Being bloated is one of those things that we try not to talk about, hoping that if we don’t mention it, maybe it will just go away. The truth of the matter is that it can crop up more often than just during that time of the month and, left untreated, can make us irritable and pretty darn uncomfortable. Bloat is a buildup of gas in our abdomen, often caused by poor digestion or swallowed air. “Feeling bloated can result from an overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine,” says celebrity nutritionist, registered dietitian, healthy cooking expert, and author Keri Glassman.
“The bacteria ferments food, creating gas that causes bloating.”
Long story short, certain foods cause more gas than others. On Glassman’s no-no list are carbonated drinks, artificial sweeteners, and fried or overly processed foods (for example, carbonated drinks that fill your belly with excess air). “Even when you’re eating a healthy diet, it’s very common to still feel a little puffy and have a bloated belly from time to time,” she says, which is why it’s good to know that there are certain foods that can help you reduce that feeling of puffiness. With Glassman’s help, we’ve rounded up the top foods that reduce bloating. Scroll through to see, and add them to your grocery list stat.
You likely already know that the probiotics—or the good bacteria—in yogurt are good for your gut. Because the “good bacteria” keeps your digestive process efficient, it helps to eliminate bloat. Just make sure that the yogurt you eat is plain and doesn’t contain sweeteners of any kind.
This tropical fruit contains bromelain, an enzyme that is believed to help with the digestion of protein. Supplements with bromelain are thought to treat ailments related to inflammation, which is why it’s no surprise that people tout its bloat-busting properties.
“This veggie contains certain compounds that actually act like probiotics,” says Glassman. Plus, it’s super high in fiber, which helps your digestive system stay on track.
FENNEL AND CELERY
These vegetables act as diuretics, helping you flush out the excess water in your body that’s causing you to feel bloated. Plus, fennel seeds contain essential oils that help with the digestion of nutrients.
The potassium in bananas helps get rid of excess water by managing the levels of salt in your body (too much salt leads to bloating). Just remember that when eating this fruit, it should be ripe. “Ripe bananas are full of fiber and are helpful in draining the water out of your cells,” Glassman says. The fiber in the fruit also helps you stay regulated and beat constipation.
Fermented foods are super high in probiotics, which are essential to healthy gut function. During the fermentation process, lactic acid, omega-3, and healthy probiotics are created, all of which help beat bloating. Kimchi is a traditional fermented side dish usually comprised of cabbage, scallion, radish, cucumber, and chili paste.
Papaya contains an enzyme that aids digestion by speeding up the breakdown of proteins. Add this to your meal to make sure everything is running smoothly and efficiently.
As Josh Axe, DNM, DC, CNS, explains, ginger is a natural diuretic. That means it promotes increased urine production and helps you flush out excess fluids to beat water retention and bloating.
This post was originally published on May 28, 2017, and has since been updated.