Everyone experiences bloating sometimes.
You know the feeling: your pants don’t want to button and your gut feels full and uncomfortable. It’s bloating, and it can be caused by a variety of factors from hormones and medical conditions to food.
Foods with higher water content
Foods that are made up mostly of water can help with bloating, as dehydration can cause the digestive system to slow down. Consuming foods that contain a high percentage of water can help keep things moving. Plus, most of the foods highest on this list also contain fiber, which helps keep the digestive system moving.
When it comes to bloating, fiber is a double-edged sword. Some high-fiber foods called FODMAPs can trigger bloating. FODMAPs (which stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols) are a type of carbohydrate “that can be harder to digest, and in certain individuals create IBS symptoms, including gas, bloating, cramping and diarrhea,” says Matthew Black, a registered dietitian with the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.
Probiotics are the so-called good bacteria that live in the gut. They consume prebiotics, or soluble fibers and resistant starches.
Foods that are high in potassium
The National Institutes of Health reports that potassium — an essential nutrient found in a range of foods — helps regulate cellular function.
Peppermint and ginger
If you’ve ever felt seasick, you likely were advised to sip some flattened ginger ale or a cup of peppermint tea. Both have soothing properties that may help alleviate bloating and the stomach upset that often accompanies it.
Other tips for bloat relief
Bloating is a common problem, and adding foods to your diet may not provide the relief you’re looking for.
Talk to your doctor.
A range of medical conditions and medications can trigger gastrointestinal symptoms including bloating, Lee says. For example, a condition called small intestinal bacteria overgrowth, or SIBO, “can cause bloating due to excess bacteria in the small bowel.”
Try an elimination diet.
Determining exactly which foods cause you to experience bloating can be one strategy for limiting bloating. Removing all known triggers, such as high-FODMAP foods and then slowly adding them back in to see which ones trigger symptoms, can help you figure out exactly which items are problematic and may help you keep some healthy foods in your diet that might otherwise be eliminated.
Choose foods that are less likely to cause bloating.
Foods that are lower in FODMAPs and that don’t contain known allergy triggers, such as lactose and gluten, may be less likely to cause bloating.
Follow a balanced diet.
“I often recommend the Mediterranean diet for my patients,” Dweck says. This balanced, plant-based diet is naturally low in sugar and offers heart and immune system benefits. It can also offer weight management benefits, she says.
Consider adding a probiotic.
Black says that for some people, adding a probiotic supplement might help with bloating. “Probiotics can be helpful with bloating, but should be used proactively, rather than waiting until you’re symptomatic and then turning to their use.”
Get tailored advice.
Lastly, Black says there can be a lot of dietary culprits of bloating, and you may need individual support from a professional to sort through it all. “Determining the cause of your intestinal bloating can be difficult and sometimes requires further diagnostics or possibly consultation with a GI specialist. Once the root cause of your GI symptoms have been determined, you could ask for a referral to a registered dietitian who can assist you in making the necessary modifications to your diet without over-restricting.”
Foods and other strategies that stop bloating
More from U.S. News