Beat the Bloat

by Wendy on April 24, 2015

Gas and bloating might be an uncomfortable topic to talk about with some people, but it is something that we all experience. On average, we pass gas anywhere from 12-25 times a day, and surveys show that abdominal bloating affects up to 30% of Americans.

Stack of cucumber slicesHaving a perfectly flat stomach all the time isn’t normal, because after you eat and drink, food and liquids take up space inside your stomach and intestines, and that means some expansion.

A ballooned belly doesn’t necessarily indicate that something is wrong with what you eat, but if your abdomen is too swollen to squeeze into your jeans, you may want to identify the belly bloaters in your diet.

Here are a few tips on how to identify which foods are bad for bloating, which foods are great to combat bloating, and which foods you should watch your portions on.

Best for Bloating

  • Cucumber: This vegetable contains quercetin, a flavonoid antioxidant that helps reduce swelling. They have shown to inhibit the activity of pro-inflammatory enzymes.
  • Bananas: Foods that are rich in potassium—like bananas, plus avocados, kiwis, oranges, and pistachios—prevent water retention by regulating sodium levels in your body and can thus reduce salt-induced bloating. Bananas also have soluble fiber, which can relieve or prevent constipation.
  • Papaya: The enzyme contained in papaya helps break down proteins in your GI system, which makes digestion easier. The tropical fruit also has anti-inflammatory properties, as well as fibers that support a strong digestive tract.
  • Asparagus: Asparagus is an anti-bloating super food. Sure, it might make your urine smell, but it also makes you pee, period—helping you flush all that excess water, thus relieving any discomfort and bloat. It also contains prebiotics, which help support the growth of ‘good’ bacteria. This helps maintain a healthy balance in your digestive system to prevent and/or reduce gas.

Bad for Bloating:

  • Legumes: It’s probably not news to you, but beans, along with lentils, soybeans, and peas are gas-causing foods. These are basically bursts of protein in a pod, but they also contain sugars and fibers that our bodies can’t absorb. So when legumes reach the large intestine, your gut bacteria take the lead and feast on them. This process leads to gas and can balloon out your waist.

 

Combine legumes with easily digestible whole grains, like rice or quinoa. Your body will eventually get used to them. If you eat fruits, veggies, nuts, whole grains, and beans often, they won’t bother you as much as if you eat them sporadically.

  • Dairy: If you feel gassy after a few slices of cheese or a bowl of cereal with milk, you may be lactose intolerant, which means your body lacks the necessary enzymes to break down lactose (the sugar found in dairy products). That can cause gas to form in the GI tract, which may trigger bloating.

Portion Control:

  • Kale, Cabbage, and Broccoli: These veggies contain a sugar that remains undigested until bacteria in your stomach ferment it, which produces gas and makes you feel bloated. However, don’t shun those healthful greens just yet! If you consistently eat nutrient-rich, high-fiber foods it will lead to having a stronger, healthier digestive system that’s less prone to bloating.

 

So keep eating the green stuff, but keep your portions in check. And if you absolutely can’t part ways with even a gram of your kale, steam it. Cooking any vegetable softens the fiber and shrinks the portion as some of the water cooks out, so it takes up less space in the GI tract. It won’t eliminate or prevent bloating altogether, but it may make your veggies easier to digest.

Wendy

Wendy

Health Contributor at Creative Bioscience
My name is Wendy and I'm one of the main contributors to our blog. I'm a retired elementary school teacher who's found a new passion for all things relating to health and wellness. If you feel like your body is not in the place it should be, join the club! We're here to help get you where you want to be in a long term way, and avoiding any extreme diets in the process. We believe in natural sustainable methods to reach a state of homeostasis. We want to get our body, spirit, and soul into prime shape and really start loving ourselves! Wendy's favorite product is Raspberry Ketone 1234
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