You know that uncomfortable bloating feeling after a good meal? The one that sets you four months pregnant; stomach full of a mixture of hard gas and fluid, followed by nasty cramps.
Yep, you can admit to it. No, you shouldn’t be embarrassed. It happens to all of us.
Learning how to beat the bloat, however, is something we could all do better. Read below to find out the best foods to debloat your stomach naturally.
Bloating retains all the food and liquid you’ve consumed, and this is why it feels so uncomfortable. So, bloat reducing foods/drinks should push fluids/food particles out. This is where lemons can help.
A natural diuretic, lemons remove fluids from the body. They also behave as a gentle laxative when added to warm water, thereby reducing salt in the body (a common culprit for long-lasting distention).
Having sliced lemon in warm water first thing in the morning will help to wake up your metabolic system, although avoid having the drink directly after a meal. The fast-acting gentle laxative effect could cause inflammation if the body is already part-way through digesting a large meal.
Other diuretic fruits to beat the bloat: oranges, watermelon, cranberries.
If your belly often feels sloshy and over-saturated, you’re probably suffering from fluid retention. This is your body holding onto water so you don’t dehydrate.
Detoxifying foods, like celery, help to counteract the effects of fluid retention.
With its high water content, celery is one of the best for purging the body of toxins, clinging onto the nasties and flushing them out of your system. A stick or two of celery with a meal or as a healthy snack should help to keep fluid levels in balance.
Other detoxifying vegetables to beat the bloat: cucumber, asparagus, leafy greens.
High sodium levels are the cause of a lot of swelling in the abdomen. They’re also the reason you feel twinges of discomfort, as sodium gradually erodes the stomach lining – also known as ‘gastritis pain’.
If this sounds familiar, you need to consume more potassium. Potassium helps kidneys to flush out excess salt, making your bloat more manageable. And as we all know, bananas are high in the stuff. Bananas are also high in soluble fibre, which can boost digestion (and relieve constipation).
Related: How to Better Support Gut Health
Add to a smoothie in the morning to kickstart your day with a healthy gut and, if you have a sweet tooth, consider adding to desserts to balance out those sodium levels after a hearty meal.
Other high potassium foods to beat the bloat: avocados, oranges, kiwis.
Dairy is usually pretty harsh on your digestive system. That’s because many people don’t have the enzymes in their body to break down lactose (the sugar in dairy), thus causing that hard gas you know and loathe.
Having said this, low-lactose dairy won’t cause bloating. In fact, it can reduce the effects of bloating if you choose the probiotic stuff.
That’s because probiotics balance the good and bad bacteria in the gut, abating unruly inflammation as it acts. High probiotic yogurts include the slow-churned, thick, cultured kinds like Skyr and Fage. You can also usually spot them because they have ‘high protein’ on the front.
A breakfast of muesli and high probiotic yogurt is an awesome debloater, while a few tablespoons of the stuff after a meal could ease tummy tightness.
Other low lactose dairy products to beat the bloat: kefir, quark, goat’s milk.
We’ve only skimmed the surface on foods that prevent bloating in this article. You can find out more about how to protect your gut and look after your digestive system by searching for ‘gut’, ‘FODMAPs’ and ‘IBS’ in the search bar to the right.