14 Foods That Help With Bloating And Eating Tips 2024

Heather Freudenthal
Dr. Maya Frankfurt, PhD
Bloating is an uncomfortable full feeling that often comes from a poor diet. Discover the 14 best foods that help with bloating.
foods that help with bloating
Learn the best foods to beat bloating. Photo: Ba Le Ho

Bloating happens when the stomach and other parts of the gastrointestinal system[1] become full of gas and stretch, often leading to pain, flatulence, and discomfort. Bloating can range from mild to severe and is linked to certain foods, constipation, or certain gastrointestinal disorders, such as celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, or irritable bowel syndrome.

Supplementation and lifestyle approaches can help you debloat fast. However, one of the best places to start is by adjusting your diet. In this article, we outline 14 foods that help with bloating and discuss tactics for stress management and eating habits that can also help alleviate bloating.

14 Foods That Help With Bloating

Bloating is an uncomfortable sensation that is often triggered by certain foods. However, many foods help to alleviate bloating. These foods include many fruits, herbs, and vegetables, namely:

  • Avocados.
  • Cucumbers.
  • Berries.
  • Bananas. 
  • Pineapples. 
  • Papayas. 
  • Beets. 
  • Sweet Potatoes.  
  • Yogurt. 
  • Fennel. 
  • Celery. 
  • Ginger. 
  • Turmeric. 
  • Peppermint.

14 Foods That Help Decrease Bloating

foods that help with bloating
Avocados can help alleviate bloating. Photo: Shutterstock

Bloating and stomach pain can happen in the morning, afternoon, or evening. To get ahead of it, explore this list of foods that help with bloating and incorporate as many as you can into your diet.

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Avocados

Avocados are an excellent source of fiber, which supports digestive regularity, reducing incidences of constipation. Additionally, avocados are high in potassium. Foods high in potassium help the body avoid water retention by regulating sodium and fluid balance.[2]

Cucumbers

Cucumbers are one of the best natural foods that help with bloating due to their high water content. Cucumbers are 95% water.[3] This high water content provides hydration, which can help relieve gas and bloating.

Berries

There are many varieties of berries, including blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, goji berries, and cranberries. All of these berries are high in antioxidants and fiber.[4] Fiber helps relieve bloating by encouraging bowel movements and alleviating constipation[5] and gas.

Consistent bowel movements are one way to keep toxins moving out of the body regularly. However, other ways to help the body naturally detox include staying adequately hydrated and limiting alcohol.

Bananas 

Like avocados, bananas are high in potassium, an essential mineral to help balance fluid and sodium in the body. Bananas are also an excellent source of fiber to help keep the bowels moving regularly.

Pineapples 

Pineapples contain bromelain,[6] a natural digestive enzyme that helps break down food. By ingesting pineapple with your meals, you are aiding in the digestive process, helping to reduce undigested food that can stay stuck in the digestive tract and potentially cause bloating.

Papayas 

Just like pineapple, papayas contain natural digestive enzymes, specifically papain,[7] which helps break down protein. Papain may not exist in the ripened fruit in high enough quantities to make a significant difference in bloating. However, many digestive enzyme supplements contain papain, which is extracted from papayas and delivered in high concentrations.

Beets 

Among its many health benefits, beets have diuretic properties,[8] which can help flush fluids out of the body, leading to less bloating and gas. The high fiber content in beets helps feed healthy gut bacteria, leading to a more diverse gut ecosystem and a better-functioning digestive system.

Sweet Potatoes  

Similar to bananas and avocados, sweet potatoes[9] pack a one-two punch with high fiber and potassium. This combination helps encourage healthy bowel movements and reduces fluid retention in the body, which can help alleviate bloating.

Yogurt 

Yogurt, whether made from dairy milk or plant milk, contains probiotics[10] or live cultures of bacteria/organisms that develop during the fermentation process. These bacteria help promote gut health by breaking down food and producing vitamins and minerals from the food.

Yogurt and other fermented foods, such as kimchi and sauerkraut, can help alleviate bloating by supplying probiotics, which increase beneficial gut bacteria to support digestion and overall health. 

Fennel 

Fennel is one of the best foods that you can eat to reduce bloating quickly. This is due to fennel’s antispasmodic[11] effects, meaning it decreases muscular contractions in the gastrointestinal tract. Fennel seeds can be eaten raw or lightly toasted and can be consumed in a moment of bloating and discomfort.

Celery 

Celery is also one of the best foods that help with bloating and gas. In fact, celery is in a plant family similar to fennel. Like cucumbers, celery is also composed of mostly water[12] and is considered a diuretic, helping to hydrate and flush the system. 

Ginger 

Ginger is soothing to the digestive system in more ways than one. Ginger can reduce inflammation and relieve nausea. For gas and bloating, specifically, ginger can speed up food transit time,[13] decreasing the amount of time food can sit in the system and for gas to build up.

Turmeric 

Turmeric is an East Asian spice that has anti-inflammatory properties and numerous benefits for gut health. In particular, it has been studied[14] for its positive effects in treating various symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), including gas and bloating.

Peppermint 

Peppermint, including peppermint oil and tea, is high on the list of foods that will help with bloating when taken in a moment of discomfort. In studies, peppermint[15] was both safe and successful in helping to manage IBS symptoms such as gas and bloating.

Eating Tips To Prevent Bloating 

foods that help with bloating
Chewing your food helps prevent bloating. Photo: Shutterstock

If you have tried adjusting your diet to include foods that help with bloating but have insufficient results, you may have to look beyond diet. Consider the following lifestyle and eating habits that may need to be addressed to reduce bloating.

Chew Your Food

Even with the best, low-bloat diet, insufficiently chewed food can lead to bloating as it is digested. Chewing each bite allows the enzymes in your saliva and the teeth to grind properly to break down the food before swallowing.

Relax

Stress can disrupt[16] the digestive process, allowing undigested food particles to linger in the digestive system. Rather than passively hoping for a stress-free meal, take proactive measures to relax when you sit down to eat. Breathe deeply, practice gratitude, and pause between bites. Eating more intentionally will allow you to enjoy your meal more while taking a break.

Hydrate

Hydration cannot be overlooked for overall health and its ability to help food pass through the digestive tract. Hydrate adequately throughout the day, especially between meals, to assist in digestion and prevent bloating. Drink six to eight glasses of water[17] per day; more if it is hot or you are active.

Eat Smaller Meals

Give your digestive system a break by not overburdening it with large meals. The larger the meal, the more food and air get swallowed, leading to a higher potential for bloating. Eat smaller, more frequent meals rather than large ones, but do not skip meals entirely. It is suggested that eating on a regular schedule[18] can be beneficial for bloating.

Avoid Bloating Foods 

Just as important as incorporating bloat-reducing foods is avoiding bloat-promoting foods, such as fatty, fried foods, grains, dairy, gluten, beans, cruciferous vegetables, garlic, and onions. You may need to experiment with these foods to see how you react.

Stretch And Exercise

Bloating can happen when air and food get trapped inside the gastrointestinal system and produce gas. You can physically help move air and food along by moving your body with gentle exercise. Stretch before and after each meal to relieve gas, exercise gently, and make movement a part of your overall healthy lifestyle routine.

Take Digestive Enzymes

If you are prone to bloating or know you will be eating food that can cause bloating, taking a digestive enzyme before or during your meal may be helpful. This can help decrease the chances of bloating afterward.

Conclusion

Bloating can be a symptom of a medical condition such as irritable bowel syndrome or celiac disease but is most often caused by ingesting certain foods. Fortunately, for every food that may cause bloating, many other foods relieve bloating.

Foods that help decrease bloating include high-fiber fruits and vegetables; foods that contain potassium, such as bananas, sweet potatoes, and avocados; foods high in water, such as cucumber and celery; and herbs and spices, such as ginger, fennel, peppermint, and turmeric.Detail content Detail content Detail content Detail content

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I eat if I am bloated?

If you feel hungry, you should eat, even if you feel bloated. If your bloating is severe enough to interfere with your appetite or ability to eat, consult a doctor.

Will the bloating go away if I don’t eat?

Not necessarily. Avoiding eating may temporarily help you avoid bloating, but it is not a safe practice to regularly avoid eating. Additionally, hunger may give rise to additional gastrointestinal problems. Instead, it is more beneficial to find the true cause of bloating in your diet and daily life and address it directly.

Why am I so bloated when I don’t eat?

Bloating can take time to develop, so you may experience bloating in between meals rather than right after meals. Also, your bloating may be due to a medical condition that is unrelated to food. Finally, it is suggested that eating smaller, regular meals can help alleviate bloating, so skipping meals may worsen your bloating.

How long does staying bloated last?

This depends on your reason for bloating. If the bloating is due to consuming certain foods, you may experience bloating for several hours or days while the food digests and passes through your body. If your bloating is due to a medical condition, it could last longer until it is resolved.

What is the best supplement for bloating?

Good bloating relief supplements usually contain peppermint, ginger, fennel, licorice, digestive enzymes, probiotics, or any combination of these ingredients. However, individuals react differently to different supplements. Consult your doctor to find one that works for you.

Resources

  1. Healthdirect.gov.au. (2023). Bloating. [online] Available at: https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/bloating.
  2. McLean, R. and Nan Xin Wang (2021). Potassium. Elsevier eBooks, [online] pp.89–121. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/bs.afnr.2021.02.013.
  3. Usda.gov. (2023). FoodData Central. [online] Available at: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/1103352/nutrients.
  4. and, D. (2023). Eating, Diet, & Nutrition for Constipation. [online] National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Available at: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/constipation/eating-diet-nutrition.
  5. Duc Long Tran and Palittiya Sintusek (2023). Functional constipation in children: What physicians should know. World Journal of Gastroenterology, [online] 29(8), pp.1261–1288. doi:https://doi.org/10.3748/wjg.v29.i8.1261.
  6. NCCIH. (2019). Bromelain. [online] Available at: https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/bromelain.
  7. Olha Kostiuchenko, Kravchenko, N.A., Markus, J., Burleigh, S., Olexandr Fedkiv, Cao, L., Letasiova, S., Skibo, G.G., Frida Fåk Hållenius and Olena Prykhodko (2022). Effects of Proteases from Pineapple and Papaya on Protein Digestive Capacity and Gut Microbiota in Healthy C57BL/6 Mice and Dose-Manner Response on Mucosal Permeability in Human Reconstructed Intestinal 3D Tissue Model. Metabolites, [online] 12(11), pp.1027–1027. doi:https://doi.org/10.3390/metabo12111027.
  8. Coles, L. and Clifton, P.M. (2012). Effect of beetroot juice on lowering blood pressure in free-living, disease-free adults: a randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Nutrition Journal, [online] 11(1). doi:https://doi.org/10.1186/1475-2891-11-106.
  9. Usda.gov. (2023). FoodData Central. [online] Available at: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/168484/nutrient.
  10. NCCIH. (2016). Probiotics: What You Need To Know. [online] Available at: https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/probiotics-what-you-need-to-know.
  11. Mahajan, L. and Kaplan, B. (2011). Chronic Abdominal Pain of Childhood and Adolescence. [online] doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/b978-1-4377-0774-8.10007-7.
  12. Usda.gov. (2023). FoodData Central. [online] Available at: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/1103346/nutrients.
  13. Mehrnaz Nikkhah Bodagh, Maleki, I. and Azita Hekmatdoost (2018). Ginger in gastrointestinal disorders: A systematic review of clinical trials. Food Science and Nutrition, [online] 7(1), pp.96–108. doi:https://doi.org/10.1002/fsn3.807.
  14. Qin Xiang Ng, Yu, A., Loke, W., Nandini Venkatanarayanan, Donovan Yutong Lim and Yeo, W.-S. (2018). A Meta-Analysis of the Clinical Use of Curcumin for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Journal of Clinical Medicine, [online] 7(10), pp.298–298. doi:https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm7100298.
  15. Nuha Alammar, Wang, L., Saberi, B., Nanavati, J., Holtmann, G., Shinohara, R.T. and Mullin, G.E. (2019). The impact of peppermint oil on the irritable bowel syndrome: a meta-analysis of the pooled clinical data. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, [online] 19(1). doi:https://doi.org/10.1186/s12906-018-2409-0.
  16. Konturek PC;Brzozowski T;Konturek SJ (2023). Stress and the gut: pathophysiology, clinical consequences, diagnostic approach and treatment options. Journal of physiology and pharmacology : an official journal of the Polish Physiological Society, [online] 62(6). Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22314561/.
  17. NHS Choices (2023). Water, drinks and hydration. [online] Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/food-guidelines-and-food-labels/water-drinks-nutrition/.
  18. Healthdirect.gov.au. (2023). Bloating. [online] Available at: https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/bloating#:~:text=Try%20to%20eat%20regularly%20and%20slowly.%20This%20will%20also%20help%20to%20prevent%20digestive%20problems.

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