If you feel bloated and gassy regularly, you're not alone -- 10 to 20 percent of adults complain of gas in the form of belching or flatulence, and it's normal to emit flatus 12 to 25 per times day, according to Brigham and Women's Hospital. Sometimes, the issue can be resolved by eliminating foods that cause gas and bloating, including sodium-rich foods, cruciferous vegetables and junk food. However, you might also want to stock up on certain foods that can help reduce the occurrence of this embarrassing -- yet completely normal -- bodily function.
Fiber regulates the digestive system, helping prevent constipation that can cause gas and bloating. However, there's a fine line between just enough and too much: Overdoing it on fiber or eating the wrong fiber-rich foods can cause stomach discomfort all on its own. The type of fiber that helps regulate your digestive system is insoluble fiber, which doesn't dissolve in water. Whole-grain products such as wheat and oat bran are best for constipation, according to the Harvard School of Public Health, while other sources of insoluble fiber include brown rice, legumes, carrots, cucumbers and tomatoes. Although cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower are high in fiber, they also contain sulfur and a carbohydrate called raffinose that's difficult for your body to break down, which leads to more bloating and gas.
Pass the Probiotics
If your gas and bloating is caused by unhealthy bacteria in your digestive tract, foods that contain probiotics can help solve the problem. According to registered dietitian Kristi King, writing on the Huffington Post website, probiotics contain healthful bacteria that crowd out the bad bacteria in your gut. Look for products, such as yogurt and kefir, that note "live and active" cultures on the package.
MInerals that Soothe
The minerals magnesium and potassium help fight bloating and gas. Magnesium, which is found in green leafy vegetables, whole grains and fish such as halibut, does so by soothing constipation through relaxing the muscles in the intestinal walls, according to the website of the Dr. Oz Show. Potassium eases bloating by balancing and circulating body fluids. Add potassium-rich foods such as bananas, kiwis and strawberries to your diet.
Fight it with Fluids
When food fails, turn to fluids to help ease your pain. Water helps beat bloating caused by eating too much sodium, and it also helps keep your digestive tract functioning optimally. The Institute of Medicine recommends 2.7 liters of water a day for women and 3.7 liters a day for men. Dandelion tea can also help because it is a mild diuretic, so try drinking one cup a day to see if it helps your body.
Is This an Emergency?
- Huffington Post: Bloating Foods: What To Eat, And Not To Eat, To Avoid Abdominal Discomfort
- Dr. Oz Show: Bloating 101: How to Beat a Bulging Belly
- Brigham and Women’s Hospital: Gas: Beat the Bloat
- Harvard School of Public Health: Fiber
- Institute of Medicine: Dietary Reference Intakes: Water, Potassium, Sodium, Chloride, and Sulfate