What to Eat If...You Have Belly Bloat

Munch your way to a flatter stomach.

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The causes of belly bloat range from over eating, to constipation, to IBS and more. Bloating, a feeling of abdominal tightness or discomfort, is rarely serious, but can have some unpleasant side effects. Fortunately, there are natural and surprisingly easy ways to beat the bloat.

Heat up a glass of lemon water—a combination that helps aid digestion—and head to the supermarket to stock up on these bloat-reducing foods.    

Medically reviewed in February 2020.

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A diet high in sodium can lead to water retention, which causes bloating. The American Heart Association recommends consuming no more than 1,500 milligrams of salt per day, but most Americans actually consume more than 3,400 milligrams. Alternatively, Americans hardly consume enough potassium, which can reduce some negative effects of sodium, such as bloating. A single banana provides about 420 milligrams of potassium, 12 percent of the daily recommended value.

Tip: Ditch the chewing gum. Chewing gum allows excess air into your stomach, which can result in bloating.

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Containing 97 percent water, cucumbers are a natural diuretic. Diuretics are agents that expel salt and water from your body, reducing bloating. Plus, cucumbers contain 6 percent of the daily recommended value of fiber per cup, which helps with digestion. Try celery, too—it contains 6 percent of the daily recommended serving of fiber, per cup.

Tip: Diuretic foods won’t do you any good if the cause of your bloating is a food allergy or intolerance, like gluten or dairy. See your healthcare provider if you suspect your bloating is the result of an allergy.  

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This veggie is loaded with vitamins and minerals that aid in digestion and promote good gut bacteria. A single serving of asparagus provides 16 percent of the daily recommended value of iron, 13 percent of vitamin B1 and 17 percent of folate. Plus, asparagus acts as a diuretic and encourages the growth of gas-fighting bacteria in your stomach.  

Tip: Carbonated drinks are belly bloat’s best friend. Carbonated drinks, like soda and seltzer, force you to swallow excess air.

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Fennel Seeds

Poor digestion can cause gas and bloating, but a few seeds could potentially help the problem. Fennel seeds won’t address the root causes of chronic condition like Crohn’s disease or irritable bowel syndrome, but they may provide some relief for occasional bloating caused by digestive problems. Evidence suggests these seeds might relieve constipation, gas, cramping and indigestion. Incorporate fennel seeds into your cooking or just pop a spoonful into your mouth.

Tip: Salt encourages water retention and bloating. Be sure to check the packages of processed foods; canned vegetables, soups and frozen dinners are especially high in sodium.

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This juicy, colorful fruit contains two key components to beating belly bloat: potassium and water. Per cup, watermelon contains about 175 milligrams of potassium, an agent that helps regulate sodium in the body, reducing bloating. Plus, it’s 91.5 percent water, making it a diuretic that helps flush out excess water.

Tip: Limit your alcohol intake. Alcohol tends to promote gas formation in your digestive system. This trapped gas can lead to bloating and discomfort.   

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Ginger Root

Ginger has been used for decades to soothe stomach troubles, like gas, nausea, diarrhea and more. Add the root to your next dish, juice or smoothie and reap the gas-reducing benefits. Known for its anti-inflammatory properties, ginger is thought to help eliminate gas and soothe the digestive tract.   

Tip: Drinking through a straw siphons excess air into your stomach. Avoid belly bloat by sipping your non-carbonated drink out of a glass.  

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If your bloating is caused by poor digestion, yogurt may be the fix. The live cultures in yogurt promote good bacteria in the gut that aid in regular digestion. For the best results, choose yogurt high in probiotics. Opt for plain yogurt, too—the artificial sugars in sweetened yogurt can contribute to bloating.

Tip: Constipation can cause bloating, and become especially uncomfortable. The fix? Get plenty of dietary fiber, fluids and physical activity to stop constipation and banish bloating.

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The fiber and probiotics in kimchi promote regular bowel movements and prevent constipation, two causes of unwanted belly bloat. One serving of kimchi contains 10 percent of the daily recommended value of fiber, so eat up.

Tip: Slow down that spoonful. Eating too much, too quickly can cause bloating. Avoid the discomfort of overeating by thinking before you pick up your fork too quickly.

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