13 of the Best Foods to Help Reduce Bloat and Boost Metabolism

Fill your plate with these flat-belly promoting foods that speed up metabolism and minimize bloat.

When you're trying to lose weight, core exercises and HIIT workouts go a long way, but what you eat also plays a huge role.

In addition to drinking enough water, eating fresh produce and healthy fats, and avoiding or reducing your intake of things like alcohol, soda, and sugar, certain foods are particularly good for reducing bloating.

"If you want your abs to feel flatter, choose foods that will help decrease bloating in your stomach, such as water-packed fruits and veggies," Keri Gans, RD, a New York City-based nutrition consultant and author of "The Small Change Diet," told Health.

These 13 foods can help you reduce bloat, boost metabolism, and give your body important nutrients that encourage weight loss.

Cucumbers

Thanks to the flavonoid antioxidant quercetin (which reduces swelling) and a high water content of 96%, cucumbers "can definitely help prevent bloating," said Gans. This crunchy veggie is also extremely versatile: Eat it in a chopped salad, add it to a smoothie, or munch on cucumber slices with hummus.

Lentils

As a member of the super-nutritious pulse family, lentils—along with other seeds that grow in pods like chickpeas, white beans, and peas—are packed with protein and fiber, which increase satiety. They're also a good source of iron; this is important because studies have shown that being deficient in the mineral could slow down your metabolism.

"Add lentils to salads or use in place of whole grains like brown rice," Cynthia Sass, RD, a registered dietitian based in Los Angeles, told Health. "They also make a great 'bed' for a serving of lean protein, along with a generous portion of veggies."

Bananas

If you're craving an afternoon snack, a banana may be your best bet. In addition to potassium, bananas are packed with resistant starch, a healthy carbohydrate that your body doesn't digest, which keeps you full for longer.

Here's another benefit of this fruit: "Bananas may help prevent water retention in our bodies by regulating sodium levels, decreasing the risk for bloating," explained Gans.

Fennel

This perennial herb offers some serious benefits for your belly. "For centuries, fennel has been used to improve digestion, relieve GI spasms, and reduce bloat," Stephanie Middleberg, RD, founder of Middleberg Nutrition in New York City, told Health.

If you want to try the herb, you can eat fennel raw or cooked (try sprinkling it on pizza or making tomato-fennel soup).

Papaya

This brightly colored tropical fruit is a rich source of vitamins A, C, E, and folate. Papayas also contain an enzyme called papain, which helps your GI system break down difficult-to-digest foods—in turn preventing inflammation and belly bloat. In addition to eating papaya whole and fresh, "it's wonderful in a smoothie, in salads, or thrown on the grill with a drop of olive oil," said Gans.

Whole Grains

Gluten-free diets may be popular, but wheat-based carbs are fine to keep in your diet (unless you've been diagnosed with Celiac disease or a gluten intolerance).

Whole grains are a great source of filling fiber, which aids digestion and increases satiety. Researchers noted that the risk for weight gain or instances of being overweight or obese was lower with higher consumption of whole grains.

"Whole grains help better regulate blood sugar and insulin levels compared to refined grains," explained Sass. Sass also recommended starting your day with oatmeal, snacking on plain popcorn, and choosing quinoa or brown rice over white rice.

Asparagus

Asparagus is full of antioxidants. This super-healthy spring veggie is a good source of both soluble and insoluble fiber, which your body digests slowly—keeping you full for longer in between meals.

As a natural diuretic, "asparagus facilitates the removal of water and waste to decrease discomfort and bloat," explained Middleberg, adding that asparagus also contains prebiotics, which "act as fuel for healthy bacteria in your gut."

Yogurt

Like asparagus, yogurt is great for your gut: It contains beneficial probiotics, which help balance microflora and prevent bloating. Eating Greek yogurt may also increase feelings of fullness, thanks to almost 20 grams of protein per serving.

"Try adding it to your morning smoothie, use it in your favorite dip recipe, or enjoy with berries for an afternoon snack," said Gans.

Ginger

If you've ever sipped on a glass of ginger ale while sick, you know the drink can do wonders to calm an upset stomach. It turns out the root is also good for dealing with bloat.

Thanks to compounds that help move food through your GI tract, "it has been used for centuries as a natural remedy to treat bloating," explained Gans. Specifically, ginger can also reduce the instances of gas or indigestion.

"An easy way to include it in your diet is to make a ginger tea with 1/2 teaspoon of ground or freshly grated ginger and one cup of hot water," added Gans.

Peppermint Tea and Chamomile

According to a study, herbal teas have been associated with providing health benefits for conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure. Two such teas that may help foster weight loss are peppermint and chamomile.

Drinking either tea can be helpful for weight loss in different ways. "Peppermint tea can help reduce bloating, which can make your stomach look flatter," said Sass. "And chamomile may help improve sleep—and too little sleep has been linked to an increase in belly fat."

Avocado

Technically a fruit, a typical Has avocado contains nine grams of filling fiber and 13 grams of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, which may help you maintain a healthy weight.

Avocados may benefit the gut, too: "Healthy fats like avocados are vital to gut health, as they coat the stomach and allow for ease of digestion," explained Middleberg. "They also help the body increase its absorption of other nutrients and antioxidants."

Dark Chocolate

If you have a sweet tooth, try dark chocolate. "Good quality dark chocolate (anything above 65% cacao) is actually very good for you," explained Middleberg.

Like avocados, dark chocolate contains healthy monounsaturated fatty acids, which may help speed up metabolism. Additionally, a review found that eating at least 30 grams or more of dark chocolate daily between four to eight weeks was associated with lower body weight and BMI.

Additionally, Middleberg recommended having a piece "the size of a dental floss container" if you want to indulge in this type of chocolate.

Almonds

For a nutrient-dense snack, reach for a handful of almonds.

A study investigated the relationship between almonds and appetite control. The researchers found that participants who ate almonds were less hungry and had a lower desire to eat compared to those who ate crackers or drank water.

As with dark chocolate and avocados, the nut contains monounsaturated fatty acids, which may help your body burn fat and fight hunger.

A Quick Review

There are many foods that can help you reduce bloat, boost metabolism, and give your body important nutrients. Cucumbers, ginger, almonds, dark chocolate, avocados, and peppermint tea are only a few of the examples of foods that can help you feel less bloated and add more nutrients into your diet.

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