Common sense would dictate to most of us that if you're feeling bloated, it's best to avoid any sparkling beverages (they release carbon dioxide, which causes bloating) and salty foods because they make you retain water. There are, however, plenty of other foods that can be causing your stomach to balloon and, more importantly, plenty that can reduce that full stomach feeling. Here's a look at which foods can cause and which can reduce bloating.
Possible Bloating Culprits
- Dairy products: Dairy products including milk, cheese, yogurt and ice cream can cause bloating. Opt for almond, coconut or rice milk-based products instead if you sense a possible lactose intolerance (try to avoid soy, which is a controversial ingredient).
- Vegetables and fruits: Certain fruits and vegetables including apples, pears, bananas, raisins, asparagus, potatoes, brussel sprouts, cabbage, broccoli and lentils contain complex sugars and starches that are hard to break down. Obviously, these are not foods you want to eliminate from your diet, so try cooking the greens instead as this will help your body digest them more readily and cut down on portion sizes when it comes to fruit (and mix in ones not known to cause bloating, like berries).
- Beans: They contain a type of sugar, oligosaccharide, which is not normally digestible by our bodies so when it reaches the large intestine, it gets eaten up by bacteria causing bloating. Soaking beans has been shown to lower the amount of oligosaccharide without affected nutritional value.
- Chewing gum: When you chew gum you end up swallowing air, which will leave you feeling bloaty. It gets worse if you opt for sugar-free gum as those often contain sorbitol and xylitol, which are fermented by bacteria in the gut causing further bloating.
- Fatty foods: Fat slows down digestion, giving food more time to ferment.
- Artificial sweeteners: Artificial sweeteners like sorbitol can't be digested, making them a common culprit. In addition to sodas, gum and candy, you can often find them in low calorie foods.
- Spicy foods: These stimulate the release of stomach acid.
Beat the Bloat
- Cranberries: They're a natural diuretic so they'll help flush out excess fluids.
- Ginger: One of the most common anti-inflammatories.
- Green tea: An anti-inflammatory that also works to rev up your metabolism.
- Cucumber: A go-to ingredient in eye creams, they will work to reduce stomach swelling as well.
- Whole grains: Those who have a gluten intolerance aside, whole grain are great because they're high in fiber.
- Water: It will help the digestive process by moving things through the intestines.
- Raw apple cider vinegar: It's high in minerals and potassium, which promote cellular cleansing and helps break down food.
- Coconut water: Like raw apple cider vinegar, it's high in potassium, which will help flush out sodium from the body, thereby reducing bloating.
- Pineapples: They contain an enzyme called bromelain, which aids the digestive process.