Bloating is a common problem often caused by issues like constipation or excess gas. Sometimes, it can be a symptom of underlying gastrointestinal conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), non-celiac gluten intolerance, or lactose intolerance.
Not all bloats are created equal, even though they all feel awful. In fact, there are actually two different kinds: gas bloat and water bloat.
Typically, gassy bloat occurs after eating foods that might trigger gas in some people - such as beans, dairy, cruciferous vegetables like broccoli or cauliflower, or greasy foods.
Water-retaining bloat makes you feel puffy all over. It's triggered by hormonal changes during your menstrual cycle, dehydration, or eating lots of salty foods and not enough potassium and water. Hence, it causes your body to retain extra fluid and feel bloated.
Fortunately, many foods have been shown to promote regularity, prevent fluid retention, and enhance gut health, all of which can help keep bloating at bay.
Here are 5 foods that can help with bloating:
Ginger is one of the oldest herbs which are known for its ability to soothe digestive distress due to its anti-inflammatory properties. It can help speed up gastric emptying as well as increasing movement through the digestive tract. Therefore, it is beneficial for people who have stomach discomfort such as bloating and excessive gases. In addition, ginger contains an enzyme called zingibain, which helps break down protein more efficiently to support healthy digestion. Enjoy it in a warm cup of homemade tea to sip on it before, during, or after a meal.
Bananas are popular for their flavor, portability, and convenience. Other than being an excellent source of fiber, they’re also highly packed with potassium. Potassium supports a healthy fluid balance by flushing out sodium and water. In turn, this may prevent bloating and water retention. While eating one banana won't magically cure your bloat, eating potassium-rich foods like bananas throughout the day is linked with less occurrence of bloating.
Kiwi is another popular fruit that has been shown effective for the treatment of bloating, flatulence and constipation due to their high fiber content. Just like bananas, kiwi is also an excellent source of potassium which prevents water retention by regulating sodium levels in your body. An enzyme known as actinidin, is also found in kiwis and are proven to improve digestion and speed stomach emptying.
Papaya is commonly used for digestive complaints. Why? Because it provides plenty of fiber that support a strong digestive tract. The enzyme in papaya (papain) also helps break down the foods you eat specifically protein. All of these have encouraged healthy digestion and may relief constipation and bloating. Try eating papaya whole and fresh or blended into a smoothie.
Yogurt is packed with probiotics, a beneficial type of bacteria that plays a key role in maintaining gut health. Eating your yogurt brings probiotics into your system, improving stool frequency and promote regularity. Some research indicates that probiotics may reduce bloating and abdominal distension in some people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a common disorder that affects the large intestine.
However, this may not be effective for everyone as studies showed that foods that are high in fermentable carbohydrates such as yogurt can cause symptoms like gas, bloating, and stomach pain in some people. So, try opting for Greek yogurt or lactose-free yogurt. If you want to add some sweetness, use a little honey, jam, or granola.
Other ways to avoid bloating
Eat slowly and chew your food thoroughly to prevent swallowing too much air which contributes to gas build-up.
Avoid drinking lots of fizzy drinks, alcohol or caffeine in coffee and tea.
Limit the intake of foods high in FODMAPS, like cabbage, dairy, beans or lentils as they are not well digested in our body and get fermented easily, thereby producing excess gas and bloating.
Do not eat large meals late at night before bed, or slouch when eating.
Do not eat lots of processed foods. They are high in sodium and can trigger water retention, which can balloon you up.
Many foods and drinks play important role in improving or worsening abdominal discomfort or bloating.
If you have persistent bloating, you may consider consulting a doctor to determine whether you have any food sensitivities or other underlying conditions that could contribute to bloating.