Wednesday 22 September 2021

10 Healthy Foods That Help You Beat That Gross Bloated Feeling

  • Bloating occurs when your abdomen retains fluid, traps gas, or feels swollen, and it often comes with pain or discomfort.
  • Certain foods can trigger bloating, as well as constipation and overeating. Those suffering from conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) may also experience bloat.
  • Anti-bloating foods such as avocados, dandelion greens, and those rich in probiotics, like kefir, can help reset your digestive tract bacteria—which influence bloating—according to sports dietitian Marni Sumbal.

Let’s talk about something uncomfortable: bloating. One minute you’re feeling great, then the next, you’re all gassy and feel like a pufferfish—not something that is particularly conducive to nailing any KOMs.

You’re not alone. Bloating is a condition that occurs when your abdomen retains fluid, traps gas, or feels swollen, and it often comes with pain or discomfort. It’s one of the most common and loathed stomach problems. The instigators include constipation and overeating, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and the habit of swallowing air when drinking or eating too quickly all contribute to belly bulge.

“Eating foods that contain certain ingredients such as lactose, sugar alcohols, or added fiber like chicory root that are difficult for some people to digest properly can also bring on bloating,” says sports dietitian Marni Sumbal, author of Essential Sports Nutrition. “When these substances pass into your colon, bacteria feed on them producing the gas bubbles that make your stomach swell up.” When your body holds on to too much water, and fluid builds up between cells—say after eating a salty fast food pizza—Sumbal says this too can manifest itself as a bloated belly.


Sometimes gas and bloating can result when the bacteria in your digestive tract gets out-of-whack. Sumbal says that in these cases, the probiotics in certain fermented foods, like kefir, can help restore the bacterial balance in favor of the good guys to keep your digestion efficient.

You probably know that yogurt is a reliable source of probiotics, but perhaps you’re not aware that growingly-popular tangy kefir actually contains up to three times as many beneficial critters than does typical yogurt. And if you have trouble digesting lactose, kefir is nearly devoid of this potential tummy troubler.

Usually sold as a cultured dairy drink, kefir can be used in smoothies, as a buttermilk substitute in pancakes or something to float your cereal in. Just be sure to select “plain” varieties to lower your intake of added sugars.


You definitely need some sodium in your diet when you’re putting in all those sweaty miles on your bike, but for some people, eating too many salty foods can lead to bloat-inducing water retention. That’s why it’s a good reason to nosh on plenty of potassium-rich foods like avocado. “Sodium sucks water into your cells, and potassium pumps it out so it may help de-bloat you,” Sumbal says.

Adults should aim for 4,700 milligrams of potassium a day, but most people don’t get nearly that much. Potassium heavyweights include avocado, potatoes, bananas (duh!), legumes, spinach and winter squash. Avocados work well at any meal (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) and contain healthy fats that keep you feeling full.


One of the oldest go-to home remedies around for everything from achy muscles to a sore throat, ginger may also work wonders when you are feeling like the Michelin Man after a hearty meal. “Compounds in ginger can stimulate the body’s gut juices that aid in digestion to help reduce any bloating brought on by indigestion,” Sumbal says.

After a meal, steep a few slices of fresh ginger in hot water and drink like tea. Fresh ginger can also be added to smoothies and salad dressings, and powdered dried ginger can infuse oatmeal with a spicy zing.

A2 Milk

Lactose is almost always blamed for why milk gives some people stomach woes, but evidence suggests that another culprit–A1 beta-casein protein–in milk can also bring on bloating, abdominal pain, and other undesirable symptoms.

This A2 milk is sourced from cows that naturally produce milk that is free from the potential tummy-troubling protein. So if lactose-free milk still doesn’t give you relief, it’s worth trying this drink that harbors only A2 beta-casein protein in your cereal and post-ride smoothies. A study in the journal Nutrients found that drinking A2 milk after a workout is just as good at improving muscle recovery as is regular milk.


Most people should be adding more fiber to their diet, but after eating the indigestible carbohydrate, gas and bloating can be a side effect, especially when you are not used to eating a lot. “The gas occurs as a byproduct of fiber digestion, but consuming water can help by encouraging the movement of fiber through your digestive system,” notes Sumbal. Of course, drinking water is a great way to get the liquid you need to help better digest that lentil salad, but you should also be consuming water-rich foods like oranges, cantaloupe, berries, tomatoes and cucumbers.

Sumbal adds that another reason to stay hydrated with liquids and watery foods such as oranges is that the body tends to store water when it’s in a state of dehydration as the salt-to-water ratio becomes unbalanced and the body holds on to any extra fluids until the balance is restored. And this can be a recipe for additional bloating.


Sure, it makes your urine smell a bit funky, but by acting as a natural diuretic, asparagus can also make you pee, period—helping you flush any excess water from your system, thus helping relieve discomfort brought on by water-retaining bloat.

Asparagus also contains prebiotic fiber, “which, unlike probiotics that are live bacteria found in foods and supplements, help to feed the good bacteria in your gut to keep your digestive tract running smoothly,” Sumbal explains.


If you’re feeling stretched out after a meal, do yourself a favor and reach for a steamy mug of mint tea. “Oils in peppermint including menthol can help relax your GI muscles to relieve spasms that cause discomfort and your stomach to bloat,” Sumbal says.

She suggests steeping fresh peppermint tea leaves since the anti-bloat oils can be lost during the processing that occurs when mint is dried and then finely ground to stuff into tea bags. You can also toss fresh mint leaves into salads or mix with fruit.


It sounds counterintuitive, but if eating foods such as beans and cruciferous veggies like broccoli make it feel like you’ve swallowed a basketball, relief can come from actually eating more not less.

Exposing your body to these foods more often can help train it to digest them better. So if your habit of eating beans only once in a blue moon brings to mind a popular rhyme, try adding them to your diet on a more regular rotation, and you’ll likely suck the air out of that midriff balloon and silence the toot. “Eating any poorly-tolerated vegetables cooked instead of raw can also make them easier to digest as you build up a tolerance,” adds Sumbal.

Fennel Seeds

Not only are the anise-flavored seeds a great way to cover up dragon breath, but the Mediterranean import also has a long tradition of being used to provide a degree of relief from digestive woes like bloating and cramping. It might be that fennel seeds contain compounds that subdue GI spasms. This is why many Indian restaurants offer fennel seeds after they have stuffed you silly.

When you want your stomach to behave, you can chew on the seeds directly or steep them in hot water and sip like tea. You can also use them as a seasoning when cooking dishes like pasta sauce and soups.

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