Whether you had a slightly indulgent four-day weekend, or bloat is something you suffer from regularly, no one likes that too-full belly feeling. We asked some of the country’s best functional medicine doctors to weigh in on their No. 1 food to eliminate bloat—here’s what they had to say.
1. Galangal Broth:
I love galangal broth! Galangal is the lesser-known member of the ginger family. Making a soothing broth out of galangal is a proverbial Band-Aid on a bloated gut. To boost your broth, you can add some water kefir for good probiotics and lemongrass for an extra soothing effect.
2. Anti-Bloat Tonic & Raw Ginger:
While water is my No. 1 pick for eliminating bloat, an actual drink that I make is with lemon, apple cider vinegar, ginger, water, and a little bit of honey or stevia. Chewing raw ginger with a little bit of salt and lemon is also a great remedy.
If you're feeling bloated after a meal, pop in a digestive enzyme or take a few drops of digestive bitters to support your body's digestion. Or, as they do in Indian culture, chew on a handful of mukhwas, a combination of fennel, anise, and sesame seeds, which freshens your breath while helping you digest your food.
4. Raw Almonds:
They're a perfect blend of carbohydrates, fats, and protein. They also contain fiber and prebiotics that work to improve gut flora, keep us satiated, and balance our blood sugar. Mitigating spikes in blood sugar help prevent bloat by minimizing the cortisol response that causes us to retain water.
5. Activated Charcoal:
Activated carbon (also known as activated charcoal) absorbs impurities and gas. When a patient is admitted to the ER for a drug or alcohol overdose, we administer activated charcoal to absorb and filter the toxins in their stomach. Similarly, activated charcoal can soak up the less harmful but uncomfortable gases that accumulate in your gut. It’s not a miracle fix, but it eliminates bloat. I keep a bottle of activated charcoal pills in my purse. When I’m bloated, I pop two activated charcoal pills (500 to 600 mg) to neutralize the gas. I also take it when at a restaurant that serves food of unclear quality.
The No. 1 food that eliminates bloat is a digestive aid—ginger. Ginger has many healing properties. Among them, it reduces inflammation and promotes intestinal motility. By promoting peristalsis (the rhythmic contractions of the intestines), it helps to eliminate bloat. Ginger tea or ginger kombucha after a meal makes for a perfect digestive.
7. Magnesium-Rich Foods:
Collard greens, chard, kale, spinach, pumpkin seeds, and sesame seeds. These are all magnesium-rich foods that can reduce bloating. Many of our patients are deficient in magnesium, a broad-reaching mineral that is essential to a myriad of cell processes. Magnesium decreases fluid retention, which can be the reason for bloating in the first place. Enough magnesium will stimulate a bowel movement by relaxing the muscles and pulling water into the intestines. If you are experiencing bloat and overall digestive discomfort, I suggest blending magnesium-rich greens into soups or lightly sautéing or steaming greens to decrease the overall demand on your digestive system. Soaking seeds and nuts for two to six hours will also make them easier to digest.