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. And 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.
Although, it’s speculated that many others just suck it up (pun intended) and suffer quietly. Well, I’ve got good news for you! Certain foods and herbs can actually help de-bloat your belly quick. Items that you most likely already have in your kitchen or are super easy to find in any grocery store.
How to Get Rid of a Bloated Belly Fast
When you’re bloated, it’s important to focus on foods that are easy to digest as well as hydrating. And foods that aren’t too heavy. Because I’m going to guess you probably don’t feel like eating much. Try these foods, spices, and teas to help get rid of a bloated belly:
- Fermented Foods
- Cayenne Pepper
- Green Tea
- Smooth Move by Traditional Medicinals
- Dandelion root tea
- Peppermint tea
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. And I can’t think of anything better than collagen. My favorite sources of collagen are bone broth and hydrolyzed collagen powder supplements.
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.
In the beauty world, cucumbers are often used to help reduce puffiness around your eyes. And they do the same thing for your belly when consumed. Thanks to a synergistic combination of nutrients in cucumbers, including caffeic acid (an antioxidant), vitamin C, silica, and water.
Some nutrients are found in the skin while others are in the flesh. Thus, 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.
Like celery, asparagus is a great source of potassium. Thus, it’s considered a natural diuretic. 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. Therefore, when you consume prebiotics, your gut flora flourishes. And this is important because these tiny microbes play a significant role in your digestive process.
Asparagus is delicious when roasted or grilled. You can eat it alone. Or chop it up and add it to your salad. Asparagus is also tasty in soups (made with bone broth, of course!).
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 specifically helps your body break down hard to digest carbohydrates.
The byproduct of this process is lactic acid. And 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.
When it comes to bloating, pineapples shine. They’re a rich source of bromelain, an enzyme that helps support protein digestion as well as soothes 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.
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 as well as smoothies.
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. But, you can also add it to tea.
Slimming Herbs & Teas
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. And it also help 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. And if you need to sweeten it up a bit, try a pinch of stevia or monk fruit.
Green tea is one of the best anti-bloating teas. It promotes digestion. It helps release gas. And it 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.
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 to 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.
And if ginger or green tea don’t do the trick or you want to mix things up, give these other teas a try:
- Smooth Move by Traditional Medicinals contains senna. An herb with laxative effects. Thus, it’s a great option if you suffer from occasional constipation.
- Dandelion root tea is soothing and works as a natural diuretic to shed excess water. It also has a mild laxative effect.
- Peppermint tea relaxes the muscles along your digestive tract to reduce cramping and help release gas.
Other Strategies to Get Rid of a Bloating
Move Your Body Slim
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 strike some yoga poses.
If the foods and teas above along with movement aren’t cutting it, you may want to consider to the following supplements.
Prebiotics and Probiotics
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.
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. Therefore, digestive enzyme supplements can be extremely helpful when it comes to bloating.
If you’re backed up, eating often leads to bloating. Because 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. But, if don’t feel like eating much, a powder fiber supplement might be a better option for you.
However, 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. Start with a half a dose and work your way up. And if it causes discomfort or further bloating, give it a rest.
Magnesium is involved in over 300 different reactions in your body. And most of us are 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. When it comes to getting rid of bloating, 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 to Prevent BloatingYou now 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 the bloat from ever ruining your day again. If you want to prevent a bloated belly here are some foods to consider eliminating:
- Gluten-containing Grains
- Sugar/High Fructose Corn Syrup
- High-fructose Fruits
- High-salt foods
- Artificial Sweeteners
- Cruciferous veggies (with exceptions)
Beans are notorious for causing gas and subsequent bloating. The problem is you and I both lack the enzyme necessary to fully digest complex sugars found in beans known as oligosaccharides. Now 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.
These 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.
Guten 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 is capable of irritating the lining of your digestive tract. Gluten has also been shown to raise levels of another protein known as zonulin. And this is bad news because researchers have demonstrated that zonulin can increase your intestinal permeability. And leave you with a leaky gut, which I’ve already discussed.
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
Sugar is no longer confined to baked goods that we limit to special occasions. 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, and the list goes on and on. And 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. And the problem most associated with bloating is fructose.
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. Because fruit provides a wealth of nutrients, including powerful antioxidants and fiber. However, some fruits have a higher fructose to glucose ratio than others. So, when it comes to getting rid of bloating, I recommend avoiding the following fruits:
- Fresh figs
- Dried fruits
- Citrus fruits
- Passion fruit
However, 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.
There are two main issues when it comes to bloating and dairy.
- The main protein (casein) in milk is among one of the top highly allergenic foods. Thus, for many, it causes gut inflammation when consumed.
- 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.
Sad, but true. 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 obscene 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. And this is true for all carbonated drinks whether alcohol is involved or not. Thus, it’s wise to skip all fizzy drinks, including sparkling water.
Now I don’t recommend alcohol when you’re bloated. But, I do recognize sometimes a drink is in order. If the occasion arises, stick to ONE glass of red wine. Or a splash of rum, gin or tequila on the rocks.
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 as well as offer many other health benefits.
Splenda, Equal, and Sweet N’ Low are no better than sugar or high fructose corn syrup. Some may even argue they’re worse. Simply put, they’re just a bunch of nasty chemicals (i.e., aspartame and sucralose) that your body isn’t designed to digest. Period.
Cruciferous veggies (with exceptions)
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 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. For most people, bloating is linked to indigestion.
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 in your food that you’ve eaten.
When this happens, the undigested food moves into your large intestine. There it is fermented by gas-producing bacteria. And 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.
Dehydration is another common culprit of bloating because it forces your body to retain water and swell. And it’s a common a phenomenon. In fact, it is estimated that 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated. What’s even worse is that sometimes getting rid of excess water can be more difficult than releasing gas. And dehydration can even cause your face to bloat. No thank you! Some other things to consider when it comes to bloating are your eating habits, such as:
- Eating too fast
- Eating on the run
- Eating under stress
- Eating too much
The Bottom Line
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. Thus, if you've tried all these diet suggestions to get rid of bloating and still have had no success, please seek professional help.