract is filled with air or gas.
When undigested food gets broken down or when you swallow air, gas builds up in the digestive tract. Some of us swallow more air than others, especially when eating or drinking too fast, chewing gum or smoking.
Water-retaining bloat makes you puffy and swollen all over. It’s often triggered by hormonal changes, dehydration, or eating lots of salty foods and not enough potassium and water, which leads to retaining extra fluid and feeling bloated.
In many cases, bloating can be prevented by adopting a few simple lifestyle changes. For example, what you eat and drink significantly affects bloating and other digestive issues. Water is also crucial for avoiding bloat, especially when eating food high in fiber, as water helps digest it and move it through your GI.
Here are just a few foods you can load up on that help reduce bloating.
Avocados are rich in potassium, an essential mineral that helps regulate fluid balance and sodium levels which prevents water retention. Just one serving of avocado a day provides 12% of the recommended daily fiber intake which supports digestion and can help prevent constipation and bloating.
Asparagine is an amino acid found in asparagus that helps reduce water retention. Asparagus also contains prebiotic fiber which helps support the growth of “good” bacteria which helps promote overall digestive health.
One cause of bloat and retaining water is consuming foods high in sodium. Eating potassium-rich foods like bananas helps regulate sodium levels in your body and flush out sodium and water.
Cucumbers are made up of around 95% water making them great for keeping you hydrated. Eating foods with a high water content can help prevent water retention and relieve bloating.
Ginger’s anti-inflammatory properties work wonders on digestive distress. Ginger contains a digestive enzyme called zingibain, which helps the body break down protein. Ginger also has a soothing effect on your intestines which helps reduce inflammation in the colon and helps food pass through your system with ease.
Fennel is a natural diuretic that can help get rid of intestinal gas. The compounds anethole, fenchone, and estragole which are found in fennel have antispasmodic and anti–inflammatory properties which relax the intestinal muscle and allow gas to pass and relieve bloating.
This tropical fruit contains an enzyme called papain, which helps your body break down amino acids and makes digestion easier. Papaya also has anti-inflammatory properties and offers plenty of fiber.
Berries like strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries are packed full of antioxidants and vitamins. They’re also high in water and fiber which help food move through the intestines more quickly and decrease bloating.
Pineapple contains an enzyme called bromelain that encourages proper digestion and helps break down proteins in the stomach that may otherwise cause bloating.
Yogurt that contains probiotics, “good bacteria”, has been linked to improved gut health, and supports healthy digestion, and can calm inflammation.