Pretty much all of us have been there, felt that. You know, that puffy, uncomfortable feeling that makes you feel unlike yourself.
“Bloating doesn't have a single definition,” explains Ashley Reaver, R.D., a registered dietitian at Ashley Reaver Nutrition LLC in Oakland, California. “You can feel bloated from gas, or you can feel heavy or sluggish due to excess water being stored in the body.”
Struggling to cook healthy? We'll help you prep.
This makes it challenging to determine the cause, and as a result, fighting bloat can be an elusive battle. But these pro tips from Reaver and Michelle Hyman, M.S., R.D., C.D.N., a registered dietitian at Simple Solutions Weight Loss might help you pinpoint the culprit(s):
Write every bite.
“Consider keeping a food and gastrointestinal record to try to make connections between what you ate and uncomfortable symptoms, such as bloating,” Hyman says. Some may feel more bloated after downing anything with dairy, while others might puff right up after eating something sweetened with sugar alcohols.
Don’t overdo it on salt.
“Excessive sodium intake can also result in feeling ‘puffy’ the next day,” Hyman says. Try to eat less than 2300mg
Chew gum? Take a break.
We swallow extra air when chewing gum, which may contribute to that bloated feeling.
Don’t eat much dairy, salt, sodium, or chew gum? “If it’s hard to pinpoint any specific foods, take note of the environment in which you are eating. Being stressed at the time of a meal can cause bloating,” Reaver says. Any type of stress—be it emotional, mental, or physical—can trigger a fight or flight response that diverts blood away from the digestive process towards the muscles and the brain. “When there is less blood flow to the digestive tract, the digestive process slows causing foods to linger in the gastrointestinal tract for longer. This can cause discomfort and bloating.” (P.S.: Here’s how to not eat your stress.)
Time your meals right.
“Don’t wait too long between meals. Long periods—usually more than 5 to 6 hours—without food throughout the day can cause the same stress response. In turn, if you are starving because you haven't eaten in hours and eat a large volume of food, your slowed-down digestive function will produce even more bloating.
Trust your gut.
“It's also helpful to pay attention to your hunger and fullness cues,” Hyman says. “Eating past the point of satiety can leave you feeling stuffed.”
More scoop about belly bloat:
- The Unexpected Reason You Could Be Bloated—Plus, How to Fix It
- 13 Vegetables That Will Make You Gassy
- Ate Too Much? Here’s How to Feel Better ASAP
Now that you know how to spot the potential cause, it’s time to talk solutions!
First, “water is the best antidote,” Reaver says. So sip on a Raspberry-Lime Infused Water as you check out three of the best edible ingredients to combat bloating.
The Best Foods to Fight Bloating
“Pineapple naturally contains enzymes that may help with digestion,” Hyman says. Plus, since this tropical fruit is 87 percent water and has more than 2 grams of fiber per cup, it can help keep you regular and keep your GI tract in tip-top shape. Enjoy it cubed as a snack or in one of our best pineapple recipes.
In addition to being rich in appetite-taming protein, “yogurt contains probiotics that support healthy gut bacteria,” Hyman says, which can coax your digestive system into processing food more efficiently.
Just be sure to ease your way in. Increasing your probiotic intake rapidly can actually have the exact opposite effect—causing bloating—so stick to edible probiotics (rather than supplements), and add just one serving to your daily meal plan.
Warm up your menu with this flavorful root.
“Ginger is anti-inflammatory and may help relax muscles of the digestive tract,” Hyman says. Try it in a fruit salad, juiced (yep, you can do that!), or in one of our 100+ ways to cook with ginger.
The Recipe That Contains Them All
These foods that fight bloating can all be enjoyed in the Indian-inspired drink recipe below, or try them as sides or snacks paired with sources of fat and protein to sustain you longer. “Fresh fruit on the side of eggs and avocado or ginger and yogurt mixed with oatmeal for breakfast are a great way to increase your intake,” Reaver says. Personally, we're ready to kick back and cool down with this lassi.
View Recipe: Pineapple Lassi
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