Bloated: Foods to Avoid and Foods to Take

Ever felt that too much air after a meal? Where on earth did it really come from?  According to Brigham and Women’s Hospital, most of us pass gas anywhere from 12 to 25 times a day, 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.”

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It does not necessarily mean that when you feel a ballooned belly indicate that something is wrong with what you eat, but if your abdomen is too swollen like the normal days, you may want to identify the belly bloaters in your diet.

AVOID: Legumes

Maybe you have heard this before, but beans, along with lentils, soybeans, and peas are gas-causing foods- you’re right! These are basically bursts of protein in a pod, but they also contain sugars and fibers that our bodies can’t absorb easily. 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.   it is best to 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.

AVOID: Broccoli, Cabbage, Kale

Cruciferous vegies like kale, broccoli, and cabbage contain raffinose — a sugar that remains undigested until bacteria in your gut ferment it, which produces gas and, in turn, makes you bloat. Key is you have to eat these healthy greens consistently because these high-fiber foods leads to having a stronger, healthier digestive system that’s less prone to bloating.  Also check the portions when you eat these, you can also try steaming them as it softens the fiber and shrinks its portion too. This method may help them easier to digest.

AVOID: Dairy

Ever felt this gas after a bowl of cereal or a slice of cheese?  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 triggers bloating.
So 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.

AVOID: Apples

Again, another high in fiber, apples (pear, peaches and prunes too) also contain fructose and sorbitol, sugars found in fruits that many people can’t tolerate. The result? A lot of gas and feeling full.  Apples are a great snack, but it is best to eat them in moderations and time your eating right. 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.


AVOID: Salty foods

Did you know that salt attracts water?  Eating high-sodium foods can trigger water retention, which can balloon you up. Avoiding sodium isn’t as simple as steering clear of the salt, however. Sodium is at its best in processed and packaged foods, including soups, breads, and these other surprisingly salty foods. That makes it very difficult to avoid so if you can not avoid these, best to drink a lot of water to help flush it out.


EAT: Asparagus

Asparagus is an anti-bloating food. It makes your urine smell, but it also makes you urinate, period—helping you flush all that excess water, thus relieving any discomfort and fullness.   It also contains prebiotics, which help support the growth of the good bacteria. This helps maintain a healthy balance in your digestive system to prevent and/or reduce gas.   Plus, it contains soluble and insoluble fibers, which helps promote overall digestive health.

EAT: Cucumber

Other than relieving the puffiness of your eyes, you can eat them too to do the same thing for your belly. The vegetable contains quercetin, a flavonoid antioxidant that helps reduce swelling.  Cucumbers have been shown to inhibit the activity of pro-inflammatory enzymes.  Enjoy it as it is or replace your sugary drinks with a glass of cucumber water.


EAT: Yogurt with probiotics

Again the probiotics needed to help 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.   TIP: You can sweeten it with a little honey, jam, or granola.


EAT: Papaya

The enzyme contained in papaya – which is papain helps break down proteins in your GI system, which makes digestion easier. It is known that the tropical fruit also has anti-inflammatory properties, as well as fibers that support a strong digestive tract.


EAT: Bananas

Potassium rich foods like bananas, 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. “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.


EAT: 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. You can find fennel and fennel seeds in breads, sausages, and other meat dishes. Enjoy is as it is or  sip on a fennel tea at the end of a meal.


EAT: Chamomile and Peppermint tea

Both teas 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.

EAT: Ginger

Ginger is a the best home remedy for colds, achy muscles, cramps, and seasickness plus bloating.  This 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, like Peppermint and chamomile tea. It also contains an enzyme that absorbs proteins, thus reducing protein-induced puffiness and gas.


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