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The15 Best Flat Belly Foods

Has your stomach ever felt more like a balloon than a food-digesting machine? Been there, felt that. While bloating can be impacted by GI-related conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), what we eat is a huge piece of the puffiness pie. In the same way that there are foods that cause bloating, there are also foods that REDUCE bloating.

First, why do you experience bloating?

Bloating can be caused by a number of factors that lead to large amounts of air being trapped in the digestive tract. There are a few reasons why you're feeling bloated:

  • You’re eating foods high in fiber, fat, salt, and/or drinking carbonated beverages.

  • You’re eating too fast (this can cause you to swallow excess air).

  • You have an underlying health condition like IBS or SIBO.

  • You have an unidentified food sensitivity (to dairy, gluten, eggs, corn, soy or other inflammatory foods).

  • It’s in your genes. Genetics can play a role in how your body responds to certain foods.

The good news is that there are functional foods that reduce bloating!

Once you uncover which foods you might need to avoid, you can focus on the foods you can ADD to your menus to help prevent or reduce bloating. Eating foods high in potassium and water are a must! When you don't eat enough potassium, your body will hold onto extra sodium and water, which can cause a distended belly. Another tip to making potentially bloat-causing foods easier to digest is by cooking veggies instead of eating them raw; and when shopping, opt for sprouted grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes rather than their regular, unsprouted counterparts.

Soothe and slim your belly with these 15 delicious, bloat-busting foods.

1. Quinoa

Have you ever felt bloated or downright uncomfortable after eating pasta or bread? you might have an underlying gluten sensitivity. While only one in 100 people worldwide have Celiac disease (a more serious condition that causes damage to cells in the intestines when one consumes gluten), it's estimated that six in 100 experience some adverse reactions and discomfort when eating foods with wheat. It is always best to consult with a medical doctor before assuming you have a gluten-intolerance. f you find out that you do, gluten-free starches like quinoa can be easier to digest.

2. Cucumber

At 95 percent water, these refreshing veggies are one of the ultimate ways to eat your way to better hydration. Since they're super-hydrating, cucumbers can help to flush the GI tract, increasing the passage of food that may otherwise be resulting in constipation, gas, and bloat.

3. Celery

Celery—not to be confused with the celery juice trend!—is one of the best foods to reduce bloating because it's naturally high in water, at 95 percent. Water-rich celery does more than just add some easy crispy texture to your salads; it also has diuretic properties and 104 milligrams of potassium in every 6-calorie crunchy stalk. And similar to cucumbers, celery's flavonoids (including apigenin) have been proven to be anti-inflammatory, according to a study published in the journal Molecular Nutrition & Food Research.

4. Pineapple

Pineapple contains an enzyme called bromelain, which breaks down protein and aids digestion. Low in sodium and loaded with 180 milligrams of potassium per cup, this sweet and juicy fruit has also been proven to reduce bloating. According to research in the journal Clinical Immunology, pineapple can reduce colonic inflammation that may be leading to that distended stomach.

5. Yogurt

We're not talking about the sweet, sugary pre-made ones you snag at those multi-handle shops.Yogurt containing live and active cultures—probiotics—that have been shown to improve digestive health. It's also high in potassium, a micronutrient we know helps to combat bloating.

6. Kefir

If you don't do dairy, consider yogurt's cousin, kefir. This tangy fermented drink contains lactase, an enzyme that breaks down lactose—aka the main sugar in milk that may give you tummy trouble. A study in the Journal of the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found that drinking kefir reduced lactose digestion symptoms including bloating, stomach pain, and gas.

7. Asparagus

With 271 milligrams of potassium per cup, this is one veggie definitely worth stocking up on one of the best foods to reduce bloating. But its belly benefits don't stop there. Asparagus contains asparagine, an amino acid that acts as a diuretic. It's also rich in prebiotics, the food that good bacteria [probiotics] in your gut feed on, which leads to better gut health.

8. Bananas

Well known as one of the most potassium-rich foods on the planet, with 422 milligrams per medium fruit, banana's bloat-reducing appeal doesn't stop there. Compared to drinking a banana-flavored juice or water before a meal, eating a pre-meal banana reduced bloating by a significant amount for healthy female participants in a study published in the journal Anaerobe. The scientists attribute these belly-calming results to the prebiotics in the fruit.

9. Tomatoes

Whether you get your dose in marinara sauce or soup, add tomatoes to your diet to reduce bloating. Tomatoes contain high levels of lycopene. This antioxidant has been shown to have a wide variety of anti-inflammatory and de-bloating effects, per a review in the journal Annual Review of Food Science and Technology. Pro tip: Cook them to unlock loads more lycopene (as compared to raw tomatoes). And as a bonus, these ruby red fruits are potassium superstars, (at 292 milligrams per medium tomato).

10. Watermelon

Grab a slice or two. Thanks to watermelon's high water content, noshing on it can help minimize water retention. Combined with the 170 milligrams of potassium you'll score in every cup of watermelon, you'll have your usual stomach back in no time.

11. Green tea The benefits of tea time go beyond inspiring you to take a break from work. Green tea is a stellar source of antioxidants and it also offers some diuretic benefits. Research published in the journal PLOS One revealed that green tea can reduce inflammation in your digestive tract by keeping your gut health in fine form.

12. Avocado

Guac on! All of the healthy fats in avocado may prevent uncomfortable bloating. Like the bananas and other fruits on this list, the potassium in avocados (368 milligrams per ¼ avocado) can also help your body flush out sodium, and with it, excess water.

13. Turmeric

We have good news for all the golden milk devotees. Many herbs and spices, including turmeric, have anti-inflammatory capacities and tend to relax an upset stomach. That’s because turmeric is mostly curcumin, which has been shown to tame inflammation and calm many IBS symptoms, according to research published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.

14. Mint

There's a good reason why your mom or grandma may have told you to turn to peppermint tea when you need to settle an upset stomach. In tea form or freshly chopped and sprinkled over meals, mint has antispasmodic properties, which calms the digestive tract and can reduce the pain of bloating. Mint also contains specific flavonoids that inhibit the activity of certain immune system cells that may contribute to bloating.

15. Ginger

Along similar lines, have you heard the rumor that ginger ale can ease stomach aches? While in processed form (in sodas, candies, and the like), ginger loses most for its health-promoting qualities, the spicy root grated or minced from raw can actually deliver on that promise. (P.S. Brewing that root into tea works too.) Certain compounds in ginger, including gingerol, help the stomach release gas, which cuts down on bloating. Ginger soothes for an upset stomach, which can help relieve the discomfort of bloating.

Experiencing bloating is usually tied to how you eat and the foods you eat when bloated. Luckily, slowing down and making a few simple changes to your diet can ease your discomfort AND help you lose weight along the way!

Your house of shape coach, Angela

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