We’ve all had those “I feel so bloated” days, maybe after a big meal washed down with our favorite soda or even a healthy salad with milk. Both can cause a swollen, tight feeling in our belly.
Bloating can leave us with pain and discomfort, but it can also make us feel lethargic and self-conscious.
Don’t fret—we can do something about this condition simply by being mindful of what we eat, like making a list of the best and worst foods for bloating.
Bloating after meals is normal. When food is hard to digest—like some fruits and vegetables—it stays in the stomach longer. There, it ferments and causes gas to form.
The gas will usually pass, so there’s no need to swear off healthy vegetables. Just eat these kinds of food at dinner, for example, instead of before a big presentation. Here’s a list of bloat-causing food so that you can plan your meals around your day.
Foods that Cause Bloating
There are many benefits to eating beans. Do you know that beans are high in fiber, which causes bloating and gas?
The good news is that your body can adapt to digesting beans if you eat a serving of beans every day. It takes time for your body to adjust to this, so if you have a big event this weekend, we suggest you skip the beans for now.
2. Canned Vegetables, Sauces, and Soups
Do you know what makes canned goods taste so good and last for so long? Salt.
High sodium food makes your body retain water so you’ll swell not just in your belly but possibly your face and hands and feet as well. One way to get around this is to wash your canned food before cooking or eating to lessen its sodium content.
3. Anything Sugar-Free
Sweets made without sugar uses an alternative sweetener, either sorbitol, mannitol, and xylitol. These sugar alcohols aren’t digested well by our bodies causing fermentation in the intestinal tract. The gas formed by this process can lead to bloating, cramps, or even diarrhea. If you must eat sugar-free gum, choose the one with xylitol, which is tolerated most by our system.
4. Carbonated Drinks
Carbonated drinks are full of air bubbles. The more you drink, the more air you ingest, leading to a distended belly.
5. Coffee with Milk
Coffee is acidic which can cause trouble with an already acidic stomach. Most people are also lactose intolerant so adding milk to coffee (or to your diet) can cause swelling.
What to Eat to Prevent Bloating
We promised to tell you the best and worst foods for bloating. Now you know what to avoid, it’s time to know what you should stock up on!
Aside from being really delicious, artichokes speed up digestion and help prevent constipation.
Ginger helps decrease the time your food stays in your gut, which means there’s less chance it’ll have to go through fermentation. Ginger is also anti-inflammatory so it calms down your system.
3. Fennel Seeds
Fennel seeds help relax your GI tract, making it more likely that the air you consume with your food will pass through with no trouble. Fennel seeds are easy to add to your diet—just sprinkle it on your food or drink as a tea.
If you’re one of those who can’t get enough of salmon, then good news for you. Salmon is full of fatty acids that help tame inflammation. So yes to sushi, baked salmon, grilled salmon, and have a lot of it!
Asparagus is a great source of prebiotics, which promotes proper digestion and keeps you from getting bloated.
Magnesium is your best friend when it comes to combat bloating. It puts fluids into your intestines which will loosen stool and help make sure gas doesn’t build up in your stomach.
Things You Can Do to Avoid Bloating
Aside from knowing the best and worst foods for bloating, here are a few tricks to keep the bloat away.
1. Chew slowly
Chewing your food slowly and more thoroughly means the food that reaches your stomach is already partially digested by saliva. As a result, your meal takes up less space on your GI tract.
2. Get enough rest
When we lack sleep, our bodies release more stress hormones known as cortisol. When stress levels are high, our digestive systems become less efficient, causing bloating and constipation.
3. Ditch the straw and skip the gum
Both drinking from a straw and chewing gum cause you to ingest air. The more air you have in your belly, the more bloated you’ll feel.
4. Cook your veggies
Raw food is harder to digest, making its time in your digestive tract longer, causing fermentation.
5. Get moving
When you stay in one position for a significant amount of time, your digestion slows down dramatically. This can cause constipation, which will make you feel bloated.
Make these incremental lifestyle changes and make sure you keep the best and worst foods for bloating in mind to say goodbye to bloating!
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.