Picture the pufferfish—or blowfish, as some call them. One minute they’re normal-sized fish, and the next minute they’re puffed up like balloons! Although pufferfish blow themselves up with water and air as a way to protect themselves against predators, many of us can feel like we’ve turned into pufferfish when our bellies balloon against our own will. It’s often a result of eating something our bodies don’t agree with (such as dairy) or because we’ve got serious water retention going on (like from eating fast food).
Luckily, you can deflate your ballooned belly and beat bloat simply by choosing the right foods to eat. Find out the powerful, healthy foods that can tame your tummy and then discover the 40 Flat-Belly Truths You Must Know by 40!
Not only are fennel seeds one of the good guys on our list of Best and Worst Foods for Your Breath, fennel seeds also contain a compound that relaxes GI spasms, allowing gassy cramps to subside and giving you relief from the bloat. Chew on the seeds directly or sip on a fennel tea.
If you’re bloated and retaining water, snacking on some chunks of honeydew melon is a smart move. While the fruit helps flush excess water from your system, it also acts as a natural electrolyte replacement due to its high potassium levels.
APPLE CIDER VINEGAR
What can’t ACV do? The sweetheart of the superfood-conscious crowd gets another gold star for its ability to improve your digestive process by helping maintain appropriate levels of stomach acid. It beats bloat while keeping your gut bacteria healthy, so we strongly suggest you sip on one of these 8 Awesome Apple Cider Vinegar Detox Drinks the next time you need to depuff!
Hydrating, high-fiber, delicious, and easy on the eyes, kiwi also gives your sluggish bowels a kick. A study by researchers in Pacific Asia found that IBS sufferers who ate two kiwis a day for four weeks had less constipation and overall fewer IBS symptoms than those who didn’t.
Lemons are one of the most famous diuretics and ways to detox. Lemon polyphenols have been shown to aid in weight loss, provide an antioxidant boost, reduce inflammation in the digestive tract, and relieve that balloon in your belly. Sip on lemon-infused water, but only if you made it at home. The lemon wedges from restaurants are actually one of the 20 Things You Should Never Eat or Drink at a Chain Restaurant!
Packed with fiber and boasting a mild diuretic effect, this sweet and juicy fruit has also been proven to keep the belly bloat under control. According to research published in Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, pineapple can reduce colonic inflammation that may be causing you to bloat.
Better eyesight and less bloating come together in this little orange package. A single carrot stick contains 195 milligrams of potassium to fight off the belly bloat.
Green tea is an excellent source of antioxidants, as well as boasting some diuretic benefits. Research published by the International Society for Complementary Medicine Research revealed that green tea can reduce inflammation in your digestive tract by keeping your epithelial cells healthy.
According to research published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, onion can help improve gastrointestinal issues like bloating. So dice some up and throw ’em in your next soup!
Protein-packed eggs are a great way to fuel your body for the day without bloating your belly. Skip the egg sandwich, though; those carbs and dairy aren’t helping your ballooned belly. And make sure that you’re preparing your eggs with a bit of antioxidant-rich olive oil instead of butter.
There’s a reason why a dreaded UTI makes most women reach for a glass of cranberry juice; cranberries are an excellent diuretic and flushes out your bod. To avoid the bloating that often comes along with added sugar, skip the store-bought juice (that’s also probably spiked with high-fructose corn syrup) and enjoy some unsweetened, dried cranberries.
Packed with pre- and probiotics, asparagus is an easy way to maintain the right balance of gut bacteria while helping fight off weight-related bloat. According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition, the green stalks can also help reduce your likelihood of developing obesity.
Bananas are one of the most potassium-rich fruits out there, providing both a mild diuretic effect and a burst of all-natural energy. Want to go beyond the pull-apart-and-eat version and cook more with bananas instead? Then don’t miss these 17 Amazing Ways to Eat a Banana.
All that healthy fat in avocado may be the key to preventing uncomfortable bloating. Like the nanners and other fruits on this list, the potassium in avocados can help your body flush out excess water. Meanwhile, the creamy fruit’s enzymes can make it easier for you to digest the fatty food that often blows you up.
Tight dress to wear tonight? No problem—olive oil is a bloat-fighting superhero. Thanks to olive oil’s high omega-3 fatty acid content and anti-inflammatory antioxidants, just a little bit of this healthy fat can help you kick that belly bloat to the curb. For a potent pairing, drizzle a little olive oil on your favorite fiber-rich veggie and you’ll deflate in no time.
Stop worrying about what it does to your breath; your belly will thank you. Garlic is a naturally occurring prebiotic that can help you keep your gut bacteria in check, and you’ll reap even more nutritional benefits from it if you chop, mince, or slice it at least five minutes before cooking. (Raw garlic can be pretty aggressive on the palate.) Here are more tips on How to Prepare Food to Get the Most Nutrition; prepare to be amazed!
A study published in Food & Functionality suggests that horseradish may help reduce oxygen during an inflammatory response, which can help calm down bloat. Plus, it’s been shown to impact the behavior of your fat storage genes (for the better!), so this is a great condiment to choose when you need to give something a touch more flavor.
Whenever autumn rolls around, we can’t help but wax poetic about this fabulous gourd. Packed with prebiotics, pumpkin gives your good gut bacteria something to snack on and a reason to multiply, banishing the bad as they grow. The result for you is less gas, less painful bloating, and a flatter stomach. Make the most of fall’s favorite superfood with these 20 Healthy Pumpkin Recipes for Weight Loss!
The fiber, protein, and prebiotics in an almond makes this nut a triple threat when it comes to belly bloat. Grab a handful of almonds as a snack to tide you over between meals, sprinkle them in your oatmeal, or even grind ’em up as flour or part of your morning smoothie!
Accessible, affordable, and a cinch to cook, green beans are great for filling up while deflating. They have a mild diuretic effect among their many vitamins and minerals; squeeze some lemon on them, too, and you’ll definitely be feeling lighter and slimmer in no time.
Everyone’s talking about fermented foods—and for lots of reasons. One biggie is that kimchi could be the key to banishing belly bloat for good. Like many fermented foods, it’s a powerful probiotic that many say is delicious and could help you beat gut inflammation.
High in fiber and even higher in antioxidants, blueberries are a great way to satisfy your sweet tooth while trying to slim down for that tight pair of pants. The little blue bullets have demonstrated positive effects on good gut bacteria, thus reducing the inflammatory response that can lead to belly bloat, according to research published in 3 Biotech.
Leeks are a fiber-rich way to add a gourmet flavor to your food while improving your gut health. The oligofructose in leeks can help keep you full and satisfied for longer, while their prebiotic properties can help improve your ratio of beneficial gut bacteria, fighting off inflammation in the process.
When fruit is dense in water like cantaloupe, it’s one of the simplest ways to shed that extra water that’s causing the bloat in the first place. Adding just a little cantaloupe to your diet can result in a smoother digestive process—and it’s so pretty, too. Dice some up and toss into your salad or smoothie!
Tomatoes are packed with lycopene, an antioxidant that’s been shown to have a wide variety of anti-inflammatory and debloating effects. Make sure you cook them to unlock way more lycopene than raw, though!
This humble garnish may be one of the most overlooked superfoods. Studies show that parsley is actually more dense with nutrients than kale and research has shown that parsley has both antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects. Not sure how to consume all that much of parsley? Blend it up in this Sprig of Parsley Smoothie Recipe!
Hear us out; we promise we’re not pulling your leg! Dark chocolate—the kind that’s at least 70 percent cacao—packs fiber and polyphenols, both of which can help reduce your body’s gas production. It also has a prebiotic quality to it that can increase your good gut bacteria. Yum!
Another superfood rocking the stores and restaurants this year, seaweed also has the ability to help erase your puffed-out middle. There’s a compound found in seaweed called fucoidan that has been shown to reduce IBS symptoms in mice, suggesting it could be effective in treating the same issues in humans. Worth a shot!
An enzyme (papain) contained in papaya helps break down proteins in your GI tract, which makes digestion easier and make you less susceptible to gassy bloat. This tropical fruit also has anti-inflammatory properties and is high in fiber.
The reason many turn to peppermint tea when they need to settle an upset stomach is that mint is a great, natural way to relieve gastric distress. Mint has both anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties that beat bloat.
The high fiber and potassium levels in artichokes make them a bloat-busting veggie. These tasty blossoms are also a good source of antioxidants and vitamin C, which can help reduce inflammation throughout your body and even further decrease your risk of an uncomfortable, swollen stomach.
As one of the 17 Ways to Eat Your Water, cucumbers can actually make you feel thinner! They’re super hydrating, which means they tackle the water retention aspect of bloating. They also have the flavonol antioxidant quercetin in them, which can help reduce the effects of leaky gut and fight inflammation throughout your digestive tract.
This easily-found fruit will be the apple of your eye when you realize that they pack way more benefits than just a bit of fiber. Not only do they help you debloat, a compound in the peels can turn your bad fat cells into good fat cells that burn more calories. Even better? Research published in Appetite revealed that eating an apple before a meal can reduce your total caloric intake.
Our favorite breakfast dish may also be the world’s best belly bloater. Oatmeal has been shown to have a prebiotic effect on gut bacteria, causing them to flourish like little prodigy children—resulting in a healthy and happy gut. When your gut bacteria are in balance, that bloated belly goes away faster than usual.
It’s not just for chicken! This fragrant, antioxidant-packed, and delicious herb has a profound anti-inflammatory effect, according to research published in Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity. Make sure you opt for the fresh stuff; many of the jars in your spice rack have lost their potency from not being used up fast enough.
These fuzzy fruits are worth some belly-bloating buzz because they’re an excellent source of potassium, which you know by now will help your body flush out all that extra water it’s been holding onto.
Thanks to watermelon’s high water content, noshing on it can help minimize water retention and quickly debloat you. Combined with the 170 milligrams of bloat-fighting potassium you’re getting in every cup of watermelon, you’ll have your flat stomach back in no time.
This spicy root is the go-to for anyone who’s ever had an upset stomach. According to research published in the International Journal of Preventative Medicine, ginger has powerful anti-inflammatory effects that can help reduce bloating. We suggested steeping some chopped-up chunks in hot water for a homemade ginger tea.
Turmeric is mostly curcumin, which has been shown to have a wide variety of anti-inflammatory properties and many IBS symptoms can be calmed down with turmeric, according to research published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. P.S. – If you’ve ever wondered how to actually say “turmeric,” you’re not alone; find out the 22 Commonly Mispronounced Foods—and How to Say Them!
Water rich celery does more than just add some easy crispy texture to your salads; it also has diuretic properties and 104 milligrams of potassium in every crunchy stalk.
Kefir is kind of like a tangy drinkable yogurt contains lactase, an enzyme that breaks down lactose—aka the main sugar in milk that may give you tummy trouble. A study by Ohio State University found that drinking kefir reduced lactose digestion symptoms including bloating, stomach pain, and gas by up to 70 percent!
These gorgeous bulbs are filled with fiber and have diuretic properties, meaning they can get your belly back into that tight dress without causing an unwelcome protrusion. Check out these 19 Boss Beet Recipes for plenty of eating inspo!