Have you ever experienced a frustratingly full and uncomfortable feeling in your belly? It might be bloating – which can be caused by having too much gas or air trapped in your stomach. Bloating is a common issue among adults and can also be related to inflammation of the stomach lining. Both of these issues can be signs your body is reacting to what you eat in ways that are anything but beneficial. This article unveils the top foods that fight bloating and tackle inflammation.
This creamy green fruit is an excellent bloat and inflammation fighter. In addition to their high volume of healthy omega-3 fatty acids, avocados are high in fiber and potassium. “Potassium serves to reduce water retention and the fiber helps encourage regularity to prevent constipation and bloating,” says Nicole M. Avena, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Neuroscience at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. She recommends aiming to consume at least ⅓ of a medium-sized avocado daily on salad, toast, or in a smoothie.
2. Green Tea
There’s a good reason this tea has been consumed by humans for hundreds of thousands of years. Not only is it delicious, but it’s also full of health benefits, including fighting inflammation. “Green tea is filled with antioxidants that help neutralize free radicals, reducing inflammation,” says Dr. Avena. “It also contains caffeine which is a stimulant for digestive tract movement.” Instead of coffee or orange juice, she recommends starting your morning with a cup of green tea.
“Turmeric contains a compound called curcumin which has strong anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants,” explains Chelsea Rose Geyer, Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach from The Institute for Integrative Nutrition. You can incorporate this spice as a seasoning in your meals, over a salad, in a tea, or supplement form.
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4. Dark leafy greens
You probably already know that greens are good for you, but might not realize that certain ones are more beneficial for your gut than others, namely the dark, leafy kind. They’re great for both inflammation and bloating, according to Geyer. It is recommended to add several handfuls of leafy greens like kale, spinach, and collard greens to your smoothie in a salad or sautéing them in a stir-fry.
Berries such as blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries are low in sugar and full of antioxidants to help fight off inflammation, Geyer explains. “Not only are low-sugar fruits essential for helping decrease bloating, as too much sugar can cause stomach distress and dysbiosis, but berries are also high in fiber, which feeds your body’s good-gut bacteria,” she says. To score these nutrients, she recommends adding ¼ cup to your daily breakfast or in a smoothie.
To get more of that good-gut bacteria in your system that helps fight bloating and inflammation, one of the best things you can do is consume probiotics, which are found in a bevy of foods including kefir, raw sauerkraut, low sugar yogurt, kimchi, and other fermented veggies. “Just 1-2 servings per day can help to repopulate the gut—just make sure that you look for sources that are fermented and not excessively heated to maintain the healing properties,” says Geyer. She also mentions if these foods are hard to fit into your diet, taking a probiotic supplement is a suitable alternative.
7. Apple cider vinegar
The health benefits of apple cider vinegar may have been recently highlighted thanks to social media platform sites like Instagram and TikTok, but it’s actually been used for decades prior as a digestive aid. “Apple cider vinegar helps balance blood sugar, metabolism, and adds good bacteria to the small intestines,” says Rodgers. “Not only that, but it also helps to bring your stomach acid back into balance, an essential part of gut health.” She recommends mixing 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with 1 cup of water and drinking it before a meal to help decrease bloating.
Often used as eye patches during spa treatments to reduce swelling, this vegetable can also be used to quell the swelling in your stomach. According to Cynthia Sass, RD, “cucumbers have been known to inhibit the activity of pro-inflammatory enzymes.” So whether you just slice it up or make some cucumber water, make sure to add this veggie to your list.
9. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are a highly nutritious root vegetable, packed with essential vitamins and minerals that offer numerous health benefits. They are particularly rich in potassium and vitamin A, making them an excellent choice for those looking to reduce bloating and support overall health.
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According to information from Beaufort Memorial Hospital, celery and celery root are highly effective in combating bloating, particularly when it results from dehydration. This is attributed to their high water content, which makes up the majority of their composition. Consuming celery and celery root can thus help rehydrate the body, addressing one of the common causes of bloating. Additionally, celery acts as a natural diuretic. This means it aids in the elimination of excess water and sodium from the body, which can accumulate and contribute to the sensation of bloating. By promoting the removal of these excess fluids, celery helps to reduce bloating and support the body’s natural balance of fluids.
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, ginger possesses unique properties that can significantly alleviate bloating by reducing fermentation in the gut, easing constipation, and addressing other underlying causes of this discomfort. This versatile ingredient can be seamlessly incorporated into various dishes to enhance flavor while simultaneously offering digestive benefits.
Kombucha is rich in probiotics, which play a crucial role in maintaining gut health. These beneficial bacteria can mitigate bloating by addressing imbalances in the gut microbiota that contribute to digestive discomfort. However, kombucha is inherently a carbonated beverage and while refreshing, for some it may lead to increased bloating due to its gas.
Bananas are celebrated for their high potassium content, which plays a pivotal role in regulating sodium levels in the body, preventing water retention, and consequently aiding in the reduction of bloating. This relationship between banana consumption and bloating relief is not just anecdotal; it is backed by scientific research. A notable study conducted in 2011 specifically investigated the effects of daily banana intake on participants, aiming to determine whether bananas would provide benefit or detriment in this context. The findings reinforced the idea that bananas can indeed be beneficial, highlighting their capacity to balance electrolytes and fluids, thereby mitigating bloating.
Malena Perdomo, RD recommends eating this tropical fruit whenever you’re feeling bloated. “The reason papaya is good for gut health is mainly due to the enzyme papain that helps with digestion, [particularly] digestion of proteins,” says Perdomo. Papaya works so well that it is often sold as a supplement to prevent bloating and constipation.
Cynthia Sass, a renowned nutritionist, advocates for the inclusion of asparagus in the diet, highlighting its status as an anti-bloating superfood. Asparagus is rich in prebiotics, which nourish and promote the proliferation of beneficial bacteria in the gut. This not only supports a healthy digestive system but also plays a direct role in combating bloating by ensuring a balanced gut microbiome.
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Oats are a powerhouse of nutrition, packed with both fiber and beta-glucans, which make them an excellent choice for improving digestion and alleviating bloating. The beta-glucan found in oats is particularly noteworthy for its anti-inflammatory properties. This specific type of soluble fiber not only aids in the digestive process by enhancing gut motility and regularity, but it also soothes the digestive tract, reducing inflammation that can lead to bloating.
There are several advantages to eating pineapple says WebMD. While the enzymes help break down protein, reducing constipation and bloating, pineapples also contain bromelain. Bromelain has antibacterial properties and can help cut down on inflammation, making this a delicious choice to help out your stomach.
Among quinoa’s many health benefits, it contains a high amount of dietary fiber. Cleveland Clinic recommends this grain in order to regulate your digestive system while also reducing bloating and constipation. Some other health benefits include lowering your risk of colon cancer, and helping control your hunger.
Beaufort Memorial Hospital also approves of apples for a great source of potassium and fiber which helps with constipation. Apples also contain a special type of fiber called pectin, helping food move through the digestive tract to prevent bloating.
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Last on our list but certainly not the least, rhubarb contains a great amount of fiber to move along that stubborn digestive tract. Rhubarb also contains sennoside, stimulating the bowels and battling constipation so your gut remains happy.
One of the biggest things to keep yourself healthy and bloat-free is to watch what you eat. By adding just a few of these foods into your diet and cutting out some others, you will notice less inflammation and bloating, and feel better throughout the day. Our stomachs are extremely important, and we need to treat them the right way in order to benefit in the long run.