Even the healthiest among us suffer from bloating every now and then. Generally, you can quell the uncomfortable—and sometimes painful—stomach swelling through hydration, probiotic supplements, and certain exercises. Another way to help reduce bloating, though, is with your diet.
These 18 foods have properties that may support a healthy gut, fight inflammation, balance fluid and sodium levels, and keep you hydrated—all factors that help manage bloat:
"They also contain fiber (one medium avocado has 9 grams of fiber or 35% of your recommended daily intake)," integrative gastroenterologist Marvin Singh, M.D., says, "which helps feed the trillions of bacteria in the gut."
Blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries are all high in dietary fiber and polyphenols to support gut health. And a gut that's running smoothly is more likely to maintain regular bowel movements and keep bloat at bay.
The potassium in bananas does more than ease muscle cramps—it can also reduce bloat by regulating sodium balance. Slightly underripe bananas also contain prebiotic fiber, which can help support healthy digestion. One small study further found that women who ate one banana experienced significantly lower bloating levels3.
Cording calls asparagus a "particularly powerful bloat-fighting food thanks to the amino acid asparagine." Asparagine acts as a natural diuretic, flushing excess fluid and salt out of the body.
Warm lemon water
Drinking warm water with lemon—especially first thing in the morning—may help reduce bloat and encourage bowel movements. The temperature of the liquid has been shown to stimulate the GI tract and promote motility6. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), adding lemon "can help improve the taste and help you drink more water7 than you usually do."
Fennel is commonly used to support GI health. "Volatile oil compounds found in the leaf, stem, fruit, and seed of this plant have been studied for their ability to effectively clear intestinal gas," Emily Kyle, R.D., explains. "These compounds are also thought to stimulate bile for better digestion, thus providing relief and preventing bloating from happening in the first place."
Yogurt is one of the most well-known probiotic foods, and it's rich in gut-friendly bacteria. Unless you're lactose intolerant, yogurt will "promote good digestion and fight swelling and bloat," Cording says.
For anyone sensitive to dairy, she recommends kefir, which is almost lactose-free.
Spinach is a magnesium-rich food that can help reduce bloating. "Magnesium decreases fluid retention, which can be the reason for bloating in the first place," functional medicine doctor Robin Berzin, M.D., says. "Enough magnesium will stimulate a bowel movement by relaxing the muscles and pulling water into the intestines."
Abby Moore is an editorial operations manager at mindbodygreen. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from The University of Texas at Austin and has previously written for Tribeza magazine. She has covered topics ranging from regenerative agriculture to celebrity entrepreneurship. Moore worked on the copywriting and marketing team at Siete Family Foods before moving to New York.