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6 foods to help ease bloating
Posted 5 years ago by Jo
There are a number of foods you can try to incorporate into your diet in order to help improve digestive function and help to reduce bloating. The natural properties of these foods can be helpful in reducing water retention, boosting your levels of friendly bacteria (essential in digestive health and helping to prevent and alleviate conditions like abdominal distension), as well as helping to keep your bowels moving to beat the battle of the bloat.
1) Live natural yogurt
The process of making yoghurt from milk involves fermentation. This fermentation process results in the development of live cultures in the yoghurt. As yoghurt is fermented, it has undergone a process of partial digestion which means it is often easier to digest than milk and other dairy products. The good bacteria (often referred to as 'probiotics') in the yoghurt also help to break down the lactose in the milk so those who struggle with milk as a trigger for bloating may find eating live yogurt beneficial.
Choose a live natural yoghurt without any added sugars or nasties.
2) Salad vegetables
Crisp and crunchy salad vegetables such as cucumber and celery have a high water content and act as natural diuretics. This can help not only to keep you hydrated, but can also reduce water retention - helping you to gain a flatter stomach - as water retention can cause bloating and puffiness. As an added bonus, cucumber is also rich in the mineral silica, which is brilliant for skin and nail health. (This may be why cucumbers are used in facials! I am no beautician, but this would make sense in my mind.)
Why not try vegetables with a high water content, such as cucumbers
There are a number of herbs that have been used as traditionally for many years to reduce bloating and provide relief from digestive discomfort. Possibly one of the most popular herbs to help relieve bloating is peppermint which has natural carminative (calming) properties and helps to ease abdominal discomfort and reduce bloating. The most enjoyable way to have these herbs is to infuse them as teas and sip regularly. Many of these herbs are available in delicious combinations of herbals teas which are you should easily find at your local independent health food store.
4) Fermented foods
Fermented foods such as sauerkraut (pickled cabbage) and kefir (a fermented milk drink) are slowly growing in popularity in the UK, and are commonly eaten foods in many European (sauerkraut, kefir) and Asian countries (kimchi, tempeh). The natural fermentation process increases the levels of live cultures in the foods, which may help to boost levels of probiotic bacteria in our gut, helping to improve digestive symptoms and reduce bloating. You can read more about the role of probiotics in reducing bloating here.
Sauerkraut, a type of pickled cabbage, contains friendly bacteria to support healthy digestion
5) Tropical Fruits
Certain tropical fruits such as papaya, watermelon & bananas can play a role in helping to reduce bloating. Bananas contain plenty of potassium, which helps us to maintain a healthy electrolyte balance which acts to regulate sodium levels in the body (too much sodium can act as a trigger for bloating). They also provide a useful source of soluble fibre to help keep us regular and prevent bloating.
Papaya contains a very useful anti-inflammatory compound called papain which acts as a digestive enzyme to help us to break down our food, particularly protein-rich foods.
The compound papain acts as a digestive enzyme which is good for digestion
Watermelon has a high water content, typically as high as 92%, which like our friends the salad vegetables, can help us to stay hydrated helping to reduce water retention and bloating. It is also very refreshing and kept in generous slices in the fridge makes a great summer snack.
6) Asparagus & artichokes
Certain vegetables, such as asparagus and artichokes, contain fibres known as prebiotics, which means that they provide a food source for the good bacteria in your gut. Prebiotics enable the healthy bacteria to colonise which helps to improve our digestion and reduce bloating.
Perhaps more unusually, dandelions also have prebiotic properties and make a lovely addition to summer salads. The leaves are soft and peppery and act as a useful digestive aid, helping to reduce bloating and support digestive function. They also have a bitter taste, which helps to stimulate liver function and help keep our bowels moving.
Dandelion leaves make a tasty and healthy addition to salads, helping to boost digestion and reduce bloating
In addition to these 6 foods that may help to ease bloating, you may like to read about other natural remedies for bloating here. If you are looking to read about foods that trigger bloating, take a look at my post from a few months ago, '6 top trigger foods for bloating'.
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