That feeling when your jeans just don’t fit like they did last week—women know it well. Being more prone to bloating than men, women are likely to experience several of these days each month around the time Mother Nature arrives for her monthly visit. Although bloating is normal, the feeling is still unpleasant. Thankfully, there are some easy at-home remedies for reducing bloating.
Certain types of foods have been shown to reduce bloating by flushing out excess water, aiding digestion, and helping to reduce water retention. Try eating these types of foods to beat the bloat:
Fiber will help bloating in cases where poor digestion is to blame. The reason for this is that too little fiber can cause constipation, which leads to bloating. Eating too much fiber too quickly can have the opposite effect, however, and actually cause you to become bloated and gassy.
- Ex: broccoli, lentils, avocados, blackberries, pears, oatmeal
Prebiotics & probiotics elevate levels of good bacteria in the gut, which aids digestion.
- Ex: Unpasteurized yogurt, bananas, onions, raw garlic, asparagus, dark chocolate, sauerkraut, kombucha
Diuretic foods get rid of unwanted fluids in the body by increasing urine production.
- Ex: Lemons, apple cider vinegar, celery, oats, ginger, cranberry juice, eggplant, tomatoes, cucumber, watermelon
Magnesium relieves bloating caused by constipation or indigestion through neutralizing stomach acid and relaxing the muscles in the walls of the intestines.
- Ex: Mostly leafy greens, like spinach and chard, but also banana, fig, dark chocolate, almonds, avocado, black beans, and pumpkin seeds
Potassium helps the kidneys get rid of excess sodium, reducing bloating.
- Ex: banana, avocado, sweet potato, spinach, salmon, acorn squash, pomegranate, white beans
Anti-inflammatory foods reduce bloat by decreasing inflammation in the digestive system caused by toxins like sugar, processed grains and meats, artificial food additives, and alcohol. Fortunately, there are many types of foods that fight inflammation.
- Ex: Green leafy vegetables, celery, beets, broccoli, blueberries, pineapple, salmon, walnuts, chia seeds, coconut oil
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- Water Get your recommended daily dose of 64oz, and for a bonus, drink 16oz of water half an hour before you eat to fight bloating after your meal.
- Peppermint tea Research has shown that peppermint aids digestion and helps to reduce bloating by soothing inflammation in the digestive tract.
- Lemon in water on empty stomach to aid digestion.
- Apple cider vinegar (1-2 tbsp) to aid digestion.
- Salty foods. Consuming too much salt Is tough on our kidneys, and when the kidneys become overburdened to the point they can’t process all the sodium, it causes us to retain water and look bloated. Refined white table salt adds to this issue because it’s an unnatural chemical form of salt, which further overburdens our system. You can look up to 9 pounds heavier than you actually weigh just from too much table salt. Himilayan pink salt is preferable because it contains less sodium and has the added benefit of additional trace minerals.
- Refined carbs. Foods with white sugar, corn syrup, fructose, starch, instant oatmeal, and white grains spike insulin levels, which makes you retain more sodium, which causes you to bloat.
- Carbonated drinks. The fizz can cause gas to get trapped in your belly, causing you to look and feel bloated.
Chewing gum. Swallowing too much air contributes to bloating.
- “Sugar free” foods. Artificial sweeteners have sugar alcohol, which can lead to bloating.
- Walking around can reduce fluid build-up in some areas.
- Drink more water to reduce water retention.
- Elevate legs when lying down. Helps increase circulation and eliminate water retention.
- Break a sweat to eliminate some excess fluid.
If you’re experiencing frequent or chronic bloating, it may be due to an underlying inflammatory issue or food intolerance. Consult with your doctor to learn what might be causing your bloating. If you’re looking for new primary care doctor or don’t have one yet, use the MyHealthKC Find A Doctor tool to match with a physician in your area.