Eating too many salty, gas-inducing foods can leave you feeling bloated like a balloon. The good news is that you can beat the bloat by following a non-bloat diet for 24 hours after overdoing it. Drink plenty of water to flush out your system, and focus on foods that help decrease fluid retention and intestinal gas. If you're bloating is due to a medical condition, speak to your doctor before changing your diet.
Curb Your Carbohydrate Intake
Some of the most nutritious foods can make you feel bloated. Beans, leeks, broccoli, cherries and avocados are sources of carbohydrates called FODMAPs, or fermentable oligo-, di, mono-saccharides and polyols. These simple sugars are fermented in the intestine by gut bacteria, creating gas and causing bloating. For 24 hours, stay away from FODMAP foods. The Oprah website recommends subbing nutritious foods like bok choy, roasted root vegetables and an eggplant dip called baba ganoush instead of hummus made with bloat-inducing chickpeas.
Focus on Foods for Water Retention
Certain foods can help reduce water retention -- the swelling, usually in the hands, feet and ankles, but also in the belly, caused by a high salt intake, hot climates and the menstrual cycle. Registered dietitian David Grotto tells Fitness magazine that celery has a high water content and special chemicals that are known to reduce water retention. Grotto also recommends cucumber, summer squash, parsley and other leafy greens. Opt for cooked vegetables instead of raw because cooking breaks down the fiber structure and makes them easier to digest, Grotto says.
Say No to Salt
Salt is your enemy when you're feeling bloated. That's because salt attracts water in your cells in an effort to maintain a proper sodium balance in your body. For at least 24 hours, reduce your salt intake and increase your intake of potassium, a mineral that helps balance sodium in the body. Foods low in sodium but high in potassium include bananas, asparagus, squash and melons. Don't add table salt your food. Instead, flavor foods with lemon juice and parsley or other fresh herbs.
Watch How You Eat and Stop Stressing
To control bloating for 24 hours -- and beyond -- take a look at some of the behaviors you might be engaging in that cause your bloating. Gastroenterologist Patricia Raymond tells the Oprah website that swallowing air while eating too fast, drinking through a straw or chewing gum are common causes of bloating. Stress worsens bloating associated with menstruation, according to the American Psychological Association, which recommends using relaxation techniques to reduce stress and its symptoms.
- ShareCare: How Can Drinking Water Help Reduce Stomach Bloating?
- Fitness: 6 Foods That Fight Off Belly Bloat
- Oprah: 4 Habits That Are Making You Feel Bloated
- Oprah: Lunches That Won't Make You Feel Bloated
- Better Health Channel: Fluid Retention
- Rodale News: How to Beat Summer Bloat Naturally
- American Psychological Association: Stress Effects on the Body