Bloating is an extremely common gastrointestinal issue that both men and women may deal with either on a fairly regular basis or periodically.
When you are bloated, you may not feel like eating anything, or you may have an insatiable appetite, but everything you seem to eat exacerbates the bloating.
The good news is that there are foods that help reduce bloating, giving you some options for not only something to eat when you’re bloated but also having an effective natural strategy to reduce bloating.
In this article, we will share the best foods to reduce bloating quickly, and foods to avoid that may cause bloating.
We will look at:
- What Causes Bloating?
- What Are the Best Foods to Reduce Bloating Quickly?
Let’s jump in!
What Causes Bloating?
Bloating is characterized by excessive air or fluid trapped in the stomach or intestines that causes distention in your belly.
Not only can bloating make you self-conscious about the appearance of your protruding belly but bloating can be quite uncomfortable and can make you feel sluggish and heavy.
There are quite a number of things that can cause belly bloating.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, bloating occurs when air or gas gets trapped anywhere along your gastrointestinal (GI) tract from the stomach through the small intestines to the colon. Water retention can also result in bloating and stomach distention.
There are different causes of bloating, such as:
- Eating foods that cause the production of gas (such as cruciferous vegetables, FODMAPs, and sugar alcohols or artificial sweeteners)
- Eating foods that you are intolerant to
- Consuming too much salt
- Drinking too much alcohol or carbonated beverages
- Swallowing air from eating too fast or chewing gum
- Being constipated
- Celiac disease or another inflammatory bowel disease
- Hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle
Basically, anything that causes water retention or the production of gas within the gastrointestinal tract can result in noticeable abdominal bloating.
What Are the Best Foods to Reduce Bloating Quickly?
There are several foods that can decrease bloating.
The best foods to reduce bloating quickly will largely depend on the primary cause of bloating in your situation: water retention, constipation, or excess gas.
Although some of the best foods that help with bloating in all three underlying causes, certain foods are most effective for bloating caused by one of the three reasons.
For example, if you are bloated due to constipation, some of the best foods to reduce bloating quickly are foods high in prebiotic fiber and fiber in general.
Prebiotic fiber is a type of dietary fiber that is indigestible for our bodies, but it feeds the beneficial bacteria in the gut microbiome. This bacteria helps support healthy digestion and can promote regular bowel movements, potentially alleviating bloating due to constipation.
However, on the other hand, if you are bloated because of excess gas production in your intestines, eating lots of high-fiber foods, particularly those rich in prebiotic fiber, may exacerbate your bloating because the bacteria will ferment the fiber in the foods and produce more gas.
Here are some of the best foods to reduce bloating quickly:
In cases where you are bloated due to constipation or water retention, apples can be one of the best foods to reduce bloating quickly.
In terms of bloating due to constipation, apples are rich in a prebiotic fiber known as pectin. Pectin can support healthy digestion and promote bowel movements while simultaneously nourishing the beneficial bacteria in your gut.
For bloating due to water retention, apples contain a decent amount of potassium, which is a mineral that can help counteract the water-retaining nature of sodium by balancing out sodium levels.
Apples also contain potassium, which can help your body regulate fluid levels.
With bloating due to constipation, asparagus is one of the best foods to decrease bloating quickly because it is high in inulin, a type of prebiotic fiber.
Asparagus is also a good source of both soluble and insoluble fiber, so it forms a gel-like consistency and bulks up stool to help move your stool along the digestive tract for elimination.
Avocados are one of the best foods to reduce bloating quickly due to any cause.
If you are constipated, avocados can help you move your bowels because they are high in fiber.
Avocados are also one of the best sources of potassium, which can help decrease water retention and balance out sodium levels.
If you have excessive gas trapped in your stomach and intestines, avocados can be a calming food that helps move gas along the digestive tract for elimination from the body while not creating more gas at the same time.
Much like avocados, bananas provide a one-two punch to decrease belly bloating because they are high in potassium and fiber.
In fact, studies have found that bananas are one of the best foods to decrease bloating and improve the composition of your gut microbiome.
Many fruits are great for reducing bloating, but pineapple can be one of the best. It is packed with antioxidants like vitamin C, which can reduce inflammation.
Pineapple also contains bromelain, a digestive enzyme that can also reduce inflammation in the gut and support digestion.
#6: Fermented Foods
Fermented foods like yogurt, kefir sauerkraut, kimchi, pickled vegetables, miso, and tempeh are among the best foods to decrease bloating.
These types of foods contain natural probiotics, which are the beneficial bacteria that reside in your gut. Among the many functions of the healthy bacteria in your gut microbiome, these microbiotas help you digest food and decrease gut and systemic inflammation.
Additionally, if your digestive tract is irritated and inflamed because you have eaten foods that you are intolerant to, you can counteract some of this inflammation with fermented foods, which act to soothe and reduce inflammation in the mucosal gut lining.
#7: Celery and Celery Root
When you are bloated due to water retention or constipation, celery and celery root can be good foods to reduce bloating quickly.
However, if you are bloated due to gas from eating high-fiber foods, dairy, sugar alcohols, or some other food that didn’t agree with you, eating celery may exacerbate the issue.
This is primarily because celery is high in fiber and also contains a natural sugar alcohol called mannitol, which acts as a stool softener and gentle laxative.
Although this can be ideal and quite beneficial if you are bloated due to constipation or even bloated because of water retention if you are gastrointestinal tract is aggravated because of foods that have caused excessive gas production, foods with natural sugar alcohols, such as celery and prunes, can cause even more gas production.
On the other hand, if you are holding onto water, celery can be one of the best foods to eat to reduce bloating quickly. Celery root acts as a natural diuretic, so it helps eliminate any excess water retention.
It’s often counterintuitive, but bloating is often actually caused by dehydration.
Even though your belly may be filled with water and gas, which certainly would seem to indicate that you do not need more fluids, when you are dehydrated, the body ends up holding onto excess water in an attempt to conserve the finite resource.
For this reason, some of the best foods that help with bloating fast are foods that are high in water because they help rehydrate you while also stimulating peristalsis in the intestines, which can move along undigested food for stool formation.
Cucumbers are approximately 95% water by volume, so if dehydration is the root cause of your bloating, eating cucumbers may help restore optimal fluid balance and decrease belly bloat.
Much like cucumbers, because watermelon is almost entirely water, it is a great food to decrease bloating.
Moreover, watermelon is a good source of potassium, which again helps encourage the release of excess water retention.
#10: Green Tea
Green tea is one of the best drinks to reduce bloating quickly. It not only has hydrating fluids, which can help offset water retention due to dehydration, but it is also high in antioxidants and polyphenols.
These compounds can reduce inflammation in the gut, and caffeine is a natural diuretic, helping rid your body of excess fluid.
Where possible, try to troubleshoot and think about what might have caused the bloating in the first place. This will help you select the most effective foods to reduce bloating quickly without exacerbating the issue.
Are you interested in decreasing inflammation in general? If so, we have a great list of anti-inflammatory foods for you to check out: Your Go-To List Of Anti-Inflammatory Foods: Our 16 Top Picks.