How to Get Rid of Bloat Fast... And For Good
Bloating can take a day from great to gloomy pretty quick. One minute you’re feeling sexy and confident, the next minute you feel like a balloon that’s ready to pop. Has this ever happened to you? If so, you’re in good company. In fact, bloating is one of the most commonly reported digestive complaints.
Many people just suck it up (pun intended) and suffer quietly, but I’ve got good news for you! Certain foods and herbs can actually help de-bloat your belly quickly. Bonus? These items are super easy to find in any grocery store. You may even already have them in your own kitchen.
How do I get rid of a bloated belly?
When you’re bloated, it’s important to focus on foods that are hydrating, easy to digest, and not too heavy. (Because I’m guessing you probably don’t feel like eating much.) That's what this list is all about, so read on for my favorite foods, spices, and teas that help get rid of a bloated belly, fast.
Using collagen to help a bloated belly
For many these days, bloating is a symptom of a condition known as a “leaky gut.” Essentially, the tight junctions between your small intestinal cells loosen. This affects your ability to successfully digest your food and absorb critical nutrients. It also allows partially digested nutrients and pathogens to “leak” into your bloodstream.
Therefore, when you’re bloated, it’s important to consume foods that will soothe and help heal the lining of your digestive tract. I can’t think of anything better than collagen. My favorite sources of collagen are bone broth and collagen protein supplements.
Eating celery reduces a bloated belly
Celery contains a good dose of potassium – a mineral electrolyte required to maintain optimal fluid levels throughout your body – which is essential for all of your organ systems to function properly. Thus, potassium helps your body flush excess water.
In addition, a potassium deficiency can also cause you to retain water. However, don’t start munching on celery sticks just yet. It’s best to cook your celery when you’re bloated. The cooking process breaks down the fiber, which makes it easier to digest. You can simmer celery in your broth. Or you can juice it, which also removes the fiber.
Use cucumber to magically wipe away your bloat!
In the beauty world, cucumbers are often used to help reduce puffiness around your eyes. They do the same thing for your belly when consumed, thanks to a synergistic combination of nutrients, including caffeic acid (an antioxidant), vitamin C, silica, and water.
Some nutrients are found in the skin, while others are in the flesh. To get the full benefits, it’s important to consume both parts. Consider slowly snacking on fresh cucumber slices. Cucumbers can also be juiced or added to smoothies.
Are you bloated? Eat asparagus
Like celery, asparagus is a great source of potassium. Thus, it’s considered a natural diuretic, which is a food that helps you release retained water.
Asparagus is also a great source of food (prebiotics) for the good bacteria (probiotics) in your gut. Remember, when you consume prebiotics, your gut flora flourishes, and this is important because these tiny microbes play a significant role in your digestive process.
Fermented foods are my secret to anti-bloating
Fermented foods, such as raw sauerkraut and kimchi, are excellent sources of probiotics. As previously mentioned, these friendly bacteria help your body digest and absorb food, especially lactobacillus, a species of bacteria predominantly found in fermented foods.
Lactobacillus helps your body break down hard-to-digest carbohydrates. The byproduct of this process is lactic acid. Lactic acid further supports digestion by stimulating the release of digestive juices and enzymes.
But the benefits don’t stop there! Good gut bacteria also generate certain substances (butyrate, acetic, and lactic acids) that help keep your colon slightly acidic. This is necessary to prevent undesirable, gas-producing bacteria from colonizing (because they only thrive in an alkaline environment).
If you’re new to fermented foods, start slow. Too much at once can backfire and cause bloating. A tablespoon is usually all you need to benefit.
Pineapple is my favorite way to reverse a bloated belly
When it comes to bloating, pineapples shine. They’re a rich source of bromelain, an enzyme that helps support protein digestion and soothe the digestive tract.
The core of the pineapple has the highest concentration of bromelain, so be sure your pineapple is ripe, which will soften the core. Or, use chunks of the core to make a smoothie or fresh juice.
Eat an avocado if you're feeling bloated
Similar to celery, avocados are high in potassium, which helps ease water retention. They’re also a great source of healthy fat and fiber. Fiber helps with constipation, which can contribute to bloating. In addition to eating them plain, avocados make a great addition to salads and smoothies.
Add some lemon in your diet to reduce bloating
Lemon juice is a great digestive aid. It stimulates the release of bile from your liver, which helps keep food moving seamlessly through your digestive tract. Lemon juice also improves nutrient absorption, and may even help flush excess water. I recommend squeezing some fresh lemon in warm water. You can also add it to tea.
Cayenne pepper minimizes belly bloat
A substance known as capsaicin, found in cayenne peppers, can be magical when it comes to bloating. It works by increasing the flow of digestive juices to help break down food. It also helps release gas.
Further, capsaicin has antioxidant powers and may even help keep unfriendly bacteria away.
I recommend adding a teaspoon of dried cayenne powder to warm water. Maybe even with a squeeze of lemon juice. If you need to sweeten it up a bit, try a pinch of stevia or monk fruit.
Use green tea if you are feeling bloated
Green tea is one of the best anti-bloating teas. It promotes digestion, helps release gas, and is a natural diuretic.
Green tea is also packed with antioxidants, which can help repair the lining of your gut and reduce inflammation.
For best results, consume 2-3 cups per day. However, green tea does contain caffeine, so if you’re sensitive, try ginger tea instead.
Will ginger help reduce bloating?
Ginger has a long history of being used as a digestive aid.
The phenolic compounds (i.e., gingerol) in ginger stimulate the production of digestive enzymes.
Ginger also reduces inflammation and muscular tension within the gastrointestinal tract. This helps release trapped gas as well as relieve constipation.
Ginger tea is a great way to harness the power of ginger. The stronger the better. You can also add a knob of fresh ginger to your smoothie.
Smooth Move by Traditional Medicinals is a powerful tea for bloating
Smooth Move contains senna, which is an herb with laxative effects. It’s a great option if you suffer from occasional constipation.
Drink dandelion root tea to help lose your bloat
Dandelion root tea is soothing and works as a natural diuretic to shed excess water. It also has a mild laxative effect.
Peppermint tea is a perfect tea to de-bloat
Peppermint tea relaxes the muscles along your digestive tract to reduce cramping and help release gas.
What are other strategies to get rid of bloating?
How does exercise help bloating?
While bloating might make you want to crawl in bed, you’ll be better off moving instead. You don’t need to run a marathon, but moving your body will help release trapped gas much faster than sitting (or lying) still. So take a walk, go for a jog, or ease into some yoga poses.
Which supplements help with bloating?
If the foods and teas above along with movement aren’t cutting it, you may want to consider the following supplements.
Prebiotics and probiotics reduce bloating
As previously discussed, prebiotics are food for the good bacteria in your gut. This is important to help them grow and outnumber the bad bacteria, like the ones that cause gas. Probiotics are good bacteria that help digest and absorb your food among MANY other things.
Digestive enzymes help your body naturally reduce bloating
Your body requires enzymes to fully digest the food you consume. Some people lack one or more digestive enzymes for a variety of reasons. Enzyme production also naturally declines as we age, so digestive enzyme supplements can be extremely helpful when it comes to bloating.
Fiber packs a bunch in reducing your bloat
If you’re backed up, eating often leads to bloating since there’s only so much food and waste your body can hold. This is why it’s important to get plenty of fiber in your diet. High fiber fruits and veggies include spinach, artichoke, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, green beans, onions, sweet potatoes, raspberries, and avocado. If you don't feel like eating much, a fiber supplement or a delicious collagen fiber snack bar might be better options for you.
Keep in mind that fiber works by drawing fluid into your digestive tract, which can also make you feel bloated. So it’s important to go slow. If the addition of fiber causes discomfort or further bloating, give it a rest.
Magnesium to the rescue for your bloated belly!
Magnesium is involved in over 300 different reactions in your body. Unfortunately, most of us are magnesium deficient due to a poor diet and chronic stress.
Magnesium is often referred to as nature’s chill pill because it helps your muscles relax. This is helpful for releasing trapped gas as well as emptying your bowels.
Soaking in a bath with Epsom salts or magnesium flakes or oil is a great way for your body to replenish its magnesium stores. For constipation specifically, I recommend magnesium citrate, which also pulls water into your bowels to further promote regularity. Start with 300 - 600 mg per day.
How do I prevent bloating?
Now you know what to do if and when bloating strikes. But it’s important to recognize there are certain foods and beverages that commonly trigger bloating. If you avoid them, there’s a good chance you can prevent bloating from ruining your day ever again.
What foods should I eliminate to prevent bloating?
Say no to beans if you are experiencing bloating!
Beans are notorious for causing gas and subsequent bloating since you and I both lack oligosaccharides, the enzyme necessary to fully digest complex sugars found in beans.
Some people claim they’re not affected by beans, and this may be true. Especially when only a small quantity is consumed, or if the gas is able to quickly escape or is consumed by other bacteria before it causes discomfort.
Nevertheless, because this phenomenon is so common with beans, I typically don’t recommend eating them. But, if you follow a vegan or vegetarian diet, beans may be a big source of protein for you. If that’s the case, it’s important to properly prepare your beans by soaking or sprouting them whenever possible before cooking, as those two processes help predigest the oligosaccharides.
Another option is to supplement with alpha-galactosidase — a digestive enzyme designed to break down the oligosaccharides in your small intestine — before your gut bacteria get the chance.
Gluten-containing grains can cause you to be seriously bloated
Gluten is a group of proteins naturally found in wheat, spelt, farro, rye, and barley. By nature, it’s difficult to digest, and when consumed, it's capable of irritating the lining of your digestive tract.
Gluten has also been shown to raise levels of another protein known as zonulin. This is bad news because researchers have demonstrated that zonulin can increase your intestinal permeability and leave you with a leaky gut.
However... don’t load up on “gluten-free” packaged foods instead. Almost always these items are just as bad as their gluten-containing counterparts, if not worse. White flour is simply substituted for a variety of other processed flours, starches and gums. And guess what? They’re also commonly difficult to digest.
Sugar (high fructose corn syrup) is a sneaky culprit to your bloating
Sugar is no longer confined to baked goods. It's everywhere. In fact, it’s estimated that over 70% of all food products on store shelves now contain added sugar! This includes breads, crackers, salad dressings, pasta sauces... the list goes on and on.
Most of the time, these processed foods, as well sugar sweetened beverages, contain refined white sugar (a.k.a. table sugar) and high fructose corn syrup — the worst of the worst. Both contain a mix of two simple sugars — glucose and fructose.
White sugar has an equal concentration of both, but high-fructose corn syrup has a higher concentration of fructose than glucose. The problem most associated with bloating is fructose.
High-fructose fruits are a sneaky culprit to your bloating
Fructose is often referred to as fruit sugar. That’s because many fruits are naturally high in fructose.
Now I don’t recommend shunning all fruit, since fruit provides a wealth of nutrients, including powerful antioxidants and fiber. However, some fruits have a higher fructose to glucose ratio than others.
Which fruits are ‘high-fructose’ and make bloating worse?
- Fresh figs
- Dried fruits
Which fruits cause minimal bloating that are best in moderation?
- Citrus fruits
- Passion fruit
As I mentioned earlier, everyone’s different. So if you notice one of the fruits above (or any other fruit for that matter) causes your belly to bloat, it’s probably best to avoid it.
Dairy causes belly bloat
There are two main issues when it comes to bloating and dairy:
1. The main protein (casein) in milk is among one of the top highly allergenic foods. For many, it causes gut inflammation when consumed.
2. Approximately 75% of the human population is lactose intolerant. This means these people lack the enzyme (lactase) necessary to digest the sugar (lactose) in milk. Thus, the lactose moves into the colon undigested and is fermented by gas-producing bacteria. And you know what happens next.
Your belly bloat can be controlled by reducing alcohol intake
There are numerous ways in which alcohol contributes to bloating.
- High levels of alcohol in your blood can negatively affect your body’s fluid balance and cause dehydration and water retention.
- Alcohol irritates the lining of your digestive tract, which can cause indigestion, intestinal permeability, and inflammation—all common triggers of bloating.
- Some alcohols contain wheat or gluten from the yeast used in the fermentation process.
- Most alcoholic beverages contain vast amounts of sugar and high-fructose corn syrup, especially cocktails mixed with juice, soda, and flavored syrups.
- Bubbly alcohol drinks (i.e., beer, champagne, spritzers) or alcohol with carbonated mixers (i.e., soda, tonic, seltzer) contain tiny air bubbles that release carbon dioxide (a gas) in your digestive tract. (This is true for all carbonated drinks whether alcohol is involved or not.) It’s wise to skip all fizzy drinks, including sparkling water, when you're bloated.
I don’t recommend alcohol when you’re bloated, but I do recognize sometimes you may choose to imbibe. If the occasion arises, stick to ONE glass of red wine, or a splash of rum, gin, or tequila on the rocks.
High-salt foods contribute to bloat
Similar to alcohol, consuming an excess of refined salt can cause dehydration and water retention. This is one of the many reasons I recommend avoiding heavily processed and packaged foods that are almost always loaded with refined salt.
However, seasoning your food with pink Himalayan or Celtic sea salt is a different story. These unrefined sea salts contain a variety of mineral electrolytes that actually hydrate your body, and may offer many other health benefits.
Sneaky artificial sweeteners could be to blame for your bloating
Splenda, Equal, and Sweet N’ Low are no better than sugar or high-fructose corn syrup. Some experts even argue they’re worse. Simply put, they’re just a bunch of nasty chemicals (like aspartame and sucralose) that your body isn’t designed to digest. Period.
Cruciferous veggies (with exceptions) may cause bloating for some
Vegetables are at the core of any healthy diet. I recommend eating them with almost every meal and snack. However, certain vegetables are more problematic than others when it comes to bloating. Specifically, cruciferous veggies.
Cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, kale, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts. And while they are known for causing gas in some, they also offer a host of amazing health benefits. So you’re going to have to listen to your body carefully on this one. If they don’t trigger bloating for you, great! Otherwise, try eating them only in small doses. And always cooked. Either way, I do recommend avoiding the cruciferous family when you’re already bloated.
What causes bloating?
Let me be clear. Bloating is not a condition or a disease. It’s a symptom. It’s your body’s way of telling you something’s just not quite right.
Indigestion is a common symptom of being bloated
For example, you wake up with a flat tummy, feeling great, and ready to tackle the day. But soon after your first meal, that all changes. Your clothes are tight, you feel lousy, and you’re dreading the events ahead. This typically occurs because your body isn’t able to fully digest a food or a specific ingredient that you’ve eaten.
When this happens, the undigested food moves into your large intestine. There it is, fermented by gas-producing bacteria. The gas that’s released from the fermentation process is what causes your stomach to blow up like a balloon. Depending on the health of your gut, large undigested food molecules can also enter your bloodstream and trigger inflammation and bloating.
Who knew dehydration would trigger your bloat?
Dehydration forces your body to retain water and swell. And it’s a common phenomenon. In fact, it is estimated that 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated. What’s worse is that sometimes getting rid of excess water can be more difficult than releasing gas. Dehydration can even cause your face to bloat. No, thank you!
Which eating habits cause bloating?
- Eating too fast
- Eating on the run
- Eating under stress
- Eating too much
How to banish belly fat for good?
Banishing the bloat is essential for a sexy, slim waistline. For the most part, this means staying hydrated and avoiding certain foods and beverages that are likely to cause indigestion.
However, it’s important to note that bloating can also be a symptom of a variety of gastrointestinal conditions, as well as several other diseases unrelated to the gut. If you've tried all these diet suggestions to get rid of bloating and still have had no success, please seek professional help.