What is bloating?
Belly bloat is a frustrating part of life, but it is something almost every person deals with. You may notice your stomach being softer and flatter when you wake up. Then, after a meal or two, your belly is firmer, feeling full and sticking out further than when you woke up.
While bloating is frustrating, it’s not considered a serious health condition. However, there are foods and drinks you can try to help relieve bloating and some foods and beverages that would be best to avoid.
You bloat when your gastrointestinal tract fills with gas or air. Bloating can cause stomach pains, gas, and gurgling in your belly. You may also be retaining water when bloating.
Bloating often includes the feeling of a full stomach. You may think your stomach looks bigger, but bloating doesn’t always distend your belly. If you are bloating, you may also feel like you are gassier or are more sensitive to other stomach problems. Other symptoms of bloating include abdominal pain, diarrhea, and constipation.
Talk to your doctor if you’re experiencing the following, severe symptoms and notice they occur when you’re bloated:
- Unexplained weight loss
There’s often no specific cause of bloating. There could be many reasons, though the most common cause is eating too fast and swallowing too much air. Some other potential causes may include:
- A bacterial imbalance
- Overeating fiber
- Not eating enough
- Some antibiotics
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Chronic constipation
22 foods that help relieve bloating fast
There’s not a cure-all to completely rid your body of bloat. However, there are foods you can eat to help prevent or reduce bloating.
Fruits like strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries are full of fiber. They make a sweet snack and are a better alternative to sweets that can cause bloating.
This fruit, like apples, is full of potassium and fiber. This fiber can help reduce bloat.
Apples are high in potassium and help your body balance fluids. Apples are also high in fiber, which helps reduce constipation. A specific fiber, pectin, is found in apples and helps digestion, preventing bloating.
Asparagus is a good source of fiber. This vegetable also contains inulin, a prebiotic that helps improve digestive health.
This fruit is full of potassium and fiber, making it helpful in preventing bloating.
Celery is primarily made up of water and is excellent for preventing bloating caused by dehydration. The foot of celery is also a natural diuretic that helps remove extra fluids from your body.
Cucumbers are also made mostly of water and have the same benefits as celery.
Beta-glucan is a type of fiber found in oats. This fiber has anti-inflammatory properties that help fight bloat.
Pineapples are filled with a variety of vitamins. This fruit has a bromelain enzyme that helps reduce inflammation and prevent bloating.
Quinoa is a gluten-free grain that’s rich in fiber. This fiber helps boost digestion and reduce bloating. Quinoa is excellent for people with a gluten intolerance.
Rhubarb is full of fiber and also contains sennoside. Sennoside helps stimulate your bowels and can treat constipation-related bloating.
Yogurt is full of probiotics and helps keep your digestive system healthy. These probiotics are great for reducing bloat.
Other foods you can eat to relieve bloating include:
3 drinks that help relieve bloating fast
Staying hydrated is one of the most important ways to reduce bloating. There are certain drinks and broths that can particularly help reduce bloat.
Green tea is full of health benefits, and drinking this tea frequently can be quite beneficial. There are many antioxidants in green tea that help reduce inflammation in your digestive tract. Such inflammation, if unchecked, can be linked to bloating.
Peppermint or chamomile tea
Green tea isn’t the only tea that helps reduce bloating, though. Peppermint tea and chamomile tea are both great for relieving bloat. These two teas are also great comforting teas that can be used to relieve a sore throat or help you relax at the end of the night. Their low caffeine content makes them a good option morning, noon, or night.
Drinking water throughout the day is a great way to stay hydrated and cleanse your body of extra salt and water that can cause bloating. There are many suggestions for the right amount of water to drink daily, but aiming for between 48 to 64 ounces is a good goal for most people.
Tips for preventing bloating
Certain types of food can cause gas and bloat, so you should either try to limit how much you eat of them or remove them from your diet. Foods like beans, for instance, can cause gas and cause your belly to bloat.
Certain vegetables like artichokes, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and Brussel sprouts have components that cause gas and bloating. While adding vegetables to your diet is vital for a well-rounded meal, there are better options to add if you wish to avoid bloat.
Carbonated drinks add extra air and bubbles in your stomach, causing you to feel uncomfortably gassy and bloated. Wine and dark beer can also make you bloated. Sugar-free candies and gums contain sorbitol, which replaces sugar but affects your digestive tract, causing bloat.
Reduce dairy products because the lactose in cheese, milk, and other foods can cause an upset stomach, filling your stomach with gas and air.
Other ways to reduce bloating involve changing the way you eat and drink. If possible, avoid using straws for drinking beverages. They allow extra air to be swallowed, a big contributor to bloating. When eating, slow down and chew with your mouth closed. This helps reduce air getting into your stomach.
Choose mints without sorbitol instead of gum. The act of chewing gum allows extra air to be swallowed.
By choosing the foods listed above over those you should avoid, you can help improve your digestive system and reduce an upset, bloated stomach. Being more mindful of how you eat is also helpful when it comes to reducing bloating fast.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
American Family Physician: "Gas, Bloating, and Belching."
Beaufort Memorial: "13 Foods That Reduce Bloating."
Brigham and Women's Hospital: "Gas: Beat The Bloat."
IFFGD: "Controlling Intestinal Gas."
Sutter Health: "How to Reduce Gas and a Bloated Belly."
Temple Health: "5 Common Causes of Bloating and How to Relieve the Discomfort at Home."
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Why Am I So Gassy and Bloated?Bloating is a feeling that your abdomen is distended or larger than normal, but it does not necessarily mean that it is. Gas (flatulence) also can be a problem if you are bloated. Common, less serious causes of bloating are eating too fast, too much, or too many fatty foods; swallowing air; pregnancy; and menstruation. Cancer and IBD (ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease) are examples of the more serious causes of bloating. Examples of foods and drinks that cause bloating are high-fiber foods if you don't eat them regularly; eventually the bloating and gassiness will resolve if you eat them on a regular basis; fatty greasy foods, dairy products (for example, cheese, ice cream, milk, and yogurt); foods high in salt (for example, processed, frozen, and canned foods), and artificial sweeteners. Some doctors and other health care professionals recommend natural remedies like chamomile or peppermint tea or pumpkin to relieve bloating. Examples of OTC medicine (medicine available without a prescription) and other products that may relieve bloating and gassiness are, Gas-X, Beano, Pepto Bismol, Metamucil, probiotics, and Ex-Lax for constipation associated with bloating. If you have persistent or severe gas and bloating, and if you have any of these symptoms see a doctor or other health care professional, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, chest pain, bloody diarrhea, fever, or if you think you are or may be pregnant.