Do you suffer from a sensitive stomach? Are you often left feeling bloated and uncomfortable after you finish a meal? You’re probably eating the wrong foods.
I suffered with bloating, inflammation and nausea after eating all through my teens, until in my early twenties, I decided to look into the foods I was eating and try to narrow down the culprit.
My symptoms have improved dramatically since addressing my diet so I wanted to share with you the foods that I have learned are excellent at reducing bloating.
18 Foods To Relieve Bloating Fast
Ginger contains anti-inflammatory properties which help to soothe the stomach and ‘move things along’ so that you don’t spend your day feeling bloated or constipated. Originating from China, ginger has been used for its medicinal benefits for many centuries – being favoured as a treatment for symptoms of nausea, digestion, and the common cold and flu. Due to its antioxidant qualities, ginger is also a common ingredient found in some of your favourite cosmetic products!
Ginger can very easily be incorporated into your diet by mixing into your recipes and works particularly well with most Indian and Asian dishes. You can also use ginger in homemade smoothies and juices as an easy way to make sure you are exposing yourself to the benefits of this wonderful spice every day.
Lemon is one of the most powerful foods to soothe your digestive system. There are many vitamins and plant compounds found within lemons that help keep your body healthy, particularly in areas such as lowering levels of cholesterol, improving digestive health, reducing risk of heart disease or stroke, increasing iron levels in the blood and preventing some cancers.
Many studies have highlighted the benefits of drinking warm lemon in the mornings as an excellent way to start your day – it kick starts your digestion and improves hydration, setting you off on the right foot for a productive and successful morning.
There is evidence to show that some of the most valuable properties of lemons are only contained within the pulp, including its high fibre content. For this reason, you may also want to include lemon zest in your cooking, and use the fruit in smoothies rather than juices to ensure that you are getting all of the benefits.
Bananas are packed full of fibre and potassium which helps you to feel fuller for longer and reduces the risk of overeating. Many people believe that bananas should be avoided if you’re trying to lose weight as they are high in calories but in fact, the opposite is true. Bananas are a great snack if you are on a weight loss journey as they keep you feeling satiated for a longer period of time. Bananas will also keep you looking younger as they contain high levels of manganese which encourages your body to make collagen.
Bananas can easily be eaten as a snack, as a topping over cereal, toast or porridge, in juices, smoothies and even in salads. This versatile fruit is one that you should consider including in your diet every day.
Avocados contain even more potassium than bananas, and for that reason, they reap all the same benefits as above. Avocados are also packed with fibre, which is an essential complex carbohydrate that helps the body to ‘move things along’. Too little fibre in our diet is a common reason that people experience bloating. Many studies have shown that avocados can also reduce cholesterol levels in the body which is a common cause of heart disease.
Enjoy avocados on their own as a healthy snack, spread over toast for breakfast, or incorporated into salads and pasta dishes for something more wholesome.
Turmeric is a natural spice that has been used for culinary and medicinal purposes for over 4000 years. It is thought to have originated from India and even holds some spiritual significance in many cultures. In today’s society, turmeric is still considered a ‘miracle spice’ which should be included in your diet due to its anti-inflammatory properties, said to be more powerful than those found in ibuprofen! Curcumin, the substance within Turmeric which gives it its vibrant yellow colour is important for maintaining a healthy colon and reducing cancer forming cells in the body.
Turmeric can be used in smoothies and juices to pack an extra punch, or incorporated into many soup and curry dishes to create a nutritious, flavoursome meal. A few spoonfuls of turmeric stirred into your rice while cooking will turn the grain bright yellow, making for a tasty and eye-catching side dish with any main meal. Turmeric can also be used in teas, lentil dishes, houmous and mac and cheese to add flavour and nourishment!
Brown rice is wholegrain, complex carb that keeps you fuller for longer and offers a host of other benefits. It is a fibre rich food that helps pass food through the digestive tract at a healthy rate. Brown rice doesn’t go through the harsh modification process that white rice faces, making it a much more natural choice. As part of the preparation of white rice, the fibre-rich bran and germ found in rice grains is stripped away during processing, leaving only the starchy middle layer known as the endosperm.
So if you suffer from digestive issues and bloating, try to avoid high starchy foods such as white rice, potatoes and bread and pasta as these are much more difficult for the body to break down and end up sitting in the stomach for a longer period of time, causing that bloated and uncomfortable sensation.
Chicken and other poultry is the leanest meat available and because it is lower in fat, it doesn’t give you that bloated, lethargic feeling that heavy red meats do. Chicken is extremely high in protein so if you are also trying to gain muscle mass then it’s a great option. Chicken is so versatile and there are many recipes that you can make as this staple is used in all types of cuisines around the world.
Fish is another excellent, lean source of protein. Fishes such as salmon, sardines and mackerel are high in Omega 3 fatty acids which are vital for a healthy diet and aren’t stored in our bodies as excess weight. The low saturated fat levels mean that the food is easily digested and doesn’t cause weight gain or constipation which are both factors linked to bloating.
Fish is also a great food for promoting brain health. Studies have shown that people who eat fish at least once a week have a healthier brain matter in the areas of the brain that are directly linked to memory and emotions. For this reason, it is believed that a high fish diet can reduce the risk of dementia and stroke.
It is widely believed that the Japanese have one of the healthiest diets in the world. Their diet mainly consists of rice, vegetables, fish and seafood as the main protein source. Many studies have attributed the Japanese diet to being the reason for their longevity and low obesity rates.
Probiotic yoghurt is packed with gut cleansing bacteria’s which help promote healthy digestion, in turn reducing bloatedness. Consider having yoghurt for breakfast each morning or swapping your ice cream or custard at desert time for natural yoghurt. Make sure to choose a yoghurt that is low in sugar as high sugar foods can increase the feeling of bloating making this step counter-productive.
Cucumbers have one of the highest water contents known in any food. They are known to reduce swelling in the body and they’re brilliant for people who suffer from water retention. Cucumbers are yet another natural anti-inflammatory food and another great source of potassium. Cucumbers have been praised for cleansing the body of excess sodium which is a key culprit in increasing swelling and bloating.
Cucumbers are commonly eaten with the skins removed, although try to include the skin in your diet as many of the compounds and vitamins that give this vegetable its benefits are found within it’s skin.
Consider adding cucumber into your salad or using in a sandwich or wrap. My favourite way to enjoy cucumber is by adding to lemon water. I sometimes even add mint to give the water even more flavour. This is one of my favourite ways to stay hydrated throughout the day.
Asparagus is widely considered by nutritionists as an anti-bloating superfood. Most people think of the strange smell that asparagus gives to your urine, but the point that they are missing is that this miracle vegetable is making you pee more.
The high water and fibre content of asparagus mean that it effectively flushes out your body. Water retention and constipation are key contributing factors to bloating, so make sure to fill your diet with foods that encourage you to use the restroom as much as possible.
Asparagus is a great source of prebiotic’s: fibres within our diet which act as a fertiliser for probiotic’s. Probiotic’s are live bacteria which are usually found in fermented foods, particularly yoghurt (as above) and help to maintain a healthy gut.
Tomatoes are another natural anti-inflammatory that are important for overall health. Eating lots of tomatoes helps your body to produce Leptin, which is the hormone that controls our appetite. One of the main reasons that you can become bloated is by overeating and eating too many low-fibre, high starch and gas-producing foods.
Studies have shown that tomato skins hold allergic-reaction-fighting properties. When you reduce inflammation in the body, you are helping your body’s fat-burning hormones to work at their best. Reducing your waistline is a well-known way to reduce bloating.
There are benefits of eating tomatoes both cooked and raw. The cooking process breaks down some of the key compounds within the fruit, making it easier to be absorbed by your body. Try using tomatoes in salads and as an afternoon snack with some low-fat cheese and wholegrain crackers. Then for lunch or dinner, this versatile staple can easily find its way into almost any type of dish: curries, soups, pasta sauce etc.
Pineapple is a fruit rich in bromelain, which is a powerful enzyme effective at breaking down hard to digest proteins. Some studies show that pineapple reduces swelling within the body which makes it not only effective against avoiding bloat, but also good for people who may have recently suffered an injury, or struggle with muscular pains.
The most bromelain-rich part of the fruit is it’s core, so if you want to get the maximum output of the bloat-reducing properties of pineapple, then make sure that you aren’t just eating the juicy part but as much of the core as you can manage too. This is probably best achieved by blending your pineapple into a smoothie to make it more appetising. As well as in smoothies, pineapple can also be enjoyed as a sweet snack by itself or in a fruit salad. Snacking on succulent fruits can help those with a sweet tooth resist reaching for the sweets and chocolate when they have cravings.
Berries are high in fibre, helping to keep the digestive system running smoothly and preventing your body from constipation. Berries also contain between 80%-95% water so are excellent for keeping your body hydrated – we know by now that hydration is an important factor in reducing puffiness, bloating and weight gain.
As with many of the other fruits and vegetables also mentioned on this list, berries are also high in fibre, anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory which we have covered are the key factors in keeping bloating at bay.
Studies have shown that the other benefits of berries include: fighting many cancers, protecting against heart disease and stroke, improving skin, hair and nail health, reducing premature ageing, lowers cholesterol and they help regulate blood sugar and insulin levels within the body.
Berries can be enjoyed in smoothies and juices, in a fruit salad, as a topping on your morning cereal or porridge or on their own as a snack.
Watermelon is 92% water, making it one of the most hydrating fruits out there. Dehydration is a common reason people become bloated, as well as other side effects including dry skin, headaches, muscle and joint pain, fatigue, irritability and loss of concentration.
Due to its high water content, watermelon is a very filling fruit to enjoy and helps to curb overeating. Evidence has shown that increased consumption of fruits including watermelon leads to a reduced risk of obesity, heart disease and diabetes.
As well as having a high water content, watermelon is also another great source of fibre so is yet another fruit to add to this list of those which ‘help move things move along’ in the digestive system.
You don’t need me to tell me you that the benefits of drinking lots of water are infinite. Regular water consumption has a positive impact on hydration, lubrication of our joints, flushes out waste from the body, promotes healthy skin, hair and nails, maintains blood pressure and many more.
Focusing on the fact that drinking lots of water helps to flush waste and nasties out of our body: any foods or substances that our body doesn’t react well to are removed faster from the body by drinking lots of water. If there are foods that you recognise as setting off an uncomfortable stomach, then of course its best to avoid these in the first place. However, if you are trying to reverse the effects of any bad eating decisions you have already made that day then drinking water is a great way to do this.
This is why we are told to drink a big glass of water before bed if we have been drinking alcohol. The water will wash out and dilute the alcohol in our system, mitigating the chance of a nasty hangover the next day. So think of a spell of bloatedness as a type of ‘food hangover’. If you are suffering from a particularly bad bout of digestive discomfort, then nothing will help you feel better faster and more naturally than drinking plenty of water.
Peppermint has been used medicinally for reducing stomach and digestive issues since as far back as Ancient Egyptian times! We know this because evidence of the leaves have been found within the ancient pyramids and could be dated back to back to 1000 b.c. The Greeks and Romans also praised the herb for its health benefits.
Peppermint oil capsules have been medically proven to reduce bloating, swelling, stomach pain and poor digestion. Fewer studies have been made on peppermint tea as a drink, however, a study did show that the average peppermint teabag contained six times more peppermint oil than a serving of peppermint leaf capsules. Therefore, it is safe to assume that the potency of peppermint teas and infusions is not to be doubted.
Chamomile is associated with relaxation and soothing. Chamomile balm has been used for treating sores, wounds and burns for many years. However more commonly it is used for treating inflammation, muscle spasms, menstrual symptoms, insomnia, nausea, vomiting, and of course not forgetting, digestive issues.
Due to it’s calming effects, chamomile is commonly used for stress management, meaning that while the floral plant is an excellent remedy for bloating in the direct sense, it is also effective indirectly, as stress can commonly lead to gas, diarrhoea, upset stomach, chronic heartburn, loss of appetites, nausea and vomiting, all of which are symptoms which lead to bloating and inflammation of the stomach.