There’s no passing discomfort quite like bloating. It doesn’t have the same sharp throb of stubbing a toe, and it doesn’t involve the accompanying self-consciousness of a pimple.
But it does come with a fair share of pressure, and more often than not, it has the quality of making stomachs balloon. It may not be the worst thing that can happen to our bodies, but it’s not the best thing either. And even though it won’t stick around, when bloating happens, it makes its presence known.
“Feeling bloated can result from an overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine,” celebrity nutritionist, registered dietitian, healthy cooking expert, and author Keri Glassman told MyDomaine earlier this year. “The bacteria ferment food, creating gas that causes bloating.”
What are some ways to ensure that bloating can be diffused quickly or avoided altogether? It mostly comes down to the foods you eat, although there are other tricks to incorporate, too. By following the recommendations in this guide, we hope your most recent run-in with the discomforts of bloating can be your last.
Foods to Eat
This vegetable is not only low in fat, but it’s also packed with insoluble and insoluble fiber, which help keep you feeling full without excess gas.
Like asparagus, bananas are also high in fiber, which will keep you regulated. But it’s the potassium in ripe bananas that you want to look out for in terms of bloating—this will stop your body from retaining excess water by managing your salt retention.
As a natural diuretic, ginger boosts urine production that otherwise flushes out your body’s excess water. In other words, it prevents bloating from even occurring in the first place.
Use this anti-inflammatory herb if you’re looking to calm your entire digestive system. It’ll help gas move through the digestive tract, easing any discomfort.
Celery is also a natural diuretic, which means it will help rid your body of excess water and keep your digestive tract clear.
Did you know that by snacking on pumpkin seeds, you can help cure bloat? It’s true. A fourth of a cup of pumpkin seeds has all of the magnesium you need to calm your digestion.
Thanks to the enzyme bromelain, this fruit can help your body digest foods and keep bloat at bay. It’s best on its own, but a pineapple smoothie works, too.
This tropical fruit, on the other hand, contains the enzyme papain, which has anti-inflammatory properties to lessen the feeling and appearance of bloat. Eat it for dessert to keep dinner from ruining your night.
Like bananas, spinach is made up of potassium that’ll lessen the amount of bloat-causing sodium in your body. It’s an obvious choice for lunch, but it’s also best as a dinner’s main course or appetizer.
Sprinkle fennel on your salad to keep from bloating, since it spurs digestion and bile production to break down foods quickly. And if you prefer a little crunch, fennel seeds are anti-inflammatory, too.
Foods to Avoid
Artificial sweeteners: It may seem like a good idea to add artificial sweeteners instead of sugar to a drink, but think twice. Artificial sweeteners are tough to digest for most people and can lead to indigestion.
Dairy: The enzyme we need to break down dairy foods often decreases with age, which can lead to bloating. Try cutting out dairy products one by one, like milk, cheese, and yogurt, to see if there’s a specific dairy product that’s causing the discomfort.
Seltzer: We know, seltzers are all the rage right now. But the carbonation can often cause bloating since it prompts the stomach to expand.
Pasta: This starchy food retains water in your system, making it a known culprit for bloat. The same goes for other starches like cereal and bread. If you’re craving pasta, opt for a whole-wheat version to diminish the likelihood of bloating.
Broccoli: There are plenty of reasons to love broccoli, like it being high in protein, but it causes bloat, too. As a cruciferous vegetable, which also includes kale and cabbage, broccoli contains a sugar called raffinose that makes it challenging for your digestive system to break down quickly.
Habits to Take Up
Take probiotics: If you’re one of the many people who experience regular bloating, perhaps it’s time to consider taking a probiotic supplement. Probiotics improve digestion and immune health by introducing different amounts and types of good bacteria into your system.
Try exercises. There are many different stretches and yoga poses that you can try after a meal to help with the discomfort of bloating. If you think an upcoming feast might cause discomfort, go ahead and do a stretch beforehand, too.
Drink more water. Regularly drinking water throughout the day—more than you think you need!—will help flush out the digestive system and help diffuse any symptoms of bloating.
Up next: Eating this fruit every day can improve your gut health, new study finds.