6 Things Dietitians Eat and Drink When They Want to Debloat
We've all enjoyed a night out with lots of delicious food (and maybe a cocktail or two) that resulted in an undesired amount of bloating the next day. While there's nothing wrong with enjoying a tasty meal, there are some foods that may cause us to experience gastrointestinal disturbances, such as bloating.
Simply put, bloating refers to a sense of fullness in the upper abdomen. This can be caused by gas or food accumulation in the stomach. Bloating can also result from an accumulation of bacteria in the small intestine, which ferments food and creates gas that causes bloating.
Bloating can feel uncomfortable or even painful. Luckily, there are a few foods that may be able to relieve some of this discomfort. Here are six things that dietitians eat when they want to debloat.
What to Eat or Drink for Bloating
1. Green Tea
If you're a fan of green tea, you may be pleased to know that it can help with bloating. Research suggests green tea may have a slight diuretic effect in the body, thanks to the combination of antioxidants and polyphenols that help flush out excess water and sodium.
Plus, Mary Ellen Phipps, M.P.H., RDN, LD, author of The Easy Diabetes Cookbook, says, "Green tea is high in antioxidants, which may reduce inflammation in the body." Phipps adds that green tea also contains caffeine, which can help "stimulate GI tract movement to reduce bloating." Try this Apple Cider Vinegar Tonic that's made with green tea for a quick and easy debloating drink.
Lemons are a natural diuretic and can even serve as a gentle laxative. Su-Nui Escobar, D.C.N., RDN says, "Lemons themselves may not be the cure to bloating. However, adding them to water can help you increase your fluid intake. [This] can reduce constipation and gas, both causes of bloating."
3. Fennel Seeds
Dixya Bhattarai, M.S., RD, says, "Fennel has been long used in many cultures around the world for alleviating GI issues." These tiny seeds contain oils that can help to reduce inflammation, gas and bacteria that cause bloating. Fennel seeds also provide a great source of fiber. Bhattarai says, "Each tablespoon of dried fennel seeds has about 2 grams of fiber." Try adding fennel seeds to a warm cup of chamomile tea, or sprinkle a tablespoon into your pancake or muffin batter.
This tropical fruit isn't just a delicious snack—it can also help relieve bloating. Amy Gorin, M.S., RDN, says, "Pineapple boasts the digestive enzyme bromelain, which helps break down the foods you eat. This can help with bloating." The core of the pineapple contains a higher amount of bromelain, so to get the maximum debloating benefits, try to extract some of the juice from the core before tossing it out. Or, if you have some extra fruit on hand, toss it into our Pineapple Green Smoothie, Pineapple Nice Cream or Pineapple and Avocado Salad.
Celery can be used in a variety of recipes, from soup to salad to celery juice. This crunchy vegetable has a high water content of about 95%, and it's also a great source of insoluble fiber and potassium, which can help to control water retention associated with bloating. The insoluble fiber in celery supports a healthy functioning digestive system by promoting frequent, healthy bowel movements. Studies show that celery is high in apigenin, a flavonoid found in plants. Apigenin helps to increase the growth of the "good" bacteria in our gut, which can also aid in digestion and help to reduce bloating.
Additionally, Gorin says, "It's thought that celery has natural diuretic properties due to containing a chemical called butylphthalide. Diuretics can help push out excess fluid and salt from your body." So if you've eaten a sodium-heavy meal (like chips and dip), it may be worth munching on that side of celery. Not a fan of raw celery? Try it in our Curried Celery & Cashew Stir-Fry.
Spinach is one of the most commonly consumed green vegetables. It's a great source of several vitamins and minerals, especially magnesium and potassium, which can help prevent gas and bloating. Just 1 cup of cooked spinach provides 39% of the recommended daily intake for magnesium. Magnesium is essential because it helps to activate enzymes that aid in digestion and help to maintain bowel regularity. These enzymes help by relaxing the muscles in your digestive tract and softening stools; making it easier to get rid of gas and other factors that contribute to bloating.