Diary / Wellness / Sep 26, 2022
An RD’s Essentials for Beating Bloat
Written by: Amy Shapiro, MS, RD, CDN
What most don’t know is that bloating doesn’t always mean something is wrong. Different digestive systems have unique reactions to foods and drinks-it’s just how we are built! It’s important to know what foods do and don’t work for you but also how to recover if say you just can’t pass up that ice cream, like to use extra soy sauce or want to dive head first into a huge kale salad. We can all agree that bloating can feel uncomfortable, decrease morale and well make us feel a little self conscious. Who has time for that? For all those times you want to feel your best, have these ingredients in your kitchen to help debloat you and watch your mood and energy soar!
Sounds so simple, right? Well, it is! Water is an effective and affordable tool to fight bloat. Did you know that we retain water when we are dehydrated? Drink up to flush out! Dehydration can also lead to constipation, which can cause bloating and belly detention (no thank you!). We recommend aiming for 80-100 oz of water per day, since staying hydrated is a really easy way to keep bloat at bay and remain cool during the warmer months. Add lemon, electrolytes or other fruit for an extra flavor boost!
Ignore the fake news about bananas-they're a terrific, potassium-filled fruit that is portable, delicious and satisfying. Potassium in foods helps prevent water retention by managing sodium levels in the body. Too much salt can lead to bloat, which makes bananas your friend. We consider bananas a “flat belly food.” They also contain soluble fiber, which helps prevent constipation. Yes, please!
Fruit that is high in water and fiber content yet low in sugar like blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries, helps to decrease bloat by relieving constipation, increasing gastric motility, and preventing dehydration. Not to mention they are rich in antioxidants, which will fight free radical sun damage. Hydration is key to minimize distension and keep the GI tract happy. Stock up on berries during the warmer months, when it’s easier to lose water through sweat! If fresh isn’t available, stock up on frozen berries and toss them into your yogurt, smoothie or water to keep things delicious and debloating.
When you feel bloated, you want to quickly move things along in your GI tract to relieve symptoms. Ginger helps do just that. Research shows that it may help decrease pressure, cramping, gas, and bloating in the GI tract due to its carminative effect. Ginger also has been shown to increase gastric motility, which minimizes bloat quickly. Toss some into your morning lemon water, add to your smoothie or steep some ginger tea any time of the day.
During the warmer months, an iced green tea can do wonders for bloat. It’s rich in antioxidants, which may help keep gastrointestinal distention and inflammation at bay. Research shows that green tea may have a minor diuretic effect, which helps flush out excess water and sodium. Additionally, it contains caffeine and EGCG, two compounds that may support weight loss by boosting metabolism. We enjoy it hot instead of coffee in the morning or iced later in the afternoon. Up your game by adding ginger and lemon and crush your bloat in an instant.
Enjoy one or all of these debloating ingredients easily found pretty much anywhere you travel. Incorporate them into your summer routine along with a balanced diet so you can feel confident no matter what comes your way!