Aside from being uncomfortable, bloating can be a major confidence-killer. It’s also super-common—even people who work out regularly and generally eat well deal with it. In fact, it’s one of the most common issues my nutrition clients struggle with. Somebody can be crushing it at the gym and sticking to nourishing, whole foods, all while killing it in their career, but rather than acknowledge their awesome work, all they can focus on is how puffy they feel and want to know what they can do about it in time for that wedding this weekend.
Some common culprits behind bloating:
Keeping a food journal and tracking how bloated you feel is a great way to pinpoint whether certain foods or beverages are triggers for you. It may also give some insight into other factors like hormonal fluctuations, stress, or physical activity (or lack thereof). That said, talk to your doctor if your bloating is persistent or severe. Sometimes it can be a symptom of an underlying health issue.
The good news is that what we eat (and don’t eat) can usually help. If you want to feel better fast, try this one-day de-bloating plan.
Dilute the juice of one lemon with 8 ounces of warm water. Sip slowly and take a moment to allow your brain and body to wake up. While the lemon acts as a diuretic, the warm water helps hydrate you and stimulates digestion as your body gets used to the idea of being awake. For the rest of the day, drink plenty of water—but stay away from alcohol and carbonated beverages, since they can make you feel more bloated. You can have a cup or two of coffee or tea (they act as mild diuretics, and can help de-bloat you) but don't overdo it.
Probiotic bacteria found in fermented foods like yogurt and kefir promote good digestion and fight swelling and inflammation. I often recommend kefir because it’s almost lactose-free, making it easier to digest if you’re sensitive to dairy. Just stick with plain to sidestep sugar and artificial sweeteners.
Potassium is a mineral that plays a key role in cell function, including regulating fluid balance. Potassium-rich foods can help counteract the effects of sodium and ease bloating. Reach for avocado, banana, sweet potato, pumpkin, tomatoes, leafy greens, oranges, and cantaloupe.
To make grilled asparagus, trim stems and toss asparagus with olive oil and spices of choice. For example, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, dried parsley, pepper, rosemary, and thyme.
Preheat oven to 400°F and roast asparagus until tender and starting to caramelize—about 7 to 10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the asparagus.
To assemble salad, toss spinach leaves with halved cherry tomatoes and cucumber wedges with 2 teaspoons olive oil and the juice of one lemon. Pour onto a plate. Top with roasted asparagus spears and two soft-boiled eggs (or however you like your eggs).
Spritz lime or lemon juice over half an avocado and top with 1 teaspoon hemp hearts. Enjoy with a spoon right out of the skin.
Fennel is high in potassium and has been used in Eastern medicine to reduce post-meal digestive spasms—key factors in gas buildup and bloating. It contains a phytonutrient called anethole, which has also been studied for its ability to help fight inflammation in the body.
Makes 2 servings
Ingredients for Fish:
Ingredients for Fennel Salad:
Peppermint is a great choice for soothing the digestive tract after a meal. You can buy bagged tea or make your own by steeping fresh mint leaves in hot water and straining into a cup to drink.
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