Bloating is just the pits — from the discomfort it causes to the tightness in your waistband to the way it makes you feel, well, frumpy. Not cool. But it’s also totally normal.
Most bloating is caused by water retention (that’s when your body holds on to extra water, which it might do after you’ve eaten a really salty meal) or by gas building up in your digestive tract (this often goes hand in hand with constipation).
Women may also experience some bloating during their menstrual cycles, due to fluctuating hormones. This type of bloating can’t really be tamed.
But there are plenty of foods you can eat to help relieve bloating related to water retention or gas.
Here are 35 of the best bloat-busting foods:
It’s all in the name. Watermelon is mostly water, so it can help you rehydrate and reduce bloating. It may seem counterintuitive, but getting more fluids can help flush out the excess salt that may be causing your body to hold on to water.
Like watermelon, lettuce has high water content, so it’s an easy way to add some fluid to your diet. Try mixing up a giant salad with some of the other foods on this list for an extra shot of de-bloating power.
Strawberries are full of water, but they also contain some healthy fruit fiber, which can help improve your digestion and decrease bloating associated with gas.
Bananas are rich in potassium, which can actually work to counteract the effects of a diet high in salt. This may translate to less bloating. Getting enough potassium may also improve your blood pressure — even if you’re still eating a high salt diet.
A quick PSA for folks with irritable bowel syndrome or other digestive issues: Ripe bananas have a reputation for causing gas in those with sensitive tummies. To be safe, stick to nanners with a bit of green tint, which are considered less irritating.
Cucumbers get their crunch from their super-high water content, which makes them a great snack for those days you’re really feeling the bloat. But it’s best to avoid pickles when you’re bloated — their salt content may make you retain more fluid.
Because consuming extra liquids can help with bloating, sipping on tea is a great choice. Fennel tea in particular can act as a diuretic, helping your body flush out excess fluid. And it may help with constipation and gas, which can also cause bloating.
Ginger is anti-inflammatory and can help ease an unsettled digestive system, potentially helping reduce bloating by reducing gas and constipation. When you’re feeling bloated, try sipping on ginger tea or adding dried or fresh grated ginger to your food.
Avocado is known as a healthy fat, but it’s also loaded with fiber. Fiber is a prebiotic that can help feed the healthy bacteria in your gut, decreasing gas and constipation and potentially helping with bloating. Here’s your excuse to add guac to everything!
Green tea can help with bloating simply because it’s a liquid, but it’s also full of compounds that can reduce inflammation and help your body get rid of excess fluid. Green tea contains a little caffeine, which is a natural diuretic.
If you’ve ever been shocked by the way a mountain of raw spinach cooks down into a tiny little pile of wilted leaves, then you’re well aware of how water-rich spinach is. It’s also got some fiber, so it’s a one-two punch for busting bloat.
Peppermint has long been used to improve digestion, so it may help with bloating related to gas or constipation. Try drinking a cup or two of peppermint tea next time you’re feeling bloated.
Fresh lemon is full of water, but its strong sour taste may also make you more likely to reach for some extra water to quench your thirst — which can help with bloating. Plus, lemon may stimulate your liver to release bile, which can help you better digest food and keep things from getting backed up.
Try squeezing some fresh lemon juice on your food when you’re feeling bloated or adding a wedge to warm water or hot tea.
Limes, like lemons, contain lots of water, and their zesty, sour flavor may also have you reaching for more water than usual. Let’s be real here: A squeeze of lime juice makes almost everything taste better too!
Zucchini is full of water and fiber, so it’s an ideal food for those days you’re feeling bloated. The water in zucchini can help flush out extra salt that may contribute to bloating, and the fiber may help improve your digestion and decrease bloating related to gas.
Our recommendation? Zoodles with everything.
A sprinkle of this spice can do more than add heat to your favorite drinks and dishes. Some research suggests that the capsaicin in cayenne pepper may increase the flow of digestive enzymes to help your body process food.
These tasty citrus fruits are full of water and also contain some fiber to help with bloating. They’re full of potassium too. Snacking on an orange is a great choice when you’re feeling some discomfort from bloating.
Raspberries are loaded with prebiotic fiber, which serves as a food source for your healthy gut bacteria. They’re also moisture-rich, so they’re an ideal tasty treat when you’re feeling the bloat. And they’re pretty low in sugar and calories, so they’re an all-around healthy snack.
Like other citrus fruits, grapefruit is mostly water, so it’s a hydrating choice. It’s also got some fiber and a zippy citrus kick that may have you reaching for more water to drink.
Chicken noodle soup is, surprisingly, a great choice to help with bloating — but only if it’s homemade.
Homemade versions are loaded with fibrous, good-for-you veggies like onion, carrot, and celery and contain plenty of fluid in the form of broth. You’ll also be in control of the salt content, which is important because, as we’ve learned, eating a lot of salt can make you retain fluid.
Check out some healthy recipes here.
Asparagus contains the amino acid asparagine, a natural and fast-acting diuretic — as you may have noticed if you’ve ever wondered why your pee smells terrible after eating this veggie. This can help your body get rid of the excess fluid it’s retaining, so you’re bloated no more.
Turmeric is a highly anti-inflammatory spice that may help with bloating. Chronic inflammation can lead to fluid retention, so sprinkling a little turmeric on your food may help soothe that inflammation.
Just be careful or your fingertips will end up perma-dyed bright yellow.
Papain is an enzyme in papaya that can help your body break down foods more fully, resulting in less gastrointestinal discomfort. Lucky for us, this translates to less bloating as well. This tropical fruit is a great choice when you’re feeling bloaty.
Pineapple contains an enzyme called bromelain, which, much like the papain in papaya, can help with digestion — especially protein digestion. Slow protein digestion can often lead to gas and bloating, so speeding up this process can be a real anti-bloat winner.
Chia seeds are tiny, crunchy seeds that are mostly fiber — which makes them great for digestion. In water, they expand and take on a gel-like texture. This characteristic of chia seeds makes them ideal for naturally relieving constipation and the gas and bloating that often accompany it.
Coconut water is extra hydrating because it contains electrolytes like potassium and magnesium that can help with fluid balance. This makes it the ideal beverage for when you’re feeling a little bloated, since it can help your body flush out extra salt and fluid.
Grapes, which are full of fiber and water, are the perfect thing to nosh on when you’re bloated and miserable. Caveat: Wine doesn’t have the same effect. Sorry, friends.
Blueberries, like strawberries and raspberries, are full of fiber and water and relatively low in sugar. This makes them great for decreasing bloating, especially if you combine them with probiotic yogurt and fiber-rich chia seeds.
Pears have long been recommended as a way to relieve constipation in babies and kids, and luckily the same applies to adults. They’re rich in fiber and pretty hydrating as well, so they may help relieve bloating related to digestive issues or water retention.
Pho (“fuh”) is a Vietnamese noodle soup that’s loaded with flavorful, electrolyte-rich broth. Like chicken noodle soup, it often contains fiber-rich veggies. You’ll want to limit the salt in your pho, but otherwise, grab some chopsticks and slurp the bloat away.
Yogurt is the quintessential probiotic food. Check the labels and choose yogurts that are full of good-for-your-gut live bacteria. Incorporating yogurt into your diet on the reg can help improve your digestion, so you won’t feel constipated, gassy, or bloated as often.
Apples get their crisp bite from the water they contain, but they’re also rich in a type of fiber called pectin. Pectin turns into a gel in the presence of liquid, which can help improve your digestion by decreasing constipation and the gas and bloating that often come along with it.
Eggplant is full of water, so it’s extra-hydrating and can help flush out extra salt and fluid. It’s also got a little bit of fiber, so it can serve as a gut-soothing prebiotic. It has a somewhat meaty texture and makes a great addition to stir-fries.
Here’s a list of eggplant recipes to get you started.
Pumpkin is rich in fiber and moisture and relatively low in starch and sugar — and all those qualities make it a perfect antidote for bloat. Because of its fiber content, it’s great for easing gas, bloating, and constipation.
Try using canned pumpkin in soups, smoothies, oatmeal, and baked goods.
Like its cousin watermelon, honeydew melon is mostly water, so it’s super hydrating and is a great fruit to snack on after you’ve overdone it on salt. It also has a bit of fiber that may help with bloating due to digestive issues.
On the other hand, here are the foods that may cause bloating in some people. Some of these foods (like beans, “the musical fruit”) cause bloating due to gas, and others cause bloating due to their sodium content, which can make you retain water.
- Beans and legumes. Beans and legumes can be difficult to digest because they contain oligosaccharides — a type of fiber that resists digestion until it reaches the large intestine, causing gas and bloating.
- Sodas. Carbonated soft drinks are full of bubbles, so they can cause gas to build up in your digestive tract, leading to bloating.
- Sugar alcohols. Sugar alcohols are sweet and calorie-free, but they can be difficult for many people to digest, leading to gas, abdominal pain, bloating, and diarrhea.
- Fast food. Fast food is loaded with salt, which is a key culprit in bloating because it makes you hold on to water.
- Frozen or boxed meals. Like fast food, frozen and boxed meals are super high in salt and make your body hold on to extra fluid like a sponge.
- FODMAPs. Fermentable oligo-, di-, and monosaccharides and polyols (that’s a mouthful, right?), aka FODMAPs, can cause digestive issues such as bloating for some people. Many foods are classified as FODMAPs, and you should definitely seek the help of a registered dietitian if you need help planning a low-FODMAP diet.
- Wheat. For many people with gluten intolerance or sensitivity, wheat can be a one-way ticket to Bloatsville and can cause other digestive problems too. The effects of gluten intolerance can range from mild to more serious, and people who have celiac disease often have the most significant symptoms. Talk to your doctor if you suspect you have issues with gluten.
Looking for some other ways to beat the bloat? Here are some ways to avoid bloating:
- Take a probiotic supplement, which can help balance your gut bacteria and decrease gas.
- Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and help combat the effects of eating a salty meal.
- Exercise regularly. Even light exercise can promote healthier digestion, decreasing constipation and gas.
- Look for foods with a high water or fiber content to help relieve bloating.
- Beans, soda, sugar alcohols, salty foods, FODMAPs, and wheat may cause bloating.
- Drink plenty of water, exercise regularly, and take a probiotic to help head off bloating before it starts.