So why do we bloat? It’s usually caused by the processes that occur during digestion and characterized by the accumulation of gas in the intestine.
Despite the fact that eating and drinking certain foods can lead to bloating, consuming other foods can actually reduce the problem. Here are a few of the plant-based foods that can help relieve that puffy feeling — or prevent it.
Lemons, being a natural diuretic and a gentle laxative, can reduce the amount of salt retained in your body. Add lemon juice to warm water for maximum effect. You see, retaining water is the body’s way of holding on to fluid so that you do not become dehydrated. So it’s especially important when you are bloated to push fluids through your body, not eliminate them.
Almost all melons are beneficial to your health in some way, but watermelon is by far the juiciest, consisting of 92 percent water, which we now know is instrumental in reducing bloating. Watermelon also has natural diuretic properties and is an excellent source of potassium, making it very helpful in balancing the levels of sodium and potassium in the body, which is also important to taming bloating.
Did you know that the herb is also used to treat indigestion that can lead to bloating? Steeping some in your next cup of tea or combining it with some celery to make a broth is a good way to get what you need from it.
Beans and Lentils
Taking in too much sodium and not enough potassium and fiber can keep you suffering from bloating on a regular basis, so lowering your sodium intake and increasing your potassium levels can be the fastest way to reduce bloating. Dietary fiber-rich lentils are an excellent choice for aiding your digestion when bloated, and potassium-packed beans, like white beans, soybeans, and lima beans are actually the highest-fiber vegetables you can get.
Certain foods, especially some carbohydrates, are either completely indigestible or can only be partially digested in your stomach. These foods are to blame for gas buildup and therefore contribute to bloating. Rice and rice flour are a good substitute for starches like wheat, oats, corn, and potatoes, as rice is fully digested in the small intestines, giving it the least chance of forming gases in your gut.
If you want to try using yogurt to fight bloating, you first need to make sure you know what your looking for in that yogurt, namely, active cultures. This is because, though most yogurts are generally a healthy choice, consuming yogurt that contains active cultures on a regular basis increases your levels of lactobacillus and bifidobacterium — known as “good” bacteria — in your digestive tract. Doing this will keep things moving and prevent your belly bloat. Your best bets are plain, soy yogurt.
Keeping an eye on your overall potassium-sodium level is important for water balance in the body. If you suspect today’s bloat is a result of last night’s salty dinner, add a sliced banana to some oatmeal this morning to bring back the balance.
Inside of this tropical fruit is a white, milky substance called papain, a proteolytic enzyme that promotes digestion. Now, I know it may not be the most popular fruit or easy to find in your standard grocery store, but the papaya is still worth considering, as you can easily pop some slices into a breakfast smoothie.
Cucumbers are a great way to deflate a puffy tummy. The high water and high dietary fiber content of these veggies can cause increased urination, which will make you feel less full. And since bloating is a temporary state, and not a reflection of the actual size and shape of your normal body, feeling like your normal self again can at least give you mental relief, even if you might suffer through a few more days of physical discomfort.
The chemicals that reside in stalks of this vegetable have been known to decrease fluid retention. That’s one of the reasons why celery is commonly used as a digestive aid to regulate bowel movements and control intestinal gas. But keep in mind that when you’re bloated, it’s best to lean toward cooked veggies over raw, as the fiber structure is broken down when vegetables are cooked, making them more easily digestible.
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