The last thing you want to worry about before a busy day is a swollen belly, stomach pain or feeling uncomfortably full.
Bloating can be related to a number of factors, so it's a good idea to investigate the root cause of your individual problem — that way, you can be better equipped to know how to fix it, per John Hopkins Medicine.
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For one, the food we eat — and how we at it — can sometimes cause stomach discomfort and swelling. The following dietary factors are common contributors to bloat, says dietitian Rebecca Ditkoff, RD:
- Eating too quickly
- Not chewing enough
- Eating too much salt
- Not drinking enough water
- Eating too much fiber
- Drinking carbonated beverages often
Other causes of bloating, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, include:
- Lactose intolerance
- Swallowing excess air
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO)
- Gastroparesis, or abnormally slow stomach emptying
In some cases, eating certain foods can actually help with bloating. Try these non-bloating breakfast foods recommended by dietitians to start your day with ease.
Extra sodium might be the culprit behind your stomach swelling. In this case, dietitian Chelsey Amer, RDN, recommends adding a high-potassium food like pineapple to your breakfast.
"Potassium is the antidote to sodium in your body and will help flush out water to banish the bloat ASAP," Amer says.
But that's not the only reason she recommends pineapple. "Pineapple contains an enzyme called bromelain that helps aid protein digestion," Amer says. The bromelain in pineapple can help your digestion work smoothly and protect you from inflammation, which can help reduce the bloat.
Amer encourages thinking outside the box when it comes to incorporating pineapple into your daily breakfast routine. "Personally, I love adding thinly sliced pineapple rings on top of whole-grain toast with ricotta cheese."
When it comes to bloating, people are sometimes wary of fiber. But it's important to understand there are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Depending on the reason behind your bloating, you might choose one over the other, dietitian Melanie Klesse, RD, tells LIVESTRONG.com
If constipation is the direct cause of your bloating, insoluble fiber is the way to go. "But for most individuals whose bloating is attributable to certain types of foods, you're likely to experience less bloating and pain with soluble fiber foods like oatmeal," Klesse says.
Klesse recommends instant oats over heartier, steel-cut oats when you're bloated. "Instant oats have a softer texture and are pre-cut during processing, which means that they empty from the stomach quicker, resulting in less opportunity for bloat."
If your bloating is related to IBS, Ditkoff recommends oats prepared with water or lactose-free milk and topped with low-FODMAP additions such as slivered almonds or walnuts and blueberries or strawberries. The low-FODMAP diet is an elimination diet that avoids short-chain carbohydrates that may be difficult for people with IBS to digest, according to the Mayo Clinic.
We've covered two important nutrients when it comes to getting rid of the bloat — potassium and soluble fiber. Bananas are high in both potassium and soluble fiber, making them a great breakfast option.
The potassium in bananas can help regulate excess sodium in your body and get rid of swelling related to fluid retention. And if you're constipated, the soluble fiber in bananas can make your stool softer and help you go.
Choose a banana that’s slightly green rather than overly ripe — unripe bananas will be higher in soluble fiber and gut-friendly prebiotics.
As simple as it seems, starting your day with water can do wonders for your bloated belly. If your body is retaining water from a salty meal the night before, drinking water can actually help flush out excess fluid.
Water can also help if your bloating is caused by constipation. "Soluble fiber absorbs water, which tends to soften the stool and makes passage easier," Klesse says. So, if you're eating plenty of fiber, make sure you're drinking enough water to go along with it.
Don’t swallow excess air when you’re drinking water. How do you ensure that? Stay away from straws and carbonated waters. Enjoy your water plain or infuse it with cucumber, lemon, pineapple or ginger for added digestion benefits.
5. Coconut Water
Coconut is jam-packed with potassium, providing 13 percent of your Daily Value in one cup, per the USDA. While drinking coconut water on its own might help get rid of the bloat, pairing it with other bloat-reducing foods is also a smart idea.
Try blending a tropical smoothie with coconut water, banana, pineapple and some greens for a bloat-banishing potassium punch.
“If bloating is associated with pain and gas, it may be time to discuss these symptoms with your health care provider,” Ditkoff says.