Best and Worst Foods for Bloating
Where's that bloat coming from?
Let's talk about something uncomfortable: gas and bloating. Most of us pass gas anywhere from 12 to 25 times a day, according to Brigham and Women's Hospital, and surveys show that abdominal bloating affects up to 30% of Americans. "Having a perfectly flat stomach all the time isn't normal," says Health contributing nutrition editor Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD. "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.
Watch the video: 5 Best Foods to Prevent Bloating
Worst: Broccoli, cabbage, kale
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," Sass says. It won't eliminate or prevent bloating altogether, but it may make your veggies easier to digest.
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," Sass said.
So before all that gas gets to you, steer clear of dairy products and opt for the many lactose-free or nondairy alternatives out there. The American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) also suggests the use of lactase tablets like Lactaid, which help people digest foods that contain lactose.
Apples are a great snack, however: One fruit provides an average of 4.5 grams of protein and around 10% of your daily vitamin C requirement, so don’t give up on them altogether. "Eating apples specifically has been linked to a lower risk of heart disease and respiratory problems, including asthma, bronchitis, and emphysema," Sass says. Eat them in moderation and separately from meals, and time your eating right: "If you'll be wearing a form-fitting outfit or bathing suit, you might not want to reach for an apple," Sass says. Other fruits that bloat: pear, peaches, and prunes.
Worst: Salty foods
"Cucumbers have been shown to inhibit the activity of pro-inflammatory enzymes," she adds.
So slice it up and eat it as is, or swap sugary drinks with a glass of cucumber water.
"Bloating can also be caused by constipation," Sass says. "If you’re not able to eliminate waste in the GI tract, you become 'backed up' so to speak, which can lead to a bloated look."
Eat papaya whole and fresh or blended into a smoothie
It also contains prebiotics, which help support the growth of 'good' bacteria, according to Sass. This helps maintain a healthy balance in your digestive system to prevent and/or reduce gas.
Finally, the vegetable contains soluble and insoluble fibers, which helps promote overall digestive health.
Related: How to Trim Asparagus
Best: Yogurt with probiotics
So eat your bloat away with a yogurt that has active cultures. You can sweeten it with a little honey, jam, or granola.
Best: Fennel seeds
You can find fennel and fennel seeds in breads, sausages, and other meat dishes. You can also chew on the seeds directly or sip on a fennel tea at the end of a meal.
Fresh ginger can be added to smoothies and salad dressings, and it adds tons of flavor to recipes like these. You can also make homemade tea.