Raise your hand if you’ve ever experienced a post meal bloat.
*casually raises hand*
Or what about a food baby?
*casually raises other hand*
If you’ve experienced either, you can likely attest how uncomfortable bloating can be.
You’re trying to nestle your way into your pants while others are playing the “is she pregnant?” game.
Guys – I’ve been CONGRATULATED before on my pregnancy.
It’s important to note that I’ve never been pregnant – just extremely bloated.
And bloating results in confidence tanking inflammation, which can easily be mistaken for those “few extra pounds.”
So, I’m going to give you the breakdown of:
- What is bloating?
- How does bloating cause inflammation?
- How can I eliminate bloating and inflammation for good?
- What foods can I eat to reduce bloating and inflammation?
Hang onto your skinny jeans, girls – we’re going in deep.
What is Bloating?
We all probably can identify bloating due to our personal experiences, but it’s important to note what bloating truly is so we can get to the root of the problem.
Bloating is a sign of digestive distress caused by a disturbance in the gut – the part of your body containing your stomach, small intestine, and large intestine.
This means “something didn’t sit well.”
After you eat food, your digestive system works to break down that food, and absorb the nutrients to then use for energy.
Afterall, food = energy.
But when there is a disruption in this process, your body often experiences the unwarranted side effects (gas, constipation, abdominal pain and swelling, inflammation, etc.).
When your stomach expands, it is due to the excess in pressure and air in the digestive tract.
We can all attest to how this is not a desirable feeling, no matter the cause. Trying to wiggle your way into those skinny jeans becomes more of a sport than a fashion trend.
But most importantly, bloating in the stomach is caused by poor gut health, meaning that your body is struggling to be able to digest your foods efficiently, leaving you with that slew of sluggish side effects.
Good news, though!
Bloating can not only be prevented, but when you restore your gut health (I’ll touch more on that later), bloating and inflammation can be eliminated for GOOD!
How Do Bloating and Inflammation Relate?
Bloating is a visual sign of a greater problem – digestive distress that results in poor gut health.
And while I love the alliteration of “digestive distress” it really is too broad of a term.
So the word we’ll use is inflammation – because that’s exactly what is happening inside our bodies when we begin to bloat up like a balloon.
And inflammation is nothing more than what you likely imagine.
For instance, do you remember when you fell down and scraped your knee as a kid?
Man – one time I raced the class bully outside on the concrete. The race ended with me having puffy, skinned knees and beaming with pride, walking my third grade self right on down to the nurse’s office.
But there’s a reason when you get a scrape that it then puffs right up. This is a normal reaction from any dirt or foreign particles that get it into it.
The same thing happens to our bodies when we eat foods that are unrecognizable to us.
Our digestive system becomes alarmed, saying “this does not belong here” and inflammation ensues.
That is the “puffy” feeling you may be experiencing – and oftentimes, easily gets mistaken for those few extra pounds when it becomes a recurrent occasion.
I seriously had no idea the real shape of my cheek bones until I lost my body’s inflammation.
I always had accepted that I had a rounder face, but low and behold – that was not my face shape at all. It was the shape given to me by my body’s reaction to foods (ie – bloating and inflammation).
Why Is Bloating Even a "Thing?"
A great question that I’ve posed to myself during bloated, uncomfortable evenings.
“Why is this even a THING?”
Now I’m going to let you in on a HUGE secret.
Ready for it? (Yeah I know you are, you’re pretty awesome like that…)
Bloating and inflammation is a direct result from the malnourished, modern western diet.
The US has been called “overfed and undernourished” and that statement contains some scary truths.
But it’s NOT YOUR FAULT!
Our food has become industrialized and processed because of the food industry.
Farm to table has ow become farm to factory to table (like a terrible interception, sport fans).
But that’s how our food is nowadays, and it’s our generations today – our digestive systems – that are beginning to REJECT this food and experience bloating and inflammation.
Good news is – there’s a solution!
By focusing on incorporating wholesome, real anti-inflammatory ingredients into our everyday routines, and reducing the amount of processed foods we consume, our bodies finally can breathe a sigh of relief (ie – debloat).
If you’re interested in restoring your digestive health, I’ve made things easy for you.
While it took me three years to find the perfectly balanced equation for restoring gut health, I wanted to give you everything in one simple challenge.
Be sure to check out the 21 Day Gut Health Challenge if you’re looking to beat the bloat for life!
Wholesome Foods to Reduce
Bloating and Inflammation:
1. BananasPRO: The potassium in bananas reduce bloating and inflammation by flushing out any retained water and sodium that the body is holding onto.
PRO: While too much fiber can result in undesired gas build up in your digestive tract, just the right amount (about a single serving) of fiber allows your intestines to get the motivation they need to excrete waste.
3. Sweet Potatoes
PRO: Sweet Potato properties are just like bananas – where the potassium helps to reduce bloating caused from sodium-water retention. The beta carotene is also a helpful antioxidant in sweet potatoes that detoxes the body.
4. Onions and Garlic
PRO: Onions and garlic contain inulin – a prebiotic that contains healthy gut microbes for your digestive tract. This prebiotic works to fight inflammation while restoring the balance of good gut bacteria.
PRO: Spinach is high in immune-boosting and anti-inflammatory antioxidants. Spinach is also considered a superfood because of its incredible nourishment.
6. Chia Seeds
PRO: Chia seeds contain a “soluble fiber” that can bind to toxins in our digestive system, causing them to be excreted from the body, and reducing overall inflammation.
PRO: Broccoli is incredibly high in fiber and eases digestion.
PRO: Yogurt is a food high in probiotics, adding beneficial strains of healthy gut bacteria to your digestive system. Beware of yogurt that is high in added sugars, though. Chobani nonfat Greek yogurt is best – a bowl of yogurt can easily have the same nutrition as a bowl of ice cream if not careful. Avoid flavors and added sugars for the most benefits. (Your tase buds will regulate to the “tart” taste, I promise!)
PRO: Not only does ginger contain anti-inflammatory properties, but also contains digestive enzymes to help you to break down your foods easier.
PRO: Lemons have incredible detoxing properties that eliminate inflammatory toxins from your body, kicking that “sluggish” feeling to the curb.
PRO: Melons are 90% water, which help to flush out toxins. Cantaloupes also have high potassium levels, which just like bananas and lentils – reduce your body’s ability to retain water.
PRO: Avocados are low in carbs, which makes them easier for the body to digest, but are nutrient rich and high in healthy fats, leaving you feeling full for longer.
PRO: Canned pumpkin reduces bloating and inflammation by being high in both fiber and potassium
PRO: Cucumbers contain sulfur and silicon that act as a mild diuretic to help you to be able to pee. They also are high in water, which further helps in flushing out your system.
PRO: Asparagus contains the amino acid asparagine that helps to reduce water retention, and prebiotic fibers that restore the beneficial gut microbes found in your digestive tract.
PRO: Kiwi contains a digestive enzyme known as actinidin that helps to speed up and ease digestion.
PRO: Papain in papayas are a digestive enzyme that helps to further break down foods found in your digestive tract, reducing bloating and inflammation from digestive distress.
18. White Beans
PRO: White beans are unlike many other beans that will leave you feeling bloated. Instead, they are actually a great source of fiber and potassium.
PRO: Bromelain is the digestive enzyme found in pineapples that helps to break down proteins that otherwise have led to bloating and inflammation in the digestive tract.
PRO: Beets are high in potassium, fiber, and protein – all three great factors for reducing bloating.
PRO: Kimchi is made from fermented cabbage and is a great natural probiotic.
PRO: Oatmeal is made from whole grains, which contain fiber that works to reduce bloating. Try traditional gluten free oats and add in your own flavorings for the healthiest choice.
PRO: Pomegranates are high in sugar, so best to keep to small doses; however, the potassium in fiber in pomegranates make them a great candidate to support digestion.
24. Butternut Squash
PRO: Butternut squash will leave you feeling full and satisfied, but also with a healthy dose of potassium to reduce bloating and inflammation.
PRO: Grapefruits contain mostly water, which helps to detox the body from inflammatory causing toxins.
PRO: Oranges are made of mostly water, fiber, and potassium – a triple threat to attack bloating and inflammation.
27. Dark Chocolate
PRO: Dark chocolate is high in fiber, but you want to be careful about the sugar levels. Sugar is incredibly inflammatory, so the true dark chocolate that is anti-inflammatory contains small doses of sugar.
PRO: Mint stimulate digestive enzymes which help to get the digestive juices flowing. This is why mint is a common staple in some cultures after a meal.
PRO: Watermelon is mostly made up of water and antioxidants, leaving you with a delicious snack and a detox.
PRO: Blueberries are rich in antioxidants and fiber, thus stimulating digestion.
PRO: Zucchini works to stimulate digestion to push anything that may be backed up in the GI tract forward.
PRO: When food becomes backed up in your gut, they begin to ferment, which causes gas. Artichokes are high in fiber, which propel forth “stuck” foods and keep digestive processes and enzymes working.
The Whole Truth and Nothing But The Truth
These foods listed are awesome ways to incorporate nourishing foods into your routines, but they will not solve the problem.
Our stomachs become bloated from experiencing issues with our gut health, and having foods being “backed up” or “triggering” gas production.
The great thing is – you can easily restore your gut health! And the foods listed above are a great start!
By incorporating wholesome, anti-inflammatory ingredients into your daily diet, you begin to heal your gut by increasing the presence of healthy gut bacteria.
But you need the right equation of anti-inflammatory meals, probiotics, superfoods, and self-care to really thrive.
It sounds complicated, but I made this super easy for you in the 21 Day Gut Health Challenge!
If you’re interested, be sure to check out the challenge HERE!