If there’s a single, shining moment in the year that you’re likely dealing with an uncomfortably bloated belly, it’s this lull between Christmas and New Year. Your routine is all out of whack (breakfast at 11am; sit; graze until bedtime) and your diet is probably largely consisting of cheese-based delicacies.
Not that this gentle period is not something to be savoured – but, if you are feeling distinctly sub-par and want to fix it, scroll on.
- Bloated belly: what causes it to happen?
- What’s the difference between stomach pain and bloating?
- 19 bloated stomach remedies
- 1/ Eat Fennel Seeds
- 2/ Load up on pre and probiotics
- 3/ Add Globe artichoke to your meals
- 4/ Drink bone broth
- 5/ Start the day with pineapple and papaya
- 6/ Cook with parsley
- 7/ Don’t cook with legumes
- 8/ Drink water – not fizzy drinks
- 9/ Avoid processed meats
- 10/ Swerve the chewing gum
- 11/ Keep a food diary to track your bloated stomach
- 12/ Cook more
- 13/ Eat more slowly
- 14/ Hydrate every hour
- 15/ Try a gut reset
- 16 / Eat probiotic foods
- 17/ Reduce stress to calm a bloated stomach
- 18/ Do yoga to ease a bloated tummy
- 19/ Your bloating and IBS action plan
- 24 Ways to Get Rid of Bloating in Less Than 24 Hours
- Why do you get a bloated stomach?
- These steps will show you how to get rid of bloating.
- Only drink water or tea.
- Take an Epsom salt bath.
- Eat a banana.
- Avoid certain veggies.
- Don’t chew gum.
- Eat dinner early.
- Have a high-protein breakfast.
- Make ginger tea.
- Eat several small meals.
- Eat slowly so you don’t gulp air.
- Skip your morning coffee.
- Skip the straws.
- Avoid beans.
- Eat more fiber and avoid refined flour.
- Avoid greasy foods.
- Hold off on drinking alcohol.
- Take a walk.
- Cut out dairy.
- Avoid sweeteners—real and artificial.
- Take time to meditate.
- Go to sleep early.
- Eat small portions.
- Search for low-sodium foods.
- Eat diuretic, electrolyte-rich foods.
- How to Stop Bloating
- What Exactly is Bloating?
- Key Bloating Culprits
- Time for Tea
- Fasting Fix
- Flat Tummy Foods
- 36 Ways to Debloat in 36 Hours
- TWO NIGHTS BEFORE THE BEACH
- Buy Some Ginger
- And Some Bananas, Too!
- Take a Bath With Epsom Salt
- Sort Through Your Vegetable Drawer
- Trade in Your Gum
- Make a Pitcher of Detox Water—and Start Sipping
- Add Cilantro to Your Dinner
- Have Some Dark Chocolate
- TWO MORNINGS BEFORE THE BEACH
- Say No to Greasy, Boozy Brunch
- Instead, Break Your Fast with Protein
- And a Banana…
- Sip On Ginger Tea
- Just Don’t Add Sweetener to It
- And Down Two Cups of H20
- Add Bacteria to Your Belly
- THE AFTERNOON BEFORE THE BEACH
- Hit The Gym & Hydrate with Lemon Water
- Eat Several Teeny-Tiny Meals
- Eat Honeydew, Pineapple and Papayas
- Just Be Sure to Watch Your Portion
- Make More Detox Water
- Have An Other Cup of Ginger Tea
- THE NIGHT BEFORE THE BEACH
- Eat Dinner Early
- Add Some Asparagus to Your Plate
- Take a Post-Dinner Stroll Again
- Sip Dandelion Tea & H2O
- Hit the Hay Early
- THE MORNING YOU HEAD TO THE BEACH
- Fit in a Mini Workout
- Stay Away from Straws
- Skip the Protein Bar
- 8 Anti-Bloat Foods to Eat When You’re Feeling Puffy
- Why You’re Feeling Bloated
- What to Eat When You’re Feeling Bloated
- Bob Harper and other experts rate top diets on Megyn Kelly TODAY
- Coping with cancer
- The causes of ascites
- What are the symptoms of ascites?
- Common Causes of Stomach Swelling in Dogs
- Tips for Preventing Stomach Problems in Dogs
- 24 Best Foods That Help With Bloating
- Peppermint Tea
- Honeydew Melon
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Sunflower Seeds
- Cranberry Juice
- Which foods are good for constipation?
- The Best and Worst Foods for Bloating
- Thank you!
Bloated belly: what causes it to happen?
First off, let us assure you that a bloated stomach is not something to shy away from and is far more common than you might like to admit. According to Dr Sarah Brewer, bloating can be caused by:
- Eating too much
- Eating too quickly
- Consuming a diet of rich, fatty foods
- Functional disorders of the gut – for example, the reduced production of stomach acid and enzymes, bile or pancreatic juices, which can occur during times of stress
- Conditions such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
‘Bloating may also increase around the time of your period,’ she says. And with women reporting the symptoms of bloated stomachs more frequently than men, it would seem we’re pretty much living in a constant danger zone.
The good news is it doesn’t need to be that way. According to the experts, all it can take to banish that bloated stomach are tweaks to your daily diet and workout regime.
That said, there’s an important caveat to this.
A constant bloated stomach that doesn’t calm down could be a warning sign of something more serious: head to your GP if you’re concerned
What’s the difference between stomach pain and bloating?
There’s an important difference between a bloated stomach from overeating or trigger foods and that caused by larger medical concerns.
‘A stomach ache is a term often used to refer to cramps or a dull ache in the tummy (abdomen). It’s usually short-lived and is often not serious,’ says NHS.
‘Severe abdominal pain is a greater cause for concern. If it starts suddenly and unexpectedly, it should be regarded as a medical emergency, especially if the pain is concentrated in a particular area.’
If you find yourself experiencing a bloated stomach regularly or it’s accompanied by pain, you should always seek medical help to rule out anything more serious.
19 bloated stomach remedies
1/ Eat Fennel Seeds
They may be small but boy are these little wonders mighty. Add them to your cooking, chew on them or steep them in hot water for a soothing cup of tea. ‘Fennel seeds are a potent digestive aid,’ says nutritionist and nutritional therapist Jennie Gough (www.jenniegough.com).
‘They contain a compound that relaxes the muscles in the digestive tract, helping to alleviate gas, bloating, a swollen stomach and stomach cramps.’ Not a fan of fennel’s flavour? ‘Try ginger or mint,’ Gough suggests.
Heath & Heather Organic Fennel Tea 20 Tea Bags hollandandbarrett.com £2.59
2/ Load up on pre and probiotics
Gut health has been having a moment so you don’t need us to tell you that if you regularly suffer from bloating, it could be due to an imbalance in your gut bacteria.
Help redress the situation by including more pre-biotic foods and probiotics in your diet. ‘Choosing a yoghurt that contains live cultures such as Lactobacillus Acidophilus and Bifidobacterium can help support the good bacteria in the gut that are essential for a healthy digestive system,’ Gough says.
Proven Probiotics Adult Acidophilus & Bifidus, £14.33 £16.85
Nutritionist Amanda Hamilton, of The Gut Plan Clinic (www.gutplanclinic.com), also suggests swapping your usual snacks for an anti-bloating alternative: ‘Try a kefir drink or a side of sauerkraut,’ she says.
In need of an extra boost? Supplement your stomach with these high-strength capsules, containing Lab4, a group of gut-friendly bacteria shown to help with bloating and symptoms of IBS.
3/ Add Globe artichoke to your meals
Perhaps not one to frequently make it into your five-a-day shop, but including the thistle-like food into your diet could have benefits for your bloated belly.
Solgar Artichoke 60 Vegetable Capsules Solgar amazon.co.uk £15.84
Dr Brewer explains: ‘It can stimulate bile production and can quickly relieve bloating linked with poor bile output, especially if symptoms are caused by fatty foods and alcohol.’
Can’t be bothered with the faff of food prep? Try this natural extract, instead.
4/ Drink bone broth
Love it or hate it, when it comes to how to get rid of bloating, bone broths can be just the ticket.
Borough Broth Organic Beef Bone Broth 13 ocado.com £5.49
‘They can help to repair the gut lining,’ Hamilton says. Which means? Hasta la vista, bloated tummy. Try this recipe for turkey bone broth and quit Googling how to get rid of bloating.
5/ Start the day with pineapple and papaya
Add a taste of the exotic to your smoothies and snacks by swapping your typical apple and berries for pineapple and papaya.
‘These fruits contain natural digestive enzymes (bromelain and papain), which help your body to break down food and so reduce gas, bloating and a swollen stomach,’ Gough says. Want an extra boost?
‘The stem of pineapple is a particularly good source to stop stomach swelling.’
6/ Cook with parsley
‘Your swollen tummy can sometimes be caused by a high sodium intake, which leads to water retention,’ Gough says.
Flush away any excess by adding parsley, a natural diuretic, to your food, or by serving up a side of asparagus with your morning eggs.
‘How to get rid of a bloated stomach can sometimes be as simple as eating a banana,’ Gough continues. ‘As these fruits are rich in potassium and so can help to regulate sodium levels in the body.
7/ Don’t cook with legumes
No surprises there – but ever stopped to wonder why it is that beans, lentils and peas can produce such swollen stomach side effects?
‘They’re one of the worst culprits when it comes to foods that trigger bloating,’ Gough says. ‘They contain a sugar called an oligosaccharide that our digestive enzymes can’t break down fully so the bacteria in our gut feed on it and produce gas as a result.’
8/ Drink water – not fizzy drinks
It makes perfect sense, right? Drinking gas equals gas. But when that ice-cold G&T tastes so good, we’d be wrong not to forgive you for giving out. The downside is your tummy won’t.
‘Alcohol promotes dysbiosis (leaky gut) and harmful bacterial overgrowth in the gut,’ Hamilton says. ‘While the sugar and artificial sweeteners in the tonic can alter your gut microbiota and increase pathogenic bacteria.’ Which can mean a seriously swollen belly.
9/ Avoid processed meats
If you need another reason to join the #flexitarian diet movement, then know that going plant-based could help get rid of bloating.
According to Hamilton, the type of fat in processed meats can actually lower the levels of beneficial bacteria in your gut, while also increasing levels of pathogenic bacteria. Try our best healthy vegetarian and vegan recipes to get you started.
10/ Swerve the chewing gum
‘This increase your risk of swallowing excess air and consequently gassiness,’ Dr Brewer says.
11/ Keep a food diary to track your bloated stomach
If you’re frustratedly trying to Google ‘bloated stomach causes’ and your bloated tummy is more than an occasional occurrence, it’s time to make friends with My Fitness Pal.
Lisa and Alana Macfarlane of The Gut Stuff (thegutstuff.com) says: ‘Keep a record of everything you eat and drink – and your symptoms afterwards. This should help you identify what may be causing your bloating.
‘Bloating going on for weeks on end? ‘It’s time to seek medical advice,’ she adds.
12/ Cook more
It’s a long-standing debate – should you eat your fruits and vegetables raw or cooked, to maximise their nutritional content?
Well, when it comes to knowing how to get rid of bloating, cooked wins out. ‘Some fruits and vegetables that are high in fibre can cause digestive discomfort,’ Gough says. ‘Cooking helps to break some of the fibre down, making it easier for your body to digest – and so causing less bloating.’
13/ Eat more slowly
Reclaim your lunch break and reconnect with your dinner table. One of the most effective ways to beat the bloat is to eat more slowly and to chew properly, nutritional therapist Henrietta Norton of Wild Nutrition (wildnutrition.com) says.
Which means? No more hurried meals at your desk or on the run. Norton says eating too fast leads to more air being swallowed, which exacerbates bloating—she explains:
‘A lack of digestive enzymes or hydrochloric acid may also contribute to poor breakdown of carbohydrates, fats and proteins, leading to bloating and a sore tummy’.
Plus, she says taking time out to eat properly is essential for effective digestion, which in turn is essential for avoiding a bloated stomach.
Damage already done and you find yourself desperately racking your brain for tips to get rid of wind? ‘Try lying on your left-hand side to help excess wind roll up and out,’ Dr Brewer suggests. Somewhere private, obvs.
14/ Hydrate every hour
‘You should be aiming to move your bowels every day – or at least every other day,’ Hamilton says.
‘Otherwise, food can start to ferment in the gut, releasing gases that cause bloating and flatulence.’ And you know what to do. ‘Make sure you’re drinking 1.5-2l of water a day and eating plenty of insoluble fibre,’ Hamilton says. Regular exercise will also help – see below for a suggested anti-bloat workout.
15/ Try a gut reset
Still no joy? Or need results, fast? Then it might be worth turning inwards to look at your overall gut health to get rid of bloating, say the Macfarlane’s.
How? Take an at home gut microbiome kit or try a gut stuff diary to identify common trigger foods of bloating, such as gluten and dairy, says expert Tim Spector advises.
He says: ‘It’s different for everyone as every single gut is different, but if you have persistent symptoms of bloating, IBS or other digestive issues, knowing your causes and then eliminating problematic food groups may be a good place to start.’
Plus, some of you may even need to go a stage further and also eliminate FODMAPS (specific fermentable carbohydrates).
However, this should always be done under the direction, and in the care of, a nutrition professional .
16 / Eat probiotic foods
If you do have to remove certain food groups to reduce your bloating symptoms, Gough says you should then gradually introduce probiotic foods to support the overall microbiome with nourishing bacteria from food sources such as miso, kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut or kimchi.
It doesn’t matter which source you choose simply select what is most readily available, budget friendly and what you enjoy the most.
Lastly, rebalance gradually back to a wider diet that reintroduces trigger foods one food at a time to see which your body is reacting to.’
Again – this should be done with guidance from a nutrition pro.
17/ Reduce stress to calm a bloated stomach
Experiencing high levels of emotional stress? Nutritionist Jenna Hope (jennahopenutrition.com) says that stress can impact your gut bacteria, which in turn can cause you to bloat.
She says: ‘We’re starting to hear a lot more about the relationship between the gut and the brain. High levels of emotional stress can stimulate changes in the ENS (enteric nervous system) which plays a role in digestion and managing gut motility and can in turn cause bloating and excess gas in the gut.’
And leading Harley Street nutritionist and author Rhiannon Lambert (rhitrition.com) agrees. She says: ‘Stress can have a massive impact on bloating. Food you’re normally ok with eating can work against you if your stomach isn’t responding well to the stresses in your life—your stomachs are considered second brains.’
18/ Do yoga to ease a bloated tummy
Try swapping HIIT workouts for lower-intensity alternatives. Here, nutritional therapist, yoga instructor and author of The De-Stress Effect, Charlotte Watts suggests three yoga poses to naturally aid digestion and ease bloating.
‘Squatting positions encourage the muscular actions needed for bowel movements,’ Watts says.
‘While engaging lower abdominal muscles massage the colon. Stand feet hip-width apart and parallel, with arms hanging by your side. On an exhale, bend your knees as if sitting back onto a chair, allowing your upper body to hinge forward, whilst still feeling length between the breastbone and belly.
As you drop down, raise your arms forward to shoulder-height, keeping your shoulders soft. On an inhale, draw back up to standing through the belly, letting the arms drop down. Continue this movement with spacious breath, focusing on a long calming exhalation into the movement.’
‘This aids digestion by creating compression in the organs that allows the flooding of fluids when released,’ Watts says. ‘This has both a massaging effect and hydrates body tissues.
All twists can help in this way, but the standing version shown allows the rotation to occur all the way up from the instep on the standing leg, thus freeing the lines of the connective tissue up through the inner legs to the digestive organs.’
‘Inversions support digestion and reduce bloating by encouraging the natural slide-and-glide down of body fluids from the lower legs, by assisting lymphatic flow around the colon and whole abdomen, and by calming the nervous system,’ Watts says.
‘Viparita karani or legs-up-the-wall posture is particularly helpful here, especially when the hips are raised above the heart on a bolster or stack of blankets. Opening the legs into a wide-stride version also allows the pelvic floor to naturally soften and release tension up into the digestive organs.’
19/ Your bloating and IBS action plan
‘IBS affects around 12 million people in the UK,’ says Dr Simon Smale, gastroenterologist and medical adviser to The IBS Network. ‘People with IBS are often very sensitive to abdominal content, even with food or drink quantities or gas that might be considered normal.’
‘Studies have shown that this sensation of abdominal fullness can cause them to contract (lower) the diaphragm and relax the abdomen, causing it to protrude. This may be greater if the abdominal content is increased by a meal or towards the end of the day when someone is tired.
Bloating is more likely to occur in people who are anxious as the emotional tension can make the intestine more sensitive and encourage the relief of pressure by abdominal protrusion.’
Dr Smale suggests the following advice:
* Try a low FODMAP diet. (Read up, here: What is FODMAPS diet?)
* Relaxation, hypnotherapy and meditation can help to decrease the sensitivity and spasms of the bowel.
* Antispasmodic drugs can reduce the spasms that cause gas to become trapped in the bowel. Simethicone is an inert polymer that is said to work by reducing the surface tension of small air bubbles, thereby allowing them to coalesce into larger bubbles that are more easily eliminated.
Whilst you’re reading up on how to cure a bloated stomach, check out the symptoms of IBS or try WH’s favourite healthy crisps.
24 Ways to Get Rid of Bloating in Less Than 24 Hours
How many times can you recall having a bloated belly while trying to squeeze into a tight-fitting pair of jeans? It’s particularly annoying if you watch what you eat and exercise. Belly bloat is often to blame, but luckily, it can be temporary. Experts share the common reasons for a bulging stomach along with their tips for how to get rid of bloating.
Why do you get a bloated stomach?
Bloat sneaks up on you in surprising ways, depending on what you eat, certain habits you have, and even from select medical conditions.
Certain foods can cause digestive distress, some eating habits can cause you to take in more air, and certain medical conditions can cause your body to retain water.
These steps will show you how to get rid of bloating.
When you want to shrink your stomach as quickly as possible, you’ll want to rely on these digestion-promoting methods that can help you get rid of your ballooning belly in just 24 hours. We’ll help you identify which habits and foods can help reduce bloating, bringing your digestive system into balance and revving up your metabolism in the process.
There will be no more squeezing into your favorite pair of jeans anymore when you follow our 24 tips for how to get rid of bloating—see results in less than 24 hours!
Only drink water or tea.
When people are bloated, they tend to skimp on water because they think it will make their bloating worse. Since water retention is the body’s way of holding onto fluid so it doesn’t dehydrate, the opposite is true. Drinking lots of water (and skipping dehydrating booze) signals the body that it no longer needs to hold onto every last drop to stay hydrated. “Fluids, specifically water, are absolutely key for optimal digestion,” says Isabel Smith, MS, RD, CDN, registered dietitian and founder of Isabel Smith Nutrition.
Take an Epsom salt bath.
Relaxing in any tub is always nice, and adding two cups of magnesium-rich Epsom salt may help deflate your belly more effectively by pulling excess water out of your body. Your body will absorb the magnesium, which is an electrolyte, which can help displace the extra water your body is retaining. To avoid dehydration, only do this ritual once a week.
Eat a banana.
Bananas are packed with potassium, a nutrient that helps regulate fluid balance to flatten belly bloat. (It’s just one of the amazing benefits of bananas!) The potassium offsets the effects of sodium in your diet, which is a common cause of water retention. And bananas won’t just help you beat bloat overnight; An Anaerobe study found that women who ate a banana as a pre-meal snack twice a day for 60 days experienced a 50 percent reduction in bloating.
Avoid certain veggies.
Even though they’re filled with health-promoting nutrients, foods that are high in FODMAPs (Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols) also contain sneaky belly-bloaters that may be contributing to your ever-clinging food baby. The culprit is poorly absorbed carbohydrates and sugars. When your body ferments these carbs in your gut, it produces gas, which causes bloating. Avoid foods like…
- White onions
- Brussels sprouts
Don’t chew gum.
Not only does chewing gum cause you to swallow tummy-bloating air, many gums also contain sugar alcohols and artificial sweeteners like sorbitol and xylitol. Because these sugar alcohols are not absorbed by your body, they can cause discomfort and bloating, according to a Clinical Nutrition study.
Eat This! Tip: If you need to have something to chew on, go for an organic gum variety like Glee gum or Simply gum instead. They’re still low-cal, but they don’t use those sweeteners that’ll make you puff up. If that makes you cringe, then you’ll definitely want to see the most horrifying things found in food!
Eat dinner early.
Intermittent fasting is increasing in popularity because of it’s science-backed weight loss benefits. For most of us, not eating for 16 hours in a day doesn’t seem like an appealing prospect. But here’s a secret: You actually fast every night, while you’re asleep—that’s why they call the first meal of the day “breakfast.”
The longer you can stretch out that period of fasting, the fewer calories you’ll take in. The fewer calories you consume, the less opportunity you have to eat something that will bloat your stomach. Cut off food intake by 7 p.m. or 8 p.m. at night, and delay breakfast a little further into the day. Make sure you have at least 12 hours between your last meal tonight and your first meal tomorrow. You’ll give your digestive system time to recover, and deflate your bell
Another method is to eat the bulk of your calories before 3 p.m. You’ll be more likely to have a flatter stomach than your splurge-at-dinner peers, says a 2013 International Journal of Obesity study.
Have a high-protein breakfast.
Once you have awakened your digestion, start your day of eating with a burst of protein. We all get distracted or busy through the day, but a high-protein breakfast will prevent surprise mid-morning or early afternoon energy crashes that leave us reaching for a quick jolt of energy via ultra-processed foods that are high in bloat-inducing ingredients like excess sodium.
Eat This! Tip: Add a morning protein shake or a breakfast of eggs and nut butter waffles. The goal: don’t leave the house without first loading up on at least 15 grams of protein.
Make ginger tea.
A sluggish digestive system equals a slower metabolic rate. Wake up your innards by starting the morning with a cup of ginger tea. This fast-friendly drink will help improve the digestion and elimination of your food, according to a 2000 study, and is a key part of The 7-Day Flat-Belly Tea Cleanse. Another reason for your bloated belly is inflammation, which is often brought on by spicy foods, dairy and chemical additives. According to numerous studies, ginger, traditionally used to ease stomach pain, blocks several genes and enzymes in the body that promote bloat-causing inflammation. Not a fan of ginger? There are plenty of other teas that make great bloating remedies.
Eat This! Tip: Boil 1/2 tsp grated ginger with 1 cup of water and pour into a cup with your favorite tea bag.
Eat several small meals.
To keep your metabolism revving throughout the day, focus on small, protein- and fiber-packed snacks or small meals every 3 to 4 hours. You will not only burn more calories eating a series of smaller meals, but also avoid the afternoon crash and end of the workday slump. (Make sure to eat that first protein-packed meal; skipped breakfasts leave many of us grabbing for more food than we really need.)
Eat This! Tip: Use your smartphone or computer to remind you of these intervals. Some go-to healthy snack ideas include:
- Apple with peanut butter
- A handful of nuts and berries
- Hummus and veggies
- Yogurt and granola
Eat slowly so you don’t gulp air.
When you finally get home after a long day, you’re totally famished — we get it. But that doesn’t mean you should scarf down your dinner in a hurry. Eating too quickly causes you to swallow excess air, which can lead to uncomfortable gas and bloating. Slowing down the chewing with your mouth closed, on the other hand, can have the opposite effect. Fight off the urge to vacuum your entire meal by snacking on something like a small piece of fruit or an ounce of nuts on your way home. Then, after you’ve settled in, sit down and have a leisurely supper.
Skip your morning coffee.
As much as we love the benefits of coffee, drinking it when you’re trying to shrink your belly in 24 hours is a no-no. “Consuming beverages that are high in sugar or caffeine can not only be dehydrating, but in some cases can add to excess calorie intake, too,” explains Smith. When your body is dehydrated, it will hold onto water, which causes excessive bloating.
Skip the straws.
Just like sucking in air by inhaling your meals can cause you to feel puffy, sipping through a straw can cause you to take in extra air and experience a bloating.
Many beans, including soybeans, contain oligosaccharides. These are nondigestible sugar molecules that the body can’t break down entirely. With nowhere to go, these oligosaccharides hang out in the where they ferment, causing gas and bloating of the stomach. It should be easy to avoid beans in just 24 hours, but make sure you’re on the lookout for other sources. You probably don’t think “beans” when you unwrap a protein bar, but a lot of them include protein isolate derived from soybeans—something many people find just as gas-inducing as the musical fruit.
Eat more fiber and avoid refined flour.
Foods made with white flour like white bread, white pasta, and white rice are relatively low in fiber and may cause you to get a little, uh, backed up. “Choosing whole grains can help with this,” says Smith. A simple switch from white bread to whole wheat or from white rice to brown will keep things moving along smoothly.
High fiber foods that are free of indigestible fibers mentioned before include:
- Whole grain bread
- Acorn squash
- Berries (blackberries and raspberries)
- Chia and flax seeds
Avoid greasy foods.
Foods that are high in grease or are really fatty, like a McDonald’s breakfast, can cause gastrointestinal upset. While some fats are great for your gut, like omega-3s found in fish or nuts, these fats don’t interact with your body the same way. Stuff like fast food often contains high levels of unhealthy fats like saturated and trans fatty acids that cause an inflammatory response in the body, meaning your body wants it out!
Hold off on drinking alcohol.
Alcohol can directly damage the digestive tract and research has also found it to mess with the good bacteria in your gut. But more importantly for when you’re trying to shrink your stomach in 24 hours, alcohol inhibits digestion, as well. “Alcohol inhibits digestion and causes dehydration, causing the digestive tract to slow down—which results in constipation,” says Rebecca Scritchfield, RDN. When you drink alcohol, your body switches to processing the alcohol out of your system first before digesting any food, which can leave you with a bloated stomach. It may be tough, but avoid the hard stuff during this day.
Take a walk.
Instead of lounging around after supper, head outside for a 15-minute nighttime stroll—it’s a great way to get things moving again when you are feeling backed up and bloated. And if you regularly experience constipation, consider making walking part of your nightly routine. And if you tend to toss and turn, check out these tips for how to get better sleep.
Cut out dairy.
Dairy can be very bothersome to the belly because many adults naturally produce less of the necessary digestive enzyme lactase as we get older. If you consume dairy products pretty regularly, try cutting them out for 24 hours (and maybe even beyond this day) and see how your body reacts.
Avoid sweeteners—real and artificial.
We didn’t say these 24 hours were going to be sweet! “Foods that are processed with added sugars, particularly with artificial sweeteners, can be seriously upsetting to the intestinal tract and can cause gas and bloating for many,” says Smith. Furthermore, artificial sweeteners like sugar alcohols are part of that group of poorly-digested FODMAPs, that will only cause your belly to bloat more.
RELATED: The easy guide to cutting back on sugar is finally here.
Take time to meditate.
The older, wiser, less-bendy sister of yoga, meditation is an amazing activity that people can reap major rewards from. A 2014 study in Eating Behaviors found that individuals who meditate are less likely to overeat or give in to emotional eating—and this is key if you want to stay on track with your anti-bloat plan over the next day. To get started, unroll a yoga mat or sit on a carpet in a sunny room (east-facing if possible) and take five uninterrupted minutes thinking about something that you’re grateful for.
Go to sleep early.
Getting a good night’s rest will help keep your energy levels high the next day as well as make it easier for you to keep a smart eating plan. According to a University of Wisconsin study, people who get more sleep have reduced ghrelin and increased leptin levels. These two hormones work together to help control your appetite throughout the day, making sure you don’t overeat. To get rid of bloating, get a good night’s rest to keep you from overeating the next day.
Eat small portions.
Eating large portions can leave you feeling inflated, which isn’t what you’re looking for at the end of your 24-hour debloat period. Eat slowly and put your fork down between each bite. A good rule of thumb is to eat until you’re about 90 percent full and then call it. You can also practice portion control by portioning out your meals ahead of time.
Search for low-sodium foods.
Good for the tastebuds, but potentially bad for the stomach, high-sodium foods may lead to water retention and temporary weight gain. When you overload your system with sodium, your kidneys can’t keep up; sodium that would otherwise be flushed away has to sit in your bloodstream, where it attracts water, causing increased blood pressure and bloating. When it comes to how to get rid of bloating, your first step should be to assess how much sodium you’re eating per day.
You can cut back on sodium with these tips:
- If you tend to eat at fast-food restaurants a lot, switch to low-sodium fast food orders.
- Use spices to season food instead of solely relying on salt.
- Swap canned foods to fresh or frozen products.
- Skip out on processed meats and replaced with grilled or baked, lean protein.
Eat diuretic, electrolyte-rich foods.
Honeydew melon has a diuretic property that fights water retention. Its high potassium levels help displace sodium, flushing excess water from your system and acting a natural electrolyte replacement. Honeydew is just one of the best foods that beat bloating!
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How to Stop Bloating
If you’ve been feeling inflated lately, your diet may be responsible for your puffed-out pooch.
We all know to eat less salt and to scale back on drinks during happy hour. But what else can we do to stop bloating and ease our swollen bellies?
We spoke with two wellness professionals to gather their tricks on how to improve gut health with a diet of flat-belly foods.
What Exactly is Bloating?
Sinclair Fischer-Gray, Trainer and Chef to Orlando Bloom, tells us that bloating happens instantly as we eat food that doesn’t digest properly.
It starts with cramps and a distended, hard belly. Bloating is not normal, or healthy—it’s a warning that the food you’ve eaten has caused inflammation.
Key Bloating Culprits
Processed food is the top bloat inducer according to Dorit Jaffe, the holistic nutrition counselor behind Whole Healthy Glow.
When her clients complain about a heavy tummy she advises them to start eliminating fried, processed, and sugary foods. Liquor may also be responsible for your morning pooch if you had a few drinks the night before.
The most surprising bloat causer? Healthy veggies such as Brussels Sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, asparagus, and cauliflower.
While these foods have several benefits, they can be hard for your small intestine to break down. This leads to leftover pieces of food in your digestive tract which ferment and cause gas.
Time for Tea
Once the overloaded sensation of bloating sets in, Jaffe recommends her clients take two probiotics (these are our favorite) and drink a fresh lemon-ginger tea (these have great reviews) to start reducing swelling immediately.
The healthy bacteria in probiotics can aid digestion and increase the absorption of food’s nutrients.*
Ginger-lemon tea can soothe the stomach, reduce inflammation, flush toxins out of the system, and aid the body in digesting the food that has caused bloating. Chamomile, peppermint, turmeric, and green tea have also been shown to fight bloat.
It’s important to wait until bloating has subsided before eating again according to Fischer-Grey.
Chewing each bite thoroughly—at least 20 times—will also help the body to digest as it helps breakdown the food in your mouth making digestion easier on the rest of your system.
Jaffe has her clients try intermittent fasting to fight excessive or long-lasting bloating. Giving the digestive system a long break of 12-14 hours can help prevent future bloating and help your system reset, so to speak.
Try to have all of your meals in a 10 hour period between 9 AM – 7 PM. Fischer-Gray believes in a similar principle, “In my opinion, how much someone eats and what they eat is more important than how often they eat.” Both experts we spoke to advocate for giving the digestive system a break when fighting bloat.
Flat Tummy Foods
Cooked vegetables are easier to digest than raw vegetables according to Scientific American. Jaffe recommends eating organic, cooked greens such as spinach and zucchini with roasted sweet potato. These tummy healthy foods will keep bloating down, energy levels up, and your pH balanced. Fischer-Gray suggests eating fermented foods that are rich with beneficial bacteria such as kefir, coconut yogurt, sauerkraut, and kimchi.
Some more bloat-bashing veggies include celery and eggplant. Celery naturally flushes extra liquids while eggplant is low sodium and has a high concentration of water so it aids in de-bloating. Tomatoes get rid of belly-bloating sodium thanks to their high levels of potassium. Toss veggies into the oven with some ghee and seasoning for roasted veggies or make a stir fry on the stove.
If you’re in between meals when bloat settles in, treat yourself to a fresh fruit salad made with the bloat-fighting kiwi, banana, and honeydew melon with some grated ginger on top. Kiwi is high in fiber and helps the body avoid constipation. Bananas naturally relieve water retention through their high levels of potassium and fiber. Honeydew melon is primarily water so it is a natural electrolyte replacement due to its potassium levels.
Carrot Ginger Soup
To beat bloat quickly Jaffe recommends making her simple carrot-ginger soup for lunch or dinner:
Serves 3-4 people
1 lb carrots which are high in potassium that fights bloating
1 small diced yellow onion
1/2 tsp. cumin
1 tbsp. ghee
32 oz container of vegetable broth
1 tbsp. fresh ginger
2 cups water (as needed)
1. Melt the ghee on low heat in a saucepan. Add the onion and cumin. Cook for about 5 minutes until onion is translucent.
2. Add in carrots, vegetable broth, and fresh ginger.
3. Bring to a boil and then cover with the lid and simmer on low for 30 minutes or until vegetables are fully cooked.
4. Blend with a hand blender. If the soup needs more liquid add more water to the mixture. Season with salt and pepper according to taste
Need an anti-bloating breakfast option?
Check out the recipe for a “Cure All” smoothie here! And, as always, for your fitness needs, check out the Aaptiv app here.
*Always consult a doctor before adding supplements to your diet
36 Ways to Debloat in 36 Hours
Quick! When I say “bikini,” what’s the first thing that pops into your mind? If you’re thinking “I need a new coverup” or “no freakin’ way,” we’re here to help. Despite your clean diet and regular fitness regimen, the bloating hasn’t subsided and you’re still feeling a bit puffier than you’d prefer. It’s totally frustrating, we know. The good news is that if you’ve been putting in the work, a lot of the extra “pudge” you think you have in your midsection is probably just water weight and bloat.
To help flatten your stomach just in time for your upcoming beach day or night out that demands skinny jeans, we’ve come up with a 36-hour plan comprised of simple tasks that will slowly—but surely—whittle your middle before your toes hit the sand or dancefloor.
TWO NIGHTS BEFORE THE BEACH
Buy Some Ginger
Before you can throw yourself in this debloating plan, you’ll need to stock up on supplies. The first must-have? Fresh ginger, a root that’s been shown to help deflate the stomach from gas-producing foods. Throughout the plan, you’ll be asked to grate it up and use it to make a detox tea—but more on that later!
And Some Bananas, Too!
Bananas are packed with potassium, a nutrient that helps regulate fluid balance to flatten belly bloat. You’ll be eating these a few times over the next two days, so pick up two or three of them. You’ll also need honeydew and pineapple.
Take a Bath With Epsom Salt
Relaxing in any tub is always nice, but adding two cups of Epsom salt may actually help deflate your belly by pulling excess water out of your body. To avoid beach day dehydration, only do this ritual once before heading toward the sand.
Sort Through Your Vegetable Drawer
Even though they’re filled with health-promoting nutrients, there are a number of veggies that contain sneaky belly-bloaters that may be contributing to your ever-clinging food baby: White onions, artichokes, corn, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, raw spinach, and button mushrooms. Put them into a do not eat pile until you get back from the beach.
Trade in Your Gum
Not only does chewing gum cause you to swallow tummy-bloating air, many gums also contain sugar alcohols and artificial sweeteners like sorbitol and xylitol that can cause bloat. If you have to have something to chomp on, go for an organic variety like Glee gum or Simply gum instead. They’re still low-cal, but they don’t use those sweeteners that’ll make you puff up.
Make a Pitcher of Detox Water—and Start Sipping
It may seem counterintuitive, but chugging water will help rid your body of that pesky water weight. Since chugging plain H2O can be less than stimulating, we like to make detox water using fruits have de-puffing properties in their flesh and peels. (Lemons, kiwi, and honeydew all have diuretic effects.) Slice them whole into your water to reap the benefits and hit your water intake quota with an infusion of flavor!
Add Cilantro to Your Dinner
Research shows that cilantro’s unique blend of oils (specifically, linalool and geranyl acetate) work like over-the-counter meds to relax digestive muscles and alleviate an “overactive” gut. A study published in the journal Digestive Diseases and Science found that patients with IBS benefited from supplementing with coriander (also known as cilantro) as opposed to placebo. Not to mention, cilantro is just one of the best foods that beat bloat so pile it on your plate (it tastes great with grilled chicken) to start the de-puffing process! Oh and don’t forget to keep sipping that H20 while you dine!
Have Some Dark Chocolate
Craving a chocolatey dessert? So long as it has to have a cacao content of 70 percent or above, it’s a go! Chocolate-loving microbes in the gut convert the candy into anti-inflammatory compounds, researchers at the American Chemical Society found. When the cocoa reaches your belly’s digestive juices and enzymes, it’s feasted on by your belly’s good gut bugs, which ferment it into anti-inflammatory compounds. Translation: You lose belly bloat.
TWO MORNINGS BEFORE THE BEACH
Say No to Greasy, Boozy Brunch
Foods that are high in grease or are really fatty, like a McDonald’s breakfast, can cause gastrointestinal upset and bloat. And since booze is dehydrating, it can cause your belly to get puffy. Steer clear of the indulgent brunch options and make something wholesome at home instead.
Instead, Break Your Fast with Protein
Start your day of eating with a burst of protein. We all get distracted or busy through the day, but a high-protein start will prevent surprise mid-morning or early afternoon energy crashes that leave us reaching for sugar, caffeine or a carbohydrate load for a quick boost. Add some protein powder or nuts to your oatmeal (a carb that has a diuretic effect on the body) or make some scrambled eggs and whole grain toast. The goal: don’t leave the house without first loading up on at least 15 grams of protein.
And a Banana…
Bananas are a good source of prebiotic fiber, which helps to feed good gut bacteria and improve digestion. A study in the journal Anaerobe found women who ate a banana twice daily as a pre-meal snack for 60 days experienced an increase in good bacteria levels and a 50 percent reduction in bloating. In addition, bananas have plenty of potassium which offsets the effects of sodium in your diet, a usual cause of water retention.
Sip On Ginger Tea
You know that ginger we told you to buy last night? It’s time to grate it up, simmer it over a flame with water. After 15 minutes or so, strain the tea into a teacup and squeeze in some fresh lemon juice. How’s it work? Inflammation, often brought on by spicy foods, dairy and chemical additives, may be to blame for your puffy tummy. According to numerous studies, ginger, traditionally used to ease stomach pain, blocks several genes and enzymes in the body that promote bloat-causing inflammation. If you prefer the taste of chai tea, typically made from a blend of cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and ginger, that may also do the trick—but may be less potent. Not a fan of ginger or chai? There are plenty of other teas that make great bloating remedies.
Just Don’t Add Sweetener to It
Dana Leigh Smith/Eat This, Not That!
“Foods that are processed with added sugars, particularly with artificial sweeteners, can be seriously upsetting to the intestinal tract and can cause gas and bloating for many,” says registered dietitian Isabel Smith. Furthermore, studies have also found fake sweeteners to lead to weight gain—the opposite of what you’ve been working toward.
And Down Two Cups of H20
You know that detox water you made last night? Start sipping it! Aim for two cups with your morning meal.
Add Bacteria to Your Belly
Studies show that overweight people have a higher percentage of “bad” bacteria in their bellies. To keep the fat-causing bugs at bay, you need to eat a variety of foods that support the healthy bacteria—the kind found in the bellies of slim people. Kefir, kombucha and bone broth are examples of probiotic-rich foods that help you lose weight by aiding digestion. Add a serving of a probiotic-heavy food to your diet plan before you hit the beach.
THE AFTERNOON BEFORE THE BEACH
Hit The Gym & Hydrate with Lemon Water
This is a winning combo—even if you only can hit the elliptical or treadmill for 15 minutes. “Exercise and water both get your intestinal tract going, which gets things moving out of your colon…to prevent constipation and the gut bulges that come with it,” explains nutritionist Tammy Lakatos Shames. “The water and lemon help to restore normal fluid balance, flushing bloat, thanks to the potassium in the lemon that counteracts sodium; the water also rinses out the salt and you’ll get rid of the little layer of ‘puff’ right beneath your skin as you sweat out a little salt. And exercising enough to break a sweat will help flush some of the high-sodium foods.”
Eat Several Teeny-Tiny Meals
To keep your metabolism revving throughout the day, focus on small, protein- and fiber-packed snacks or small meals every 3 to 4 hours. You will not only burn more calories eating a series of smaller meals, but also avoid the afternoon crash that will leave you reaching for things like soda that aren’t part of your flat belly plan. Use your smartphone or computer to remind you of these intervals. An apple with peanut butter, some nuts, and berries, hummus or yogurt all make great go-to snacks.
Eat Honeydew, Pineapple and Papayas
Honeydew melon has a diuretic property that fights water retention, and pineapples and papayas contain enzymes that aid digestion and break down proteins that usually cause bloat.
Just Be Sure to Watch Your Portion
Eating large portions can leave you feeling inflated, which isn’t what you want the day before you need to slip into a teeny bikini. Eat until you’re about 90 percent full and then put down the fork.
Make More Detox Water
By the late afternoon, you should have polished off the entire pitcher or detox water you made the night before. Go ahead and make another batch, and keep sipping on the reg!
Have An Other Cup of Ginger Tea
Keep sipping, guys! Getting sick of ginger? There are plenty of other teas that make great bloating remedies!
THE NIGHT BEFORE THE BEACH
Eat Dinner Early
Fasting: it’s the slim-down secret of models and celebrities. But for those of us who’d like to actually enjoy our lives, it’s not exactly an appealing prospect. But here’s a secret: You actually fast every night, while you’re asleep—that’s why we call the first meal of the day “breakfast.” The longer you can stretch out that period of fasting, the fewer calories you’ll take in and the more time your body will have to heal itself. (Digestion takes a lot of work!). Cut off food intake by 7 pm or 8 pm at night, and delay breakfast a little further into the day. Make sure you have at least 12 hours between your last meal tonight and your first meal tomorrow. You’ll give your digestive system time to recover, and deflate your belly just in time for fun in the sun!
Add Some Asparagus to Your Plate
It’ll make your pee smell funny, but more importantly, it’ll make you pee more. Asparagus is a particularly nutritious vegetable that happens to be a diuretic food, which means it will help deflate your belly before beach time. Sautee some up with some ground pepper and olive oil to reap the benefits.
Take a Post-Dinner Stroll Again
It’s time to take another post-dinner stroll—it’s a great way to get things moving again when you are feeling backed up and bloated. Being active will also help you fight off cravings for treats that can wreck your bikini body. It’s a win-win.
It’s time to feed those chocolate-loving microbes in the gut again! Don’t forget to stick to 70 percent cacao.
Sip Dandelion Tea & H2O
Rehydrate with a cup of water and a cup of dandelion tea, which “happens to be a powerful, yet natural diuretic that can keep your tummy flat and your confidence high,” raves registered dietician Lisa Moskovitz. Unsweetened iced tea is another good choice–just steer clear of bubbly beverages that’ll have you feeling swollen in seconds from the carbonation.
Hit the Hay Early
People who get more sleep have reduced ghrelin and increased leptin levels, which helps to control their appetites throughout the day, according to a University of Wisconsin study. Since you’ll be in a bathing suit in less than 24 hours, getting a good night’s rest will make it easier for you to keep up with your smart eating plan through the end of your beach day.
THE MORNING YOU HEAD TO THE BEACH
Fit in a Mini Workout
Since you went to bed early, you shouldn’t have any trouble waking up 20 minutes early to fit in a quick sweat session. Not only will hitting the weights or hopping on the treadmill get things moving and help your body flush out bloat-inducing salt, but it will also make you feel leaner. And when you’re in a bathing suit, you know that feeling your best is half the battle.
“If you are dehydrated, your body will retain conserve water, which can lead to bloating,” says registered dietitian Alissa Rumsey. “Staying hydrated also speeds up digestion and can counteract the effects of salt and carb-induced bloating.” Aim for 6 to 8 glasses of water throughout the beach day to keep your flat belly looking great in your beach gear all day long.
Stay Away from Straws
Just like sucking in air by inhaling your meals can cause you to feel puffy, sipping through a straw can cause you to take in extra air and experience a bloating.
Skip the Protein Bar
While you may be short on time the day you’re running off to the beach, resist the urge to grab a protein bar and run out the door. You probably don’t think “beans” when you unwrap a protein bar, but a lot of them include protein isolate derived from soybeans—something many people find just as gas-inducing as the musical fruit. Like other beans, soy contains oligosaccharides, sugar molecules that the body can’t break down entirely. With nowhere to go, these oligosaccharides hang out in the gut where they ferment, causing gas and bloating of the stomach. Instead, scramble up some eggs and make a fruit salad with debloating fruits like honeydew melon, pineapples, and papayas.
Want to lose 10, 20, even 30 pounds—all without dieting?! Get your copy of Eat This, Not That: The Best (& Worst) Foods in America!, and learn how to indulge smarter and lose weight fast!
8 Anti-Bloat Foods to Eat When You’re Feeling Puffy
By Keri Glassman, MS, RD
There is nothing worse (okay, this is a little dramatic, but it really sucks!) than feeling bloated. Enter: anti-bloat foods.
Whether you’re headed to Turks & Caicos, your ten-year reunion is three days away, or you’re simply at home watching Netflix, it doesn’t matter—bloat is something we want to avoid. Forget about how bloat looks on us, what’s worse is how it makes us feel.
I want you all to feel great, which is why we’re going to talk about what causes bloating and what to eat when you’re already bloated (AKA when it’s time to add “non-bloating foods” to your plate).
Why You’re Feeling Bloated
So, what is bloat, exactly?
A little nutrition 101 for you: Bloat is a buildup of gas in the abdomen, usually caused by digestion or swallowed air. Feeling bloated can result from an overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine. This bacteria ferments food, creating gas that causes bloating. In other words, you feel like you’ve been blown up like a balloon.
Water retention is similar to bloating. You know the feeling: You can’t get your rings on, and your eyes look like you’ve been in a brawl. This lovely (not!) feeling is usually caused by consuming foods high in salt (beware of processed foods). High levels of sodium cause your body to hold onto extra fluid.
Not only can bloating and water retention be uncomfortable and less than attractive, they can be downright painful. If you plan on debuting your new bikini but feel puffier than the Michelin Man, I’m here to help. My favorite anti-bloat foods can help with both of these troublesome problems.
What to Eat When You’re Feeling Bloated
Celery and Fennel
These crunchy veggies act as diuretics, helping you to flush out the excess water you’re retaining. (Buh-bye, bloating.) Toss celery in your salad for extra crunch or snack on some with spicy salsa. Roast fennel as a change from broccoli or make it the star of your next crudite.
This long and lean veggie has certain compounds that act like probiotics (healthy bacteria), which aid in digestion. Add some lemon juice and fire up the grill to turn these tasty veggies into an easy and slimming side dish. Another fave is to simply blanch ’em and use as an in-between-meals filler instead of carrot sticks.
This anti-inflammatory food also has anti-spasmodic qualities. Studies show that it has debloating properties too. Try grating it into your favorite marinade, topping a simple piece of grilled fish to add a little zing, or add it to your lemon water.
Peppermint, Ginger, or Chamomile Tea
These teas can help food to pass through the stomach and relieve gas. Sip on your choice of iced or hot tea with a slice or two of lemon or ginger. And make it a daily ritual.
Regardless of choosing whole-fat or low-fat (we recommend whole-fat!), yogurt gives you a dose of beneficial bacteria, which helps keep your digestion efficient. If you still you don’t like the idea of plain yogurt, get creative and add canned pumpkin, natural peanut butter, or shredded coconut.
This sweet treat has an enzyme called papain, which aids digestion and the breakdown of protein. Thinly slice this fruit and couple it with a thinly sliced piece of grilled chicken for a mini meal, or cut it into cubes and top with shredded coconut for a sweet treat.
Not just for piña coladas, this tropical fruit contains bromelain, a digestion-promoting enzyme. Toss some freshly sliced pineapple rings on a hot grill to dress up a chicken breast or eat them as a delish and healthy dessert.
Belly bloat is an issue we all deal with — and it’s pretty unpleasant. So, what can you do about it?
First, here’s what’s causing it: Bloat is a buildup of gas in the abdomen, usually caused by digestion or swallowed air. Feeling bloated can result from an overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine. This bacteria ferments food, creating gas that causes bloating. In other words, you feel like you’ve been blown up like a balloon.
You could also be experiencing belly bloat because your body is retaining water. This happens when you eat too much salt — high levels of sodium result in water retention. Not only can bloating and water retention be uncomfortable and less than attractive, it can be downright painful. Here is a meal plan to help you beat the bloat.
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Bob Harper and other experts rate top diets on Megyn Kelly TODAY
Jan. 3, 201809:34
Feel free to mix up these options throughout the week. There is enough variety that you won’t get bored!
1. Egg scramble: With leftover grilled salmon, asparagus, 1 teaspoon of dried basil and 1 cup of green tea
2. Two hard-boiled eggs: With steamed spinach, sliced tomatoes and 1 cup of dandelion root tea
3. Watermelon cucumber smoothie: With 1 cup of dandelion root tea
4. 1/3 cup of oats: With unsweetened almond milk, 1 tablespoon of peanut butter, cinnamon and 1 cup of green tea
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1. Spinach salad with lemon herb chicken: Dress with fig, raspberry or orange vinegar, 1 teaspoon of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of chopped pecans
2. Chopped romaine salad: With cucumbers, carrots, 4 to 6 ounces of steamed shrimp, 1/2 avocado and balsamic vinegar
3. Steamed asparagus and sliced fennel salad: Top with 2 teaspoons of olive oil, lemon and 4 to 6 ounces of poached chicken
4. Tuna salad: 1 cup of romaine lettuce, 1 plum tomato, 1/2 cup of artichoke hearts, 4 to 6 ounces of canned tuna in olive oil over a bed of greens
5. Greek yogurt marinated chicken: With tomato, cucumber salad and 1/3 avocado
1. Cod and sweet potato fries: With a large romaine lettuce salad with carrots, tomatoes and red bell peppers, dressed with a simple lemon dressing; roasted fennel and 4 to 6 ounces of baked cod
2. Dijon salmon: Add 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard on 4 to 6 ounces of salmon and top with 1 tablespoon of fresh parsley; bake at 350 for 10 minutes
3. Steak and potato: Grill 4 to 6 ounces of grass-fed steak, serve with roasted fennel and 1/2 baked sweet potato, with 1 teaspoon of coconut oil
4. Sweet potato plate: 1 small or 1/2 large sweet potato with 1 cup of sautéed spinach, 1 teaspoon of olive oil, 1/4 lemon and 4 ounces of grilled chicken
5. Pork tenderloin and bok choy: 2 cups of bok choy sautéed with 2 teaspoons of avocado oil, and served with 4 ounces of pork tenderloin, grilled
6. Green-tea marinated cod over lentil-currant salad: 4 ounces of cod filet, 1/3 cup of lentils and 1 cup of baby spinach
1. Gut health smoothie: 1/2 cup plain kefir, 1/2 cup papaya and 1/4 avocado
2. Sliced cucumbers: With 2 tablespoons of guacamole
Try this plan for a week and hopefully you’ll be feeling bloat-free by Sunday!
Coping with cancer
The medical name for a build up of fluid in the abdomen is ascites (pronounced ay-site-eez).
The tummy (abdomen) contains many organs, including the stomach, bowels, pancreas, liver, spleen and kidneys.
There is a sheet of tissue (peritoneum) around these organs. It is made up of 2 layers. One layer lines the wall of the abdomen. The other covers the organs.
The layers produce a small amount of fluid so that the organs in the abdomen can move smoothly.
Sometimes fluid builds up between the 2 layers, which makes the abdomen swell. This can be very uncomfortable.
This fluid build up is called ascites.
The causes of ascites
Cancers that can cause ascites include:
- ovarian cancer
- breast cancer
- bowel cancer
- stomach cancer
- pancreatic cancer
- mesothelioma in the peritoneum
- lung cancer
- liver cancer
- womb cancer
Fluid can build up when:
- cancer cells irritate the lining of the abdomen and make it produce too much fluid
- lymph glands in the abdomen get blocked and can’t drain fluid properly
- cancer has spread to the liver and raises the pressure in nearby blood vessels, which forces fluid out
- the liver can’t make enough blood proteins so fluid leaks out of veins into the abdominal cavity
Other conditions that can cause fluid in the abdomen include:
- liver disease
- heart disease
What are the symptoms of ascites?
The fluid causes swelling that can make the tummy feel tight and very uncomfortable. It often develops over a few weeks but might happen over a few days.
The fluid causes pressure on other organs in the abdominal area and may lead to:
- clothes feeling tighter or needing a bigger belt size
- abdominal pain
- back pain
- difficulty sitting comfortably and moving around
- loss of appetite
- needing to pass urine often
- tiredness and weakness (fatigue)
You might have tests to find the cause of the swelling.
Your doctor examines you and asks about your symptoms. They may also ask you to have:
- an ultrasound scan
- blood tests to check your general health and how well your liver and kidneys are working
- a CT scan
- a sample of the fluid taken from your abdomen to check for cancer cells or infection
Your doctor puts a needle into your abdomen to take a sample of fluid. They use an ultrasound scan to guide them. This can be uncomfortable but isn’t usually painful.
They use a syringe to draw out some fluid to send to the laboratory. In the lab, they examine it under a microscope to look for cancer cells.
- Drinking too much water in a day may lead to bloating. While it’s always very important to drink your eight glasses of water (eight ounces per glass) a day, it can be detrimental to your health to go severely over this number. Of course, you may need to drink more if you work out heavily or do a lot of manual labor, but even then, you shouldn’t go way over this volume of water in a day. Doing so may fill your stomach too much with water and may, in turn, make you feel and look much more bloated than you would otherwise. Cut back on the water if you notice this happening a lot.
- Drinking a lot of water with a big meal may lead to bloating. If you eat a lot and drink a lot at the same time, it’s simple: your stomach is going to be very full of both food and drink. And if this happens, you’re likely to feel bloated and much too full for comfort. This is why it’s important to eat slowly and drink slowly as well, and make sure you swallow your food before you stop to take a drink of water. By taking your time throughout a meal, you’ll be better able to digest properly and won’t get too full or cause yourself to get bloated, either.
- Some illnesses and medications can affect this as well. If you are sick with a stomach bug, you might find yourself getting more bloated when you drink water. And if you have a digestive disorder like IBS or something more serious like Crohn’s disease, this can also be a symptom. Medications may also make you feel bloated more easily and may cause your stomach to bloat up even when all you’ve had to drink is water. If you think the problem might be caused by a medication, speak to a pharmacist or to your doctor to find out more information and to see if you have any other options.
- You may get water intoxication from drinking too much water. This is rare, but it causes painful and severe bloating as well as vomiting. This condition can be deadly. Water intoxication is caused by drinking far too much water in a short amount of time. It overloads your body and causes you to get sick since your system is not able to process the water or waste in your body in enough time. It also throws your electrolytes out of whack completely. You may find yourself bloating up with no relief as an early sign of this condition, so be sure you get to a hospital if you think this might be what happened to you. You must be treated at a hospital if you have water intoxication.
Have you noticed swelling or bloating in your dog’s stomach? Stomach swelling in dogs can be a lethal emergency, or it could be caused by something simple, like overeating. One way you can make sure your dog stays in good health is by paying attention to any signs of stomach problems, so you can catch any larger issues before they advance.
At the same time, stomach swelling in dogs can be incredibly dangerous. Therefore, you should never attempt to diagnose your dog’s stomach issues yourself. As soon as you notice that your dog’s stomach is abnormally swollen or bloated, you should schedule an appointment with your chosen vet. A prompt diagnosis and treatment of abdominal problems could save your pet’s life.
Common Causes of Stomach Swelling in Dogs
There are many causes of stomach swelling in dogs. We will discuss some of the more popular causes, as well as ways to ease discomforts, while waiting for the vet.
Gastric Dilation and Volvulus or Bloat
One of the biggest emergencies for dogs is gastric dilation and volvulus (GDV). If left untreated, GDV can be deadly within hours. Bloat occurs when gas and food cause your dog’s stomach to stretch. Gastric dilation and volvulus occurs when your dog’s bloated stomach rotates with gas trapped inside, causing the stomach to lose blood flow.
GDV is incredibly painful, and there is no singular cause of GDV. However, it is thought to mostly be caused by swallowing excessive air and intense exercising after a meal. Other risk-factors of gastric dilation and volvulus in dogs, include:
- Only feeding your dog one meal a day
- Using elevated food and water bowls
- Genetic history of bloat
- Consuming food too fast
- Deep-chested breeds, like Great Danes, St. Bernards, and Weimaraners. Most dogs over 99 pounds have a 20% higher risk of developing bloat.
- Dogs between the ages 7-12 years
Dogs suffering from GDV often exhibit whining, having a hard time defecating, having a weak pulse, or using abnormal posture, like curling in a ball or crouching position.
If your dog is suffering from bloat, it requires prompt attention. Treating bloat may require decompressing the stomach to relieve excess gas, managing shock, and steadying the heart rate. Once your dog’s heart rate is stable, we will be able to perform surgery. If you notice that your dog’s stomach looks distended, or if she seems uncomfortable, don’t delay on getting to the vet, because it could be a veterinary emergency.
As we mentioned earlier, the exact cause of bloat is not known, which can make it difficult to prevent. However, there are some things you can do to minimize the risk, including:
- Feeding your dog two or more meals a day
- Feeding your dog canned food
- Allowing your dog to rest after a full meal by avoiding exercise with a full stomach
Peritonitis Causes Stomach Swelling
Another common condition that causes stomach swelling in dog is an infection called peritonitis. This is a serious infection that occurs when the dog’s stomach or intestine becomes punctured, generally due to bone splinters, tumors, ulcers, or other causes. Gallbladder and urinary bladder ruptures can also cause peritonitis.
Peritonitis is extremely painful for dogs, which can make it easier to detect than bloat. Your dog might appear reluctant to move, throwing up or vomiting, have a swollen stomach, or appear lethargic. Emergency veterinary treatment of peritonitis is imperative, since it will most likely lead to shock. Treatment of this condition will include IV therapy, antibiotics, and medication for pain relief. We will also need to perform surgery to repair any ruptures, remove infected fluid, and flush out the abdomen.
Cushing’s Syndrome and Stomach Bloat
Does you dog have a pot belly? This could be caused by a condition called Cushing’s syndrome, which is caused by an overabundance of the cortisol hormone, also known as the “stress hormone.” Cushing’s syndrome is more common in dogs over the age of 6, and it is generally accompanied with eating, drinking, and urinating more frequently, as well as excess panting and hair loss.
Fluid can accumulate in your dog’s stomach, leading to a condition called ascites. Fluid accumulation can occur from intestinal diseases, heart failure, tumors, liver failure, or kidney disorders. Sometimes stomach swelling can occur in puppies with severe roundworm infections.
Tips for Preventing Stomach Problems in Dogs
One way to prevent stomach problems in your dog is by making sure that you take her for regular vet checkups, so we can catch any lung, stomach, bowel, or heart problems before they get out of hand and lead to something more severe. You can also perform routine assessments to try to detect any symptoms of stomach problems. When feeling your dog’s abdomen, search for lumps, heat, stickiness, swelling, or tenderness to touch. If you recognize any abnormalities in your dog’s abdomen, schedule an appointment with the vet immediately.
Are you worried that your dog might be suffering from abdominal swelling? Schedule an appointment at Care Animal Hospital in Temecula today at 951-676-4690.
24 Best Foods That Help With Bloating
Fact is, feeling gassy is nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, upwards of 15 percent of American adults suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) symptoms—a brain-gut disorder that leads to abdominal pain, gas and bloating—according to the American Gastroenterological Association. But gas isn’t the only culprit when your pants seem to be snugger than they were just a day or two before. Water retention and constipation are also among the usual suspects. Whatever the culprit, bloating can make your weight loss victories invisible.
The good news is that these types of bloating are usually tied to how you eat and what foods you eat when bloated, which means that a few simple changes can ease your discomfort and help you lose weight along the way. We found the best foods that help with bloating so you can finally find some relief. And for more IBS-soothing strategies, check out these 37 IBS Remedies That Will Change Your Life!
If sluggish bowels are your problem, researchers say high-fiber kiwifruit may be the kick you’re looking for. A study by researchers in Pacific Asia found that Irritable Bowel Syndrome sufferers who ate two kiwi a day for four weeks had less constipation and a general lessening of IBS symptoms than those who didn’t.
Mint has been used for centuries to aid digestion and tame troubled tummies, and now there’s research to back it up. A recent study among IBS sufferers found supplementing with peppermint oil for just four weeks reduced their symptoms by half—a result researchers attribute to mint’s ability to activate an “anti-pain” channel in the colon, which soothes inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract. As a bonus, research suggests the aromatic may also serve as a mild appetite suppressant. We’re such a fan of tea, we’ve made it the centerpiece of our best-selling new 7-Day Flat-Belly Tea Cleanse! Test participants lost four inches from their waists!
This orangey spice is best known for spicing up Indian fare, but it may also calm down an upset stomach. Researchers attribute the anti-inflammatory properties of the bright-orange spice to the compound curcumin. A Digestive Diseases and Sciences study found that patients with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative proctitis who were treated with 360 milligrams of curcumin three times daily for one month and then four times daily for the next two months all resulted in self-reported improvement in symptoms as well as reduced inflammation levels.
Hold the Pepto-Bismol and garnish your meals with cilantro instead. Research shows the herb’s unique blend of oils (specifically, linalool and geranyl acetate) work like over-the-counter meds to relax digestive muscles and alleviate an “overactive” gut. A study published in the journal Digestive Diseases and Science found that patients with IBS benefited from supplementing with an herbal medicine that contained coriander extract (also known as cilantro) as opposed to placebo. When eating out, avoid the salt and lose weight by opting for one of these low-sodium fast food orders!
The word kefir has origins in the Turkish word “keif,” which translates to “good feeling,” which makes the Middle Eastern milk product a feel-good food by definition. It’s kind of like a tangy drinkable yogurt, that—like yogurt—contains lactase, an enzyme that breaks down lactose, the dominant sugar in milk that gives lots of people tummy trouble. A study by Ohio State University found that drinking kefir reduced lactose digestion symptoms—including bloating, stomach pain and gas—by 70 percent.
Used for thousands of years to ease queasy tummies and aid digestion, you’ll find mentions of ginger in Chinese medical texts from the fourth century BC! Researchers circa 2010 say ginger acts as a muscle relaxant, which may help the body to more easily expel gas. You can get your ginger fix in a variety of forms, though fresh ginger is richest in gingerol—the compound that contributes to many of the spice’s health benefits. Keep blasting fat and watch this video with essential exercises and the guaranteed eating habits for abs.
If you’re holding onto water, snacking on a wedge of honeydew melon is a do, honey. Research suggests a compound found in muskmelon (which is similar to a cantaloupe) called Cucumis melo boasts significant diuretic properties and can be used to treat edema—the medical term for swelling. And while the fruit helps flush excess water from your system, it also acts as a natural electrolyte replacement due to its high potassium levels.
Sauerkraut, pickles, and tempeh — these tasty Korean staples are another example of a fermented food that’s brimming with probiotics to help boost digestive-tract-healing, bloat-reducing gut bacteria.
According to American College of Gastroenterology, rice and rice flour make a good substitute for starches such as wheat, oats, corn and potatoes. Why? Because the small intestines are where rice is digested. That means it has less potential to form unsightly and uncomfortable gases in the gut. Start your morning with a bit, along with these best breakfast foods for weight loss.
Excess water weight around your middle? Drink more water! It sounds counterintuitive, but drinking water actually helps your body rid itself of excess fluid. If you’re not hydrating enough, your body holds on to the water it has. Drinking H2O can feel monotonous, but by squeezing some lemon juice into it, you’ll not only make it a more pleasurable but you’ll increase its diuretic effect. Alternatively, you can drink hot water with slices of ginger in it. Or sip on one of these detox water recipes to reduce bloating.
Apple Cider Vinegar
It can be used to make a fruit fly trap, but it’s also handy for getting your body to let go of unneeded fluids. Just to add it to water and drink it down — just a little bit ought to do the trick.
It’ll make your pee smell funny, but more importantly, it’ll make you pee more. Asparagus is a particularly nutritious vegetable that happens to be a diuretic food. (Incidentally, that “asparagus pee” smell is caused by an acid found within the asparagus that reacts in a certain way.)
Vampires aren’t the only unwanted element garlic wards off. This distinctively fragrant food is also a diuretic in its whole, powdered or pill form. But you don’t have to eat clove after clove of garlic to reap the benefits. The regular amount that you use in your cooking should be enough to have an effect on your bloated belly.
Cukes are made up mostly of water. That’s why they’re a part of so many detox recipes. They’ll give your urinary system a boost and can be used to help with diabetes, weight loss, and even cancer. Why? Well, cucumbers contain antioxidants and minerals the body needs daily to keep functioning at its best.
Want something to chew on? Swap out your gum for nutrient-rich sunflower seeds. When you chew gum, you swallow air. All that air gets trapped in your GI tract and causes pressure, bloating and belly expansion. Speaking of seeds, don’t miss these best chia seed recipes!
To get the bloat-blasting effect of tomatoes, it’s best to eat them in their raw form or even blending them to make a fresh tomato juice. To increase the diuretic effect and improve the flavor, you can add carrots or watermelon. Containing large amounts of the antioxidant lycopene, tomatoes are one of the healthiest foods you can eat. In several studies, they’ve been shown to help battle cancer and prevent heart disease.
If there’s a kernel of truth to the idea that drinking cranberry juice can be good for a urinary tract infection, it’s because of its diuretic effect. The nice feature of cranberry juice is that it doesn’t mess with your potassium levels. Potassium helps prevent your body from retaining water because of the sodium you consume. Click here for more of the best supplements for women!
Full of vitamin C, cabbage is an amazing diuretic. One great way to unlock its bloat beating power is to make a cabbage soup. This entails chopping or shredding the cabbage so it’s easier to eat, then cooking it until it’s very tender. The trick is to not use too much salt. The extra sodium will reduce the diuretic effect.
Juice them, roast them, add them to salads or snack on the baby variety — no matter how you slice them, carrots are a natural diuretic and a good idea if having a svelte middle is your goal.
Artichokes can have a powerful diuretic effect, and in some instances can rival the effects of prescription medication. But that’s not all. Artichokes are also good for the digestive system. It’s a bloat-beating double whammy. They’re also packed with vitamins and minerals, so you’re nourishing the body and optimizing its functions while helping rid it of excess fluid.
The enzyme papain, contained in papaya, helps break down proteins in your GI tract, which makes digestion easier and make you less susceptible to gassy bloat. This tropical fruit also has anti-inflammatory properties, as well as high fiber content which is great for getting bloat causing waste out of your system.
Fennel seeds contain a compound that relaxes GI spasms, which allows gas to pass and relieve bloating. Chew on the seeds directly or sip on a fennel tea at the end of a meal.
Pineapple contains potassium — an important part of any anti-bloat diet — but it also contains bromelain. Bromelain is an enzyme that aids in the digestion of proteins. Most of the bromelain in pineapple is in the stem which is not as tasty as the flesh but if you can blend or juice the bloat-beating stem with the sweeter flesh.
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Which foods are good for constipation?
Everyone’s bowels respond to foods differently, but the following healthful, natural foods can help to relieve constipation:
Dehydration is a common cause of constipation, and drinking plenty of water can often help to ease or resolve the symptoms.
When a person becomes dehydrated, their intestines cannot add enough water to stools. This results in hard, dry, and lumpy stools and can lead to constipation.
2. Yogurt and kefir
Share on PinterestProbiotics may help to improve gut health.
Many dairy products, including yogurt and kefir, contain microorganisms known as probiotics.
Probiotics are often called “good” bacteria, and they may help to improve gut health and soften stools.
In a 2014 study, researchers investigated the use of an unflavored probiotic yogurt containing polydextrose, Lactobacillus acidophilus, and Bifidobacterium lactis to treat constipation.
The researchers found that eating 180 milliliters of this yogurt each morning for 2 weeks shortened the time it took waste to move through the bowels in people with chronic constipation.
Most beans, lentils, chickpeas, and peas are very high in fiber, which is a nutrient that promotes good digestion and reduces constipation.
A 2017 study found that 100 grams (g) of cooked pulses provides around 26 percent of the daily fiber intake recommended in the U.S.
A 100 g serving of pulses also contains substantial quantities of other nutrients that help to ease constipation, such as potassium, folate, zinc, and vitamin B6.
4. Clear soups
Clear soups are nutritious and easy to digest. They also add moisture to hard, dense stools, which can soften them, making them easier to pass.
Warm liquids and foods are also generally easier to digest.
Prunes and prune juice are a time-tested home remedy for constipation in many parts of the world.
Prunes contain a lot of fiber, a nutrient known to ease and speed up bowel movements. Prunes also contain sorbitol and phenolic compounds that may have gastrointestinal benefits.
A 2014 review concluded that eating prunes may increase the frequency of bowel movements and improve stool consistency in people with constipation.
In most of the studies included in the review, the participants ate 100 g of prunes daily, or about 10 prunes.
6. Wheat bran
Wheat bran is another popular home remedy for constipation. It is rich in insoluble fiber, which can speed up the flow of materials through the intestines.
A 2013 study found that eating a breakfast cereal containing wheat bran every day for 2 weeks improved bowel function and reduced constipation in healthy women who did not usually eat much fiber.
Broccoli contains sulforaphane, a substance that may protect the gut and ease digestion.
Sulforaphane may also help to prevent the overgrowth of some intestinal microorganisms that can interfere with healthy digestion.
In a 2017 study, healthy people ate either 20 g of raw broccoli sprouts or 20 g of alfalfa sprouts every day for 4 weeks. The researchers found that the people who ate broccoli sprouts had fewer symptoms of constipation and quicker bowel movements.
8. Apples and pears
Apples and pears contain several compounds that improve digestion, including fiber, sorbitol, and fructose.
These fruits also contain high levels of water, which can help to ease digestion and prevent constipation.
To get the most benefit from apples and pears, eat them raw and whole, with the skin intact.
Grapes have a high skin-to-flesh ratio, which means that they are rich in fiber, and they also contain a lot of water.
To ease constipation, try eating a few handfuls of raw, washed grapes.
On average, 100 g of kiwi contains around 2–3 g of fiber, which can add bulk to stools and speed up the intestinal flow.
Kiwis also contain actinidine, an enzyme that promotes movement in the upper gastrointestinal tract, and several phytochemicals that may play a role in improving digestion.
11. Blackberries and raspberries
Blackberries and raspberries are rich in fiber and water, which can both ease constipation.
Try eating a handful or two of raw, washed blackberries or raspberries a day.
12. Whole wheat breads, cereals, and pastas
Whole wheat products are an excellent source of insoluble fiber, which adds weight to stools and speeds up the flow of materials through the intestines.
To get the most nutrients from whole wheat products, eat them raw or lightly cooked.
Whole wheat breads and cereals that also contain nuts and seeds pack even more fiber into each serving.
13. Olive and flaxseed oils
Share on PinterestOlive oil can ease the flow of materials through the intestines.
Olive and flaxseed oils have a mild laxative effect, which can ease the flow of materials through the intestines and relieve constipation.
These oils also contain compounds that improve digestion and have antioxidant, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties.
A 2015 study found that olive and flaxseed oils help to relieve constipation in people undergoing hemodialysis.
Sauerkraut contains probiotic bacteria that may help to improve digestion and reduce constipation.
These bacteria may also boost immune function and the digestion of lactose.
A 2016 study found that 2 tablespoons of homemade sauerkraut contain around the same amount of bacteria as probiotic supplements.
The Best and Worst Foods for Bloating
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.
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Worst: Broccoli, cabbage, kale
Kale, broccoli, and cabbage are cruciferous vegetables, which contain raffinose — a sugar that remains undigested until bacteria in your gut ferment it, which produces gas and, in turn, makes you bloat. But don’t shun those healthful greens just yet. “Consistently eating nutrient-rich, high-fiber foods leads to having a stronger, healthier digestive system that’s less prone to bloating,” Sass says.
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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.
It’s probably not news to you, but beans, along with lentils, soybeans, and peas are gas-causing foods. These little guys are basically bursts of protein in a pod, but they also contain sugars and fibers that our bodies can’t absorb. So when legumes reach the large intestine, your gut bacteria take the lead and feast on them. This process leads to gas and can balloon out your waist.
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.
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If you feel gassy after a few slices of cheese or a bowl of cereal with milk, you may be lactose intolerant, which means your body lacks the necessary enzymes to break down lactose (the sugar found in dairy products). That can cause gas to form in the GI tract, which may trigger bloating.
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.
An apple a day may save you a trip to the doctor’s office, but it does not keep the bloat away. High in fiber, apples also contain fructose and sorbitol, sugars found in fruits that many people can’t tolerate, Sass says. The result? You guessed it: gas and the inevitable puffy feeling.
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
Eating high-sodium foods can trigger water retention, which can balloon you up, Sass says. Avoiding sodium isn’t as simple as steering clear of the saltshaker, however. The CDC reports that about 90% of Americans consume more sodium than is recommended for a healthy diet (2,300 mg per day for most people, and 1,500 mg for adults over 50, and people with diabetes, high blood pressure, and high risk of hypertension). Sodium sneaks its way into most processed and packaged foods, including soups, breads, and these other surprisingly salty foods. That makes it very difficult to avoid. When and if you do succumb to salt, drink a lot of water to help flush it out.
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People use cucumbers to reduce puffiness under their eyes—and you can eat them to do the same thing for your belly. The vegetable contains quercetin, a flavonoid antioxidant that helps reduce swelling, says Sass.
“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.
Foods rich in potassium—like bananas, plus avocados, kiwis, oranges, and pistachios—prevent water retention by regulating sodium levels in your body and can thus reduce salt-induced bloating. Bananas also have soluble fiber, which can relieve or prevent constipation.
“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.”
The enzyme contained in papaya (papain) helps break down proteins in your GI system, which makes digestion easier. Sass says that the tropical fruit also has anti-inflammatory properties, as well as fibers that support a strong digestive tract.
Eat papaya whole and fresh or blended into a smoothie
Asparagus is an anti-bloating superfood. Sure, it makes your urine smell, but it also makes you pee, period—helping you flush all that excess water, thus relieving any discomfort and bloat.
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.
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Best: Yogurt with probiotics
Get some of those good bacteria into your gut! Called probiotics, they help regulate digestion and champion the overall health of your digestive tract. Sure, you can take probiotic supplements, but you may as well get a breakfast out of it.
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
Fennel is a digestive tract savior. The seeds have a compound that relaxes GI spasms, which allows gas to pass and relieve bloating, says Sass.
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.
Ginger is a go-to home remedy for colds, achy muscles, cramps, and seasickness. Add bloating to the list—ginger is a natural anti-inflammatory and an all-star digestive aid. It soothes the digestive system and relaxes the muscles of the digestive tract, which can relieve bloating, Sass says. It also contains an enzyme that absorbs proteins, thus reducing protein-induced puffiness and gas.
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.
Best: Peppermint and chamomile tea
If you’re feeling stretched out after dinner, you can sip on a hot cup of peppermint or chamomile tea. Both kinds relax GI muscles to help dissipate the gas that causes your stomach to bloat. Aside from improving digestion, chamomile can also soothe and relax, which can help ease any sort of stomach discomfort.
This article originally appeared on Health.com.
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