You probably know that rich desserts, fried foods and junk food can throw your gut out of whack – from leaving you constipated and bloated to decimating the good bacteria in your gut microbiome, but, of course, there has to be another side of the coin. We’ll be sharing some of the foods proven to combat the effect of bloating – plus, get ready for 3 delicious, FREE recipes packed with these gut-boosting ingredients.
Bloating – that uncomfortable feeling of a swollen belly, can strike when you least expect it, and often at the worst possible time, whether it’s when you’re trying to get your favourite pair of pants on or right before you’re headed off to sleep. Bloating can make you feel sluggish and self-conscious, but the good news is that certain foods can be your allies in the battle.
Simple Foods to Fight the Bloat
These delicious ingredients are common, affordable and work perfectly in a number of dishes – so be sure to feature them in your meals as often as you can. Note that if you continue eating triggering foods like sugary desserts and fried snacks, you might not experience the full effects of these anti-bloating foods – they’re potent but they’re not miracle workers!
Cucumber: This hydrating veggie is packed with water and provides a natural diuretic effect, helping to flush excess salt and water from your system.
Ginger: Known for its anti-inflammatory properties, ginger can help soothe your digestive system and alleviate bloating and gas.
Peppermint: Peppermint tea or oil can relax the muscles of your gastrointestinal tract, reducing bloating and promoting smoother digestion.
Pineapple: Packed with bromelain, an enzyme that aids in breaking down proteins, pineapple can enhance digestion and reduce bloating.
Papaya: Papaya contains papain, another enzyme that supports digestion by breaking down proteins and reducing inflammation in the gut.
Fennel: Fennel seeds or bulbs are known for their ability to relax the muscles in your gastrointestinal tract, reducing gas and bloating.
Bananas: High in potassium, bananas help balance your body's sodium levels and reduce water retention, which can lead to bloating.
Yoghurt: Choose probiotic-rich yoghurt to maintain a healthy balance of gut bacteria, promoting better digestion and reducing gas.
Watermelon: This refreshing fruit is mostly water and can help keep you hydrated, preventing water retention and bloating.
Asparagus: Asparagus acts as a natural diuretic, flushing excess salt and water from your body, which can alleviate bloating.
Oats: Oats are high in soluble fibre, which can promote regular bowel movements and reduce the likelihood of constipation-related bloating.
Kiwi: Rich in fibre and containing the enzyme actinidin, kiwi can help with digestion and reduce the formation of gas.
Lemon: Lemon water can stimulate your digestive system and help reduce bloating, it also makes for a jazzed-up twist on your usual glass of aqua. Every time you make a salad, don’t forget to squeeze some lemon over the top! It’s such an easy – and delicious – way to experience the benefits.
Avocado: Avocado is a source of healthy fats and fibre, which can keep your digestive system running smoothly.
Turmeric: This spice has anti-inflammatory properties that can help soothe an irritated digestive system and reduce bloating.
Celery: Celery is a natural diuretic and can help reduce water retention and bloating.
Berries: Berries are high in antioxidants and fibre, supporting healthy digestion and reducing bloating.
Coriander: This herb can help relax the digestive muscles, reducing gas and bloating.
Spinach: Spinach is high in fibre, antioxidants and vitamins, and is known to promote regular bowel movements, preventing constipation-related bloating.
Lentils: Ah, the humble lentil – a hearty, satisfying and nutritious ingredient that can elevate the profile of any dish. They also happen to be a good source of protein and fibre, aiding digestion and reducing gas. Other whole grains like quinoa, amaranth and millet are all powerful digestive aids – you really can’t go wrong when you stick to minimally-processed foods.
Let’s take a look at some delicious recipes featuring these ingredients.
Ginger and Pineapple Smoothie
Refreshing, nourishing and so easy to make, this smoothie will be a go-to for the summer months.
- 1 cup fresh pineapple chunks
- 1 small banana
- 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
- 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup coconut water
- Ice cubes
- Place the pineapple chunks, banana, grated ginger, Greek yogurt, and coconut water in a blender.
- Blend until smooth.
- If the smoothie is too thick, you can add a few ice cubes and blend again.
- Pour into a glass and enjoy this refreshing and bloat-fighting smoothie.
Fennel and Asparagus Salad
- 1 bunch of asparagus, trimmed and blanched
- 1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
- In a large bowl, combine the blanched asparagus, sliced fennel, and fresh parsley leaves.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice and extra-virgin olive oil to create the dressing.
- Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss to coat.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- If desired, sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese on top.
- Serve as a fresh and bloat-fighting salad.
Coriander and Lemon Quinoa
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
- 2 cups water
- 1/2 cup fresh coriander, finely chopped
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 half an avocado, chopped into squares
- Half a cup chickpeas (or beans of choice: we love adding edamame!)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Sliced almonds (optional, for garnish)
- In a medium saucepan, combine the quinoa and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the quinoa is cooked and the water is absorbed.
- Fluff the quinoa with a fork and transfer it to a large bowl.
- Add the finely chopped coriander, lemon zest, avocado and lemon juice to the quinoa.
- Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Toss everything together until well combined.
- If desired, garnish with sliced almonds for added crunch.
- Enjoy this zesty and bloat-fighting quinoa dish.
These recipes incorporate ingredients known for their digestive benefits, making them both delicious and supportive of a bloat-free lifestyle. Keep in mind that individual reactions to these foods may vary, so it's essential to pay attention to your body's response and ease your way into a dietary change. Balancing your diet with these bloat-busting options and maintaining a healthy, whole-food-based eating pattern can contribute to a more comfortable life – not to mention the decrease in risks for chronic diseases like obesity. Don’t forget, it’s not just about what you eat – it’s also about what you don’t eat. A diet high in added sugar can disrupt the balance of beneficial and harmful gut bacteria. This imbalance can affect digestion and increase gas production.
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