It’s an unfortunate—and a little embarrassing—fact of life, especially for women. We’re all subject to bloating from time to time, regardless of the cause. It can be uncomfortable, make our clothes suddenly too small, and can be seriously inconvenient, especially if you have a big event coming up.
But it’s also a completely natural and common phenomenon that everyone deals with at some point in their lives. And for women, it’s unavoidable because it’s tied to regular hormonal changes. So what can be done about it?
One of the most effective ways to combat bloating is by eating the correct foods. Certain foods can prevent, reduce, or even eliminate bloating, and many of these are easier to find than you might expect.
Bananas aren’t just a convenient, portable snack. They also fight back against one of the biggest culprits for bloating: sodium. Bananas are rich in potassium, which helps the body flush out water and sodium. Eating enough potassium is also key for keeping cramps at bay, whether they’re from a strenuous workout or that time of the month.
Yogurt is a healthy choice for many reasons, including its levels of protein and calcium. It also contains probiotics—bacteria that support your digestive process. These bacteria are naturally occurring in your gut and can reduce inflammation. Plus, you can pair yogurt with other bloat-reducing foods for a delicious snack.
Among yogurt’s best friends, berries are a sweet-tart addition that don’t just get you two-thirds of the way to a parfait. They also pack a lot of bloat-reducing power thanks to their high fiber content. Try strawberries, blackberries, or blueberries—or a combination of the three—for a colorful treat.
For some of us, everyday foods like pasta, bread, and crackers can lead to bloating, stomach pain, or other issues. If this is something you experience, you might try cutting out gluten by eating foods like quinoa instead. In addition to being gluten-free, quinoa is high in fiber, which combats bloat and healthy components like protein and antioxidants.
Guacamole isn’t just a delicious addition to taco night. It’s also chock-full of avocados and their healthy helpings of potassium, fiber, and antioxidants, all of which help battle bloat. Plus, the creamy texture of avocados is easy to swap out for things like mayonnaise or butter in other foods, adding a layer of healthy fats in place of the typical artery-clogging ones we frequently encounter.
People have used ginger root medicinally for centuries, and it’s stood the test of time for good reason. This anti-inflammatory root contains an enzyme that helps the digestive tract break down proteins. Combined with its capacity to relax the intestines, ginger is an excellent option for reducing bloat.
Many people tout celery is often as food for weight loss because it’s 95% water. While that exact fact means that it’s not especially filling (making it a poor choice for many diets), it also means that celery is an excellent choice for relieving bloat. Foods with high water content help rehydrate the body, including the digestive tract.
If you’ve ever eaten pineapple and noticed that your tongue feels a little tender afterward, it’s because pineapple actually contains a digestive enzyme that begins breaking down proteins quickly. This enzyme, called bromelain, assists in digestion and alleviates bloating, plus pineapple is another high-water content food that will help flush out your system.
Unfortunately, bloating is a fact of life. While it’s uncomfortable and can be embarrassing, it can also be dealt with by eating certain foods, many of which are easily available and are perhaps foods you already have in your kitchen.